Thursday, March 30, 2023


Canadian RVer worries about importing RV from the USA

Editor’s note: We received this question from Canadian John Blaicher via our Facebook group RV Advice. It’s a topic that we’ve not seen before. Do you have any advice for him? He wrote:

Hello everyone from your friendly neighbor to the north — Canada!

My wife and I just placed a deposit on a new 40′ Luxe 5th wheel with the RV Factory in Elkhart, Indiana and an issue has come up that I am now a little worried about. While our unit is being manufactured to your RIVA (RV Industry Association) standards it will not be certified as meeting CSA (Canadian Safety Association) standards for electrical and propane.

The RV Factory currently doesn’t pay to have the CSA Inspections done and the proper stickers applied. A couple of local RV dealers near where I live have told me that as the IMPORTER, buying directly from the RV Factory, that I am responsible for having our new unit tested and certified in these two areas. I know about the RIV (Registrar of Imported Vehicles) requirements and Highway Safety Inspection, but NOT the CSA inspections.

Should I be worried? Should I insist that the RV Factory arrange to do the inspections and apply the proper labels before I import? Does anyone have any experience with this issue?



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4 years ago

Please be sure to watch some of the ‘RV Factory’ owner/buyer videos on Youtube before you accept delivery. Looks like some pretty nightmarish situations.

4 years ago

We purchased a 5th wheel in Arizona and imported it into Canada (Alberta). It is a very simple process, as Astrid and George have stated. Read the web site as it outlines the process and tells you what vehicles are allowed. Because you are purchasing a vehicle with no motor, you tow it to the Canadian border, they will look at your paperwork, you pay the GST and $200 fee. You will receive a form that you take to Canadian Tire for a visual inspection, which only takes about 5 minutes. They submit the form and you will get a RIV sticker and certificate for the trailer by mail, a few days later. You then pay your PST and get your plate. Very simple process.

The trailer should have a UL sticker on it, which is acceptable in Canada.

Michael Fisher
4 years ago

My experience is with the US as formally being employed by US Customs ( now CBP ) when someone imported vehicle it had to comply to US Dept of Transportation rules and Law. It was up to the importer to do that . In your case you would be the importer. Here in the US you could post a bond on that which would be paid at the time of import and usually you would need Custom Broker ( another fee you would be on the hook for)the bond would guarantee that you get the compliance items added and that the vehicle would not enter the US Commerence ( be sold and kept here in the US ).
Now dealing with the manufacture I would doubt if they would have that done at the expense of the company. They might have someone certify and inspect and even set it all up for you but I bet you would be on the hook for that as well. If you gave the down payment and signed the papers and it’s past the usual 72 hour back out of the contract in most states I think you will still be on the hook. You need to contact Canada for info and help and also sweet talk the manufacturer and see what they can or will do for you. Other than that you might have a problem. Sorry to learn your problem but the RV industry moves along to the beat of a different drum. Hope you can get it all worked out! < FISH <

4 years ago

When you buy from an Canadian dealer you pay extra for the CSA sticker..Depends on what Province you live in when it comes time for a vehicle/RV inspection….J

Art Vanderleer
4 years ago

If the unit is not CSA or UL certified you could be refused entry into Canada, I would not be willing to take the chance. Best thing to do is contact RVIA.

4 years ago

Astrid has stated the process correctly. I’ve imported several 5th wheel trailers from the U.S. All were used RVs. I called RIVA (RV Industry Association) ahead of time and gave them the serial number of the unit. They then confirmed that I could or could not (in my cases all were “I could”) import the vehicle and that they met Canadian standards. The Canadian Tire inspection took about 10 minutes. IF the vehicle has a motor, such as a car, truck or motorhome, your papers ie: title, bill of sale, are supposed to be at the U.S. Customs 72 hrs before you arrive so you need to know which point of exit from the U.S. you’ll be using. Again, only for vehicles with motors you need to stop at the U.S. exit point, have the U.S. customs stamp your forms or Canadian customs won’t let you in. Again this is only for motorized vehicles. For trailers just show up at Canada customs with paper work in hand. BUT, call RIVA to make sure there has been no changes to the foregoing.

Astrid Bierworth
4 years ago

We have imported several trailers over the years (for our own use). I don’t know if the rules are different for motor homes, but when you declare the rig at the border, you pay the gst and a fee of over $200 for the inspection. You take the rig and a form to an approved facility, like Canadian Tire. They come out, inspect the unit, then sign or stamp the form.

You take the form to license bureau, where you buy a license plate for it, and you pay the pst then.

Jeffrey Torsrud
4 years ago

I did a little research for you. Here is one of many links that refer to RVIA vs. CSA requirements.

Hope this helps.!

Jeffrey Torsrud
4 years ago

Yes, you should have The RV Factory do the necessary inspections and appropriate Canadian Requirements. I know that the Marker Lights are just one small thing that has to meet Canadian Standards.

Are you able to get your money back if they are unwilling to perform the CSA Certification.

There are things that have to be on YOUR NEW RV that the RVIA does not require!

I would be insistent on having this stuff done!

I hope you haven’t paid for the entire purchase yet???

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