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What is the Mandatory Vehicle Branding Program?
Ontario’s mandatory vehicle branding program:

  • Promotes consumer protection for used vehicles;
  • Discourages vehicle registration fraud and theft; and
  • Enhances road user safety.

The mandatory vehicle branding program became effective March 31, 2003 and makes the province’s roads safer. Branding is the process of assigning “brand” types that indicate whether a vehicle has been severely damaged in the past. The brand is then recorded in the Ministry of Transportation’s Vehicle Registration System.

Brand types are:

  • “Irreparable”
  • “Salvage”
  • “Rebuilt”
  • “None”

Insurance companies, auto recyclers, salvagers, auctioneers, dealers and individual vehicle owners must assign a brand type to vehicles that have been damaged to the point of total loss and meet this branding criteria. These vehicles must be reported to the Ministry of Transportation (MTO).

Mandatory branding is also part of Ontario’s ongoing efforts to prevent vehicle theft and registration fraud. It builds on the success of the province’s voluntary branding program (operating since 1998) and similar programs in Canada and the U.S.

How does Mandatory Vehicle Branding Help Me as a Consumer?
In the past, some written-off vehicles found their way back onto the road; some were safely rebuilt, while others were not and were sold to unsuspecting consumers.
The mandatory branding program helps to protect the consumer by providing important information about possible past damage to a vehicle.
As a consumer, you will have better information to help you determine if a vehicle you are about to buy is:

  • Irreparable and for parts only;
  • Salvage and can’t be plated; or
  • Rebuilt to MTO structural standards.

The Four Vehicle Brands

  • Vehicle has been written-off as a total loss.
  • Can only be used for parts or scrap.
  • Cannot be driven again in Ontario.


  • Vehicle has been written-off as a total loss.
  • Can be repaired or used for parts or scrap.
  • If repaired, vehicle must pass a structural inspection test and be inspected by an authorized technician.
  • If vehicle passes test it will be re-branded as “Rebuilt”.


  • Vehicle was written-off, branded as “Salvage” and was repaired.
  • To qualify as “Rebuilt”, owners must have photographs, documents and receipts of vehicle damage.
  • Vehicle must have had a Structural Inspection Certificate from an authorized technician at a Ministry of Transportation branding criteria. These vehicles must be reported licensed Motor Vehicle inspection Station.
  • “Rebuilt” or “None” are the only acceptable brands for a consumer buying a used vehicle for on-road use.


  • Vehicle has not been given one of the other three brands.
  • Vehicle may have had a damage-related brand applied outside Ontario, or
  • Vehicle may have been damaged or rebuilt before March 31, 2003, or
  • Degree of damage does not meet branding criteria, or
  • Vehicle may never have been in a collision.






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