The simplest, and easiest way to get started, is to join your local rally club.
There are rally clubs spread out all across Canada that organise events ranging from navigational rallies to National Championship events. Getting involved in your local club is the best way to see what is going on, help out a local team, or volunteer at the event.
Volunteering is the best way to get a feel for how a rally works and to get to see the rally up close.
Getting started in competition is as easy as entering an event.
Navigational Rallies, also know as TSD or Time Speed Distance Rallies, are navigational challenges where teams are given routes to follow and average speeds to maintain. While the speeds are below the posted limit the roads used are usually still a challenge for both the driver and navigator. TSDs are often a gateway to rallying but the top level competition can be really intense. First aid kits, emergency triangles and fire extinguishers are normally all that are required. Serious competitors will consider skid-plates, driving lights, rally computers (specific TSD computers are available), map lights and specialized tires.
Rally Cross events are excellent events to get comfortable driving a car at its limit on loose surfaces. Typically held on open and flat areas, the speeds are slow, compared to stage roads, and normally safe. Car preparation is normally limited to removing loose items and making sure the car is mechanically sound. Again, at the top level competition can get serious and preparation will include lightening the car, improved suspension, specialized tires and race seats. Safety equipment is limited to a helmet meeting CARS standards for RallyCross.
Rally Sprint events are a stepping stone to performance rallies. Car safety and preparation rules match those of performance rally. Some driver equipment requirements are relaxed but CARS does recommend using all of the performance rally safety equipment if possible. Rallysprint events are made up of stages less than 3km in length with an average speed slower than 80km/h. Only one car can be on a stage at a time.
Regional Rally events are the first level of performance rally events that require specific licencing and full safety equipment as listed in the National Rally Regulations. Regional events and championships are normally strongly contested and offer tight competition. The level of equipment is generally more modest than is found at the highest level in the National Championship but the cars are fully prepared performance rally cars. Total stage distance is less than you'll find at a national and regional organisers tend to stay away from long stages.
There are three regional championships in Canada, the Championnat de Rallye du Québec, the Ontario Performance Rally Championship and the Western Canada Rally Championship.
National Rally events require an enhanced competition license and bring the best in the country together to compete on the stages. Stage distances are longer and schedules can be less 'friendly' and more time consuming than regional events.
Most CARS member clubs organise Navigational Rallies and/or Rallycross events.