Licence Change for Operators of Recreational Vehicles

Effective July 1, 2011, you may now tow a Recreational Vehicle (RV) weighing more than 4,600 kg with a Class “G” driver’s licence if:

  • The towing vehicle is a pick-up truck equipped with the manufacturer’s original box, with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) not exceeding 6,000 kg and equipped with no more than two axles and not being used for commercial purposes;
  • Combined weight of pick-up truck and RV does not exceed 11,000 kg total gross weight;
  • RV hitched to pick-up truck by means of a fifth wheel hitch assembly;
  • Only one towed vehicle in combination;
  • Pick-up truck and RV not equipped with air-brakes;
  • RV (towed RV) Transport Canada compliant and manufactured to CSA Z-240 or Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (of America) standards;
  • Floor space of RV is primarily living accommodations;
  • Operated by holder of full class G driver licence – holders of a graduated licence in the class G1 or G2 not eligible;
  • Compliant with all other Highway Traffic Act weights and dimensions requirements; and,
  • No other type of towed vehicle is eligible for this proposal.

Effective July 1, 2011, Ontario now allows operators of recreational vehicles (RV) to tow RV’s on a full Class G driver’s licence if the trailer weight exceeds 4,600 kg. Previously, operators of towed RVs required a Class A licence to operate their vehicles and trailers when the trailer weight exceeded 4,600 kg. This change will promote tourism and the overall RV experience in Ontario, as well as providing new opportunities for manufacturers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What change did the Ministry of Transportation make to driver licence requirements for recreational vehicles?

Effective July 1, 2011, holders of an Ontario Class G driver’s licence can tow a recreational vehicle that exceeds 4,600 kg (as opposed to the previous maximum weight of 4,600 kg) as long as the combined weight of the towing vehicle and recreational vehicle do not exceed the current combination weight limit of 11,000 kg. This aligns Ontario with the driver licence requirements for the operator of a motor home.


Q2:. If I have an RV with a towed weight of more than 4,600 kg, a Class “G” Ontario driver’s licence and I am traveling outside of Ontario, and that province or U.S. state requires a higher class of driver’s licence, can I still drive on my Class G driver’s licence?

Yes. Your Ontario Class G driver’s licence will be sufficient. Under reciprocity agreements that Ontario has with Canadian provinces and U.S. states, if you are legal in Ontario, you will be considered legal in the province or state you are driving through.


Q3: I am a graduated licence holder. Will I be able to operate this vehicle combination?

Drivers must possess a full Class G driver’s licence or higher. The driver cannot operate this RV vehicle configuration on a G1 or G2 driver licence.


Q4: What is the Ontario Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association and how many dealers do they represent?

The Ontario Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (ORVDA) represents the interests of recreational vehicle dealers and related industries and supply dealers with education programs for the RV industry. They represent about 90 per cent of the dealers in Ontario.


Q5: Is the RV industry taking any additional steps to ensure RV drivers operate their vehicle safely?

In support of road safety, ORVDA members have committed to providing voluntary training and orientation to purchasers of large, towed recreational vehicles. Training will include instruction on, for example, checking the trailer connections, tires and wheels, lights and exterior equipment, brakes, backing up and connecting a fifth wheel. This orientation and training is consistent with training courses currently offered in British Columbia and Alberta.


Q6: Can someone take the training program even if they did not purchase their RV from an ORVDA member?

ORVDA has offered to extend their training to people who may not have bought from one of their members.


Q7: How does Ontario compare with the RV driver licence requirements in other jurisdictions?

This amendment aligns Ontario with the driver licence requirements in 41 U.S. states and in 5 Canadian provinces and territories (British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut).


Q8: Will I be able to tow another trailer, such as my boat, with my recreational vehicle and take advantage of the increase in allowable towed weight?

No, only one vehicle will be allowed to be towed. This is so that a Class G driver’s licence does not exceed the limits on a Class A with R condition driver’s licence. If the towed weight exceeds 4,600 kg, a driver with a Class A with R condition driver’s licence is limited to towing only one vehicle, as well.


Q9: Does my boat or all-terrain vehicle count as a recreational vehicle when I am towing it to my destination?

For the purposes of the driver licence change, a recreational vehicle is a vehicle that is used for temporary living accommodations. Neither a boat nor an ATV count as a recreational vehicle under this change.


Q10: What if the weight of the two trailers is not more than 4,600 kg?

If the weight of the two towed trailers is not more than 4,600 kg, the two towed trailers may be towed by a commercial motor vehicle such as a pick-up truck.


Q11: How will I know that my RV is compliant?

An RV that is compliant will display a label – it’s a Transport Canada Statement of Compliance label - if it was manufactured for Canada. A U.S. manufactured RV that is compliant for use in Canada, will bear a United States Department of Transportation Statement of Compliance label if it was manufactured for the American market. The RV will also display labels that show that it was manufactured to Canadian Standards Association Z240 or Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (of America) manufacturing standards.


Q12. What federal standards do imported recreational vehicles have to meet? Is there a procedure in place to validate that once the recreational vehicle is in Canada it meets these standards?

If the manufacturer of the towed RV is on the Registrar of Imported Vehicles list, Transport Canada deems them as compliant, but they must still be certified as compliant by a Transport Canada designated mechanical inspector. In order for the RV to be plated, the owner must present Transport Canada evidence of compliance.

It is the responsibility of the owner to ensure that the RV is brought up to any other standards required by the province in which the owner wants to register it. If the RV and towing vehicle meet the configuration and certification requirements, the owner will be able to drive this combination on a full class G licence.


Q13. I transport recreational vehicles for a living. Does this new regulation apply to commercial vehicle operators and will I be able to use my Class G driver’s licence to tow an RV that weighs more than 4,600 kg?

Commercial drivers, who transport recreational vehicles for compensation are still required to hold a Class A driver’s licence. Commercial operators are subject to hours of service, pre-trip inspection and Commercial Vehicle Operator Registration requirements. Commercial drivers often choose their driving times based on economic imperatives unlike personal users who can adjust their driving times based on volume and weather conditions.


Q14. Are farmers allowed to benefit from this proposal for trailers that they tow?

As part of the Ministry of Transportation’s commitment to road safety, it took into account the improved design, engineering and construction of towed RVs and the fact that they are not configured to carry a load. The ministry also took into account that the weight does not shift and is consistently distributed on each trip that the RV will be operated.

Trailers used for agricultural purposes are drawn with varying loads on each trip and so are subject to changes in operating behaviour. Also, trailers used by farmers may not be specifically designed for the purpose for which they are being used and may not be manufactured to Transport Canada standards as they may be home built.


Q15. Are trailers being towed by a ball and hitch allowed to take advantage of this licensing change?

No. The highest weight that a ball and hitch is rated for is 4,536 kg. To allow the trailer to exceed a hitch rating would be contrary to Ontario’s commitment to road safety. Once the gross vehicle weight rating of the RV exceeds approximately 4,536 kg (10,000 lbs.), RVs are manufactured as a fifth wheel configuration.


Q16. Is a home-built RV or trailer converted to an RV eligible to participate as part of this change?

The RV must be built to meet Canadian Standards Association Z240 or Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (of America) manufacturing standards. As such, a home-built RV or trailer would not qualify.


Q17. Are there any other vehicle classes that are deemed a G?

Farm plated class D motor vehicles are deemed to be class G motor vehicles provided requirements are met (not carrying goods for compensation, etc.) and a Class G tow truck when towing a disabled motor vehicle or disabled trailer is always considered a class G motor vehicle (no matter what the vehicle being towed weighs).