​​​​​Governments use brand records to help ensure proper repairs are made to salvage vehicles, and to protect consumers by making stolen vehicles and parts difficult to resell. Brand records also help police identify stolen vehicles.​​

In cooperation with Équité Association, the vehicle branding service streamlines provincial registration transfer procedures for Équité members, who are required by law to transfer vehicle registration into their name after any total-loss claims settlement.

​Assigning a Brand

Any vehicle registered in a Canadian province or territory has a permanent record that is linked to its Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). If a vehicle is stolen or severely damaged, authorities add a  brand or note to its VIN record.

​Types of Brands

Governments assign a brand to describe a vehicle’s condition, history or situation: 

  1. Irreparable – a badly damaged vehicle (for example, flood-damaged or burned) that can only be used for parts or scrap metal. Vehicles with this brand cannot be driven.
  2. Salvage – a vehicle that can be repaired but not driven until it is inspected and deemed safe.
  3. Rebuilt – a vehicle that was once branded as salvage but has since been rebuilt and inspected in accordance with regulatory criteria.
  4. Stolen – a vehicle that is reported stolen. Only police can assign this brand or cancel it if the vehicle is recovered.​

Brand types and names vary by province or territory. Visit your provincial or territorial government’s ministry of transportation website for additional information about branding in your area.  

How Branding Protects You

A criminal may take a VIN from a wrecked vehicle and place it on a stolen vehicle to mask its identity. If the vehicle is branded, though, criminals need to work very hard to make a stolen vehicle appear legitimate. 

By disguising a vehicle’s identity, a criminal may be able to sell a vehicle that was stolen or has serious hidden damage. An unsuspecting consumer who purchases a stolen vehicle may have it permanently seized by the police. Some people buy a seemingly fit vehicle, only to discover later that it has structural damage that makes it unsafe to drive. 

Branding protects consumers by making it more difficult for criminals to sell a stolen or unsafe vehicle to an unsuspecting buyer. Learn how Équité Association helps Canadians fight auto theft.