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Laws & Regulations

Driving in Canada

The use of seat belts is mandatory for drivers and passengers in British Columbia and is enforced by police. The use of mobile phones and electronic hand-held devices are prohibited while driving a vehicle. For more information click here.

Tourists are permitted to drive in British Columbia for up to six months if they hold a valid driver's licence from another province, state or country. International driver's licences, U.S. driver's licences and licences from other countries are all valid in Canada. It is recommended that U.S. motorists obtain a Canadian non-resident inter-provincial motor vehicle liability insurance card from their insurer before travelling to Canada. This indicates you are covered with the minimum legal insurance requirements throughout Canada.

24-hour B.C. border crossings are available at: Highway 99, Peace Arch; Highway 97, Osoyoos; Highway 95, Kingsgate; Highway 15, Douglas truck crossing; Highway 11, Huntingdon and Highway 9, Roosville.

For information on road conditions while travelling in B.C., contact Drive BC online or toll free in North America at 1-800-550-4997.

Cycling Laws and Regulations

In British Columbia, it is mandatory for all cyclists (operators and passengers) to wear safety helmets. Cyclists can be ticketed for not wearing helmets, riding on the sidewalk, not obeying the traffic rules of the Motor Vehicle Act and for not having both a headlight and a tail light (in addition to reflectors) after dark. It is against the law to ride double. A licence is not required.

Motorcycles Laws and Regulations

Motorcycle helmets are mandatory in B.C. and must be worn by all persons riding motorcycles. An exception is granted to anyone who practices the Sikh religion, has unshorn hair and habitually wears a turban composed of five or more square metres of cloth.

Drinking and Alcohol

The minimum age for the legal consumption of alcohol, beer and wine in British Columbia is 19. It is illegal to drink and drive.

Smoking in Public Places

Smoking is prohibited in indoor public places and work places. The province has also banned smoking near public doorways, open windows and air intakes.

Fishing and Hunting Regulations

Separate licences are required for saltwater and freshwater fishing. Both can be purchased at most sporting goods stores, marinas, department stores and government agents' offices. A special licence is required for fishing in National Parks and is available from a Park Headquarters site. Hunting in Canada is strictly regulated. Hunting in National and Provincial parks is strictly prohibited. All hunters, whether resident or non-resident, must obtain a licence to carry firearms and to hunt. A hunting licence must be obtained from each province or territory in which you plan to hunt. For more information on fishing and hunting in British Columbia, please visit the Ministry of Forest, Lands & Natural Resource Operations.

Boating Laws and Regulations

If operating a power-driven boat in Canada, you will need a boating license. The license can be obtained online from here.

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