Representatives from the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) of Canada are on Parliament Hill today (April 24) in Ottawa, Ontario, to urge support for critical cross-border issues affecting the Canadian industry.

The government’s 2012 Federal Budget has increased the value of goods travelers to the United States are able to bring back to Canada tax and duty free. This has serious implications for the competitiveness of the Canadian RV industry, which already has to compete with lower U.S. RV dealership prices, the Canada Newswire reported.

“This has really sideswiped our business on aftermarket parts and service for RVs,” stated Garth Bromley, RVDA of Canada chairman of the board. “Many of these items will now be tax-exempt. You can purchase a new RV awning for $800, and a couple can even buy a full new set of tires under the increased categories. This is a powerful incentive for customers to take their business to the U.S.”

RVDA feels that by raising the threshold of the value of goods travelers are able to bring back, when the Canadian Border Services Agency is not enforcing the current laws, the government is sending a powerful message that it is not serious about collecting taxes and duty on imports by customers. This will only lead to more cross-border shopping, and evasion at the border, which will have serious consequences for Canadian retailers.

In light of this issue, RVDA would like to request the government lower the duties Canadian RV retailers pay on imported goods. We are asking that the duties on aftermarket RV parts and add-ons be reduced to zero. Currently duties range between 7 percent and 18 percent.

Safety Issue Raised Too

Besides competitiveness issues, there are also safety concerns with vehicles purchased across the border. Many imported RVs are not compliant with national and provincial regulations regarding items such as propane tanks and electrical systems.

“Currently, we lack a coherent way to ensure that imported units meet Canadian safety standards, and there is a significant lack of consumer knowledge of specific regulations when they are importing vehicles through the Registrar of Imported Vehicles,” added Bromley. “We ask that the government implement a countrywide certification for all consumer and retailer imports, to ensure the safe operation and use of RVs across Canada.”

Finally, he concluded, RVing and camping are large components of tourism for both Canadians and visitors alike. There is a need for the Canadian Tourism Commission to promote RV rentals being offered in Canada as a new way to discover the country. This is a viable growth area for tourism in Canada.