Mandatory Vehicle Branding Program
Learn about Ontario’s program to brand used vehicles and how to avoid buying an unsafe vehicle.
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About the program
The Mandatory Vehicle Branding Program gives consumers important information about past damage and helps keep stolen and unsafe vehicles off the road.
If a vehicle has been damaged by collision, impact, fire or flood, or has been stolen and dismantled, it may have a “brand” applied to vehicle records that identify the extent of the damage.
As a consumer, you can find the brand to determine if the used vehicle you are about to purchase is allowed on the road or for parts only.
Vehicles brands are assigned by:
- Ministry of Transportation
- insurance companies
- auto recyclers
- individual vehicle owners
Vehicle brand changes must be reported to the Ministry of Transportation within a certain time period. The brand is recorded in the ministry’s Vehicle Registration System.
Vehicle owners who don’t receive a claim settlement through their insurance company for a severely damaged vehicle must have the brand determined by an authorized mechanic in a type 6 Motor Vehicle Inspection Station (MVIS) .
Brand types are:
Only vehicles branded as “None” or “Rebuilt” can be driven on Ontario roads. Learn more about buying or selling a used vehicle in Ontario.
Vehicles from another Canadian or U.S. jurisdiction that are registered in Ontario will have their vehicle brand carried over, with the exception of the “Rebuilt” brand, which will be registered as “Salvage”.
A vehicle branded as “None”:
- is a default brand applied to all new vehicles
- may have been damaged or rebuilt before March 31, 2003
- may have been damaged, but not to a degree that meets our branding criteria (for example, deemed a total loss)
- may never have been in a collision
A vehicle branded “Salvage”:
- has been written-off as a total loss
- can be repaired or used for parts or scrap
- has been branded as “Rebuilt” in another Canadian or U.S. jurisdiction and has been branded “Salvage” when being registered in Ontario
If a vehicle with a “Salvage” brand is repaired, it must be inspected by an authorized technician and pass a structural inspection. If it passes this inspection, it can be re-branded as “Rebuilt”.
A vehicle branded “Salvage”, once repaired, can receive the brand “Rebuilt”.
For a vehicle to qualify as “Rebuilt”:
- the owners must have photographs of the vehicle’s damaged state, document(s) and a detailed invoice(s) showing major components used to rebuild the vehicle, as well as additional documents
- unless the vehicle was previously branded “Rebuilt” from another jurisdiction, all salvage vehicle inspections require an insurance estimate
- all rebuilt vehicles entering Ontario for registration will have their brand of “Rebuilt” downgraded to “Salvage”. These vehicles will require a structural inspection from an authorized technician at a ministry-licensed Motor Vehicle Inspection Station to be registered for road use in Ontario.
A vehicle branded “Irreparable”:
- has been written-off as a total loss
- can only be used for parts or scrap
- cannot be driven again in Ontario
A vehicle's brand will appear:
- in vehicle histories
- in the Used Vehicle Information Packages (UVIPs)
- on Ontario’s Vehicle Registration System database
- on vehicle permits
In Ontario, the only brands that can be assigned to a motorcycle are “None” and “Irreparable”.
Where there is damage to the frame that requires replacement, the motorcycle is branded as “Irreparable”.
All imported motorcycles previously branded as “Irreparable”, “Salvage”, “Rebuilt” or an equivalent brand in another jurisdiction are branded “Irreparable” when registered in Ontario.
A Structural Inspection Certificate cannot be issued for a motorcycle. This means that the motorcycle will never be eligible to be driven on Ontario roads and can only be used for parts. A vehicle permit is still issued.
The following vehicles are not assigned a brand:
- traction engines
- farm tractors
- road-building machines
- motor-assisted bicycles
- motorized snow vehicles
- all-terrain vehicles (ATVs)
- motor vehicles with a model year of 1980 or earlier
The police notify the Ministry of Transportation when a vehicle is stolen, and all transactions involving stolen vehicles are blocked on the ministry’s Vehicle Registration System database.
“Stolen” is not a vehicle brand. This status can only be removed when the police advise the ministry that the vehicle has been recovered.