Canadian Off-Highway Vehicle Distributors Council (COHV)

Canadian Off-Highway Vehicle Distributors Council (COHV)

January 30, 2007 10:00 ET

COHV: Canadians Spent $3.3 Billion on Direct Activities Involving ATV's in 2005

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Jan. 30, 2007) - An economic impact study commissioned by The Canadian Off-Highway Vehicle Distributors Council (COHV) and completed by Smith Gunther Associates Ltd., reported that in 2005, Canadians spent $3.3 billion on activities directly involving 975,000 operating All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs). At 25.4% the largest share of expenditures was for new ATVs, and just less than a quarter (24.9%) on accommodations and meals outside the home.

"The purpose of the study was to comprehensively determine the economic impact of not only the purchase of all-terrain vehicles but also related economic activities for Canada and each of its provinces and territories," stated Bob Ramsay, President of the COHV. "The study encompassed ATV activities that included show casing products at exhibitions and fairs, the purchase of additional equipment such as trailers, clothing and insurance and travel related to ATV use. Together these purchases and activities constitute the direct expenditures on, and inputs into ATV participation."

Through data retrieved from Statistics Canada and the COHV current and historical data on new sales of ATVs by COHV members in each province and territory, it has been identified that economic activity is concentrated in Ontario, Quebec, and Alberta, with Alberta's share increasing rapidly as the Canadian population shifts to the province. Recognizing that the GDP is a better measure of economic activity, national estimates of total GDP impacts range between $5.5 and $7.5 billion depending on whether or not government expenditures are included.

Ramsay noted, "This report confirms the significant role the off-highway vehicle (OHV) industry plays in contributing to Canada's economy. Twenty-four thousand Canadians are either directly employed or self-employed serving ATV users and as reported, even if annual sales remain flat, the number of operating ATVs will grow at over 5.86 percent annually out to 2010."

The report also pointed out that relative to the direct employment number of 24 thousand, total estimated employment impacts translate up to 123 thousand jobs, which again are significant numbers suggesting that induced expenditures used for ATV purchases and activities by income earners, stimulate and contribute to real growth within the Canadian economy.

"Managing the responsible use of ATVs is a subject of current interest for many governments. It is also of great interest to the COHV and the not-for-profit rider federations that have developed across the country," stated Bob Ramsay. "This report confirms the scope and scale of the contribution that ATV use makes to provincial economies, especially in rural and northern areas, which the industry points out is an important aspect that needs to be recognized and considered when discussion is focused on the responsible management of off-highway vehicle activity.

The Canadian Off-Highway Vehicle Distributors Council (COHV), formerly the Canadian All-Terrain Vehicle Distributors Council (CATV), originally founded in 1984, is a national, non-profit, trade association that represents the responsible interests of the major ATV distributors, as well as the manufacturers, distributors and retail outlets of ATV-related products and services.

The member companies of the COHV account for over 90 percent of all the new ATVs sold in Canada. The total number of ATVs sold by COHV in 2006 was 89,006. The total number of ATVs currently active in Canada is estimated to be over 1,050,000 units. More information related to the COHV is available at:


The purchase of an ATV is the beginning of expenditures related to owning and operating a recreational ATV. All provinces but BC require licenses. Operating activities involve purchases of complementary items - clothing, embellishments to ATVs, trailers, club memberships, food and accommodations consumed as part of ATV activities, insurance, and larger towing vehicles that would have been purchased for non-ATV activities

In 2005, Canada's 975,000 ATVs were primarily used for recreational purposes and, to a lesser extent, commerce and agriculture.

Commercial uses provide access to relatively remote sites for constructing and servicing of hydro and communications transmission systems, pipeline networks and remote petroleum exploration sites and operations.

Agriculture uses take place on owners' lands for servicing fences and family recreational activities.

Generally, 66 percent of ATVs appear to be used for recreational purposes based on the size of club and Internet memberships of owners.

A further, 10 percent of ATVs appear to be in commercial fleets. This percentage is an approximation since many of the fleets are not owned by large utilities or exploration companies, but by very much smaller and more obscure drilling, installation, and repair companies that service drilling sites, camps and relatively remote transmission lines and sites. ATVs in commercial service tend to be deployed more intensively and utilize twice as much gasoline as do recreational ATVs prior to those remaining in good repair being auctioned into the recreational market after about five years of service.

The remaining 24 percent operate on private property and farms in much the same fashion as the recreational ones but without the need for associated transportation systems such as larger vehicles and trailers. Their owners do not generally incur the accommodation costs experienced by the average recreational participant.

While weights among expenditures vary with the purposes for which they are used, expenditures are generally comprised of purchases of ATVs and licensing costs, purchases of complementary goods and services such as trailers, information gathering at motorcycle and ATV shows and fairs and exhibitions, ATV club activities, and operating costs.

Both actual and prospective ATV operators attend specialized motorcycle and ATV shows, sportsmen's shows and display pavilions at fairs and exhibitions across the country. In addition, many recreational ATV operators take out club memberships and are active in maintaining trails.

The ownership and resulting responsibilities for trail maintenance vary among jurisdictions from those that are owned by clubs which are responsible for their upkeep to those on crown land both in and outside of government run and maintained parks. In any case, expenditures are made to construct and maintain these trails.

CATV Backgrounder

- The Canadian All-Terrain Vehicle Distributors Council, originally founded in 1984, is a national, non-profit, trade association, which represents the responsible interests of the major ATV distributors, as well as the manufacturers, distributors and retail outlets of OHV-related products and services, and individual owners and riders of off-highway vehicles in Canada.

- Member companies such as; Arctic Cat; BRP (Can-Am); Honda; Kawasaki; KTM; Polaris; Suzuki and Yamaha are committed to the integrity of the ATV industry.

- Our mission 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.

- As an industry we believe that it is important to work with government and the public in our mutual goal of creating balanced legislation that works, is enforceable and includes the very important component of public education and training.

Contact Information

  • Canadian Off-Highway Vehicle Distributors Council (COHV)
    Jo-Anne Farquhar
    Manager of Communications
    (416) 491-4449 ext 105 or Toll Free: 1-877-470-6642
    Cell: (416) 996-9207
    Email: or Website: