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By: Robert Janis

Canadian OHV Distributors Council

The Canadian OHV Distributors Council--A Voice for the
Off-Highway Related Businesses and Enthusiasts of Canada

Check presentation to one of the ATV rider federations to support training, education and safety programs.
Check presentation to one of the ATV rider federations to support training, education and safety programs.

In the United States the different off-highway or off-road state organizations provide a voice for all facets of the off-road community from recreationists and racers to retailers and manufacturers. In Canada there is a national organization that focuses on the needs of the businesses involved in off-road. That organization is the Canadian Off-Highway Vehicle Distributors Council (COHV) and its affiliate, the Motorcycle and Moped Industry Council (MMIC).

“COHV was formerly the Canadian All-Terrain Vehicle Distributors Council (CATV) when it was originally founded in 1984,” began Jo-Anne Farquhar, communications director for COHV. “It is a national, nonprofit, trade association that represents the interest of the major ATV and off-highway motorcycle manufacturers, distributors, and retail outlets of off-highway vehicle-related products and services. The member companies account for over 80 percent of all the new OHVs sold in Canada.”

According to Farquhar, the mission of the organization is the ongoing education and training of the general public on the safe and responsible use of all-terrain vehicles and off-road motorcycles as well as to promote the responsible interests of riders and the industry.

Structure of the Organization

In order to achieve its goals the COHV serves as a forum to identify and act on issues of importance to the ATV and OHV community; monitors and responds to changes in legislation and regulations affecting the use of ATV and off-highway vehicles; provide representation to the senior levels of government on behalf of members and affiliate members; acts as a statistical gathering archives for the industry; and develops and offers group programs to serve dealers and individual riders and owners.

Membership is limited to organizations that engage in the business of manufacturing and/or distributing whole off-road motorcycles or all-terrain vehicles in Canada.

It is a two-tier membership depending on participation and fee paid annually. Tier One members receive volume show space rates at COHV/MMIC Showcase Shows in Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, Edmonton, Montreal, Moncton, and Quebec; participation in strategic planning and priority determination for COHV; annual motorcycle and ATV Industry Statistics Report; Annual Dealer Survey Statistics Report; and monthly or more regular updates on federal and provincial regulatory requirements. Tier Two members receive monthly wholesale and retail off-road motorcycle and ATV sales statistics by company, model, cc size and category, nationally and by province, city, and postal code.

There is also a Corporate Affiliate Membership for manufacturers and distributors of off-road motorcycle and All-Terrain Vehicle related aftermarket products and services, and a Dealer Affiliate Membership which is for dealers who are affiliated with member companies.

Members assist COHV through industry funding, internal and external public relations and communications to the general public and employees and committee support.

COHV member companies have a representative sitting on each of the COHV committees dealing with government technical standards, government relations, communications, and shows.

“Once opportunities or concerns are identified, strategic plans are created and implemented with buy- in and support from the COHV member companies,” said Farquhar.

COHV represents eight ATV manufacturers in Canada and MMIC represents the interest of 13 member companies.

COHV/MMIC own seven motorcycle and ATV shows that are held across Canada in Vancouver, British Columbia; Calgary, Alberta; Edmonton, Alberta; Toronto, Ontario; Montreal, Quebec; Quebec City, Quebec; and Moncton, New Brunswick. “These are the only shows across Canada where major manufacturers get together to introduce hundreds of new vehicle models to the riding public,” said Farquhar.

Another concern of the COHV is the proper implementation of advertising and marketing guidelines. “COHV felt that the implementation of advertising and marketing guidelines was as much a priority for our industry as it is for the riding public,” said Farquhar. “Perception is everything, so we ask ourselves, ‘What kind of message would I want to convey if my son, daughter, spouse, or other loved one was purchasing or riding an ATV or off-road motorcycle?” That is why the group has established the C.A.R.E.S. Initiative. “It is designed to set and maintain consistent standards for advertising and promotional materials for all industry members throughout Canada,” she added. “The guiding principles were formulated following five basic attributes that all-terrain vehicle and off-road motorcycle advertising and marketing should reflect. They are:

  • Clarity
  • Accuracy
  • Responsibility
  • Environmental Awareness
  • Safety

Working with the National All-Terrain/Quad Council of Canada (AQCC) the COHV has also developed a Guiding Principles for ATV riders. Every OHV rider must:

  • Know how to obtain appropriate training, education, and information related to the safe operation of their vehicle.
  • Know how to reduce the operational impact of their vehicle on the natural environment, other recreational enthusiasts, and the community at large.
  • Know with certainty that they have permission to enter and use every riding opportunity they choose to access.
  • Know the laws, obligations and expectations associated with the entry and use of every riding opportunity they choose to access.
  • Know how they have contributed their fair share to the cost of creating and maintaining every riding opportunity they choose to access.

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