The main reason the Federal USA Elise/Exige/Evora is not admissible into Canada is that they do not meet current Transport Canada regulations for bumper speed requirements.
Here is an excerpt from the Transport Canada website outlining the differences in the current USA and Canada bumper regulations:-
Description and rationale
Canada and the United States introduced safety standards for bumpers in the early 1970’s. When the Canadian and the United States safety standards were originally introduced, they were harmonized with a test speed of 5 mph (8 km/h) for front and rear impacts and 3 mph (4.8 km/h) for corner impact tests. However, in 1979, the United States added more stringent requirements that included cosmetic damage criteria, while maintaining the original test speeds and safety components damage protection requirements. In 1982, the United States reduced the test speeds to 2.5 mph (4 km/h) for front and rear impacts and 1.5 mph (2.4 km/h) for corner impacts, and maintained their cosmetic and safety damage requirements.
In 1983, when the Canadian government proposed an amendment to harmonize the test speeds with those of the United States (i.e., 4 and 2.4 km/h), many Canadian stakeholders, such as the public, provincial and territorial governments, media and the insurance industry, were against the proposed test speed reduction. As a result the harmonization of test speeds was not pursued; thus for the past 26 years Canada has had a unique higher speed bumper test requirement for passenger cars.
These higher test speeds have resulted in some vehicle models not being available to Canadian consumers. In addition, there have been some vehicles sold at the retail level in the United States that have been inadmissible for importation into Canada as they have not met the Canadian bumper requirements.
Manufacturers are presently more concerned with the ability to design vehicles capable of meeting both the unique higher Canadian test speeds and future pedestrian safety requirements that are being developed internationally, rather than the limitation of vehicle models available on the Canadian market. The global technical regulation for pedestrian safety is aimed at reducing pedestrian fatalities by requiring that the front upper portion of vehicles be designed to reduce head contact forces when a pedestrian strikes the vehicle. This is accomplished by providing space between the vehicle’s exterior parts, such as the hood and upper fenders, and the solid structure of the vehicle, such as the motor or frame. In addition to reducing head injuries, the Global Technical Regulation on pedestrian safety will require that bumpers be designed to reduce lower leg injuries.
Most manufacturers have expressed the concern that a conflict exists in meeting the requirements of the three existing safety standards, ECE regulation 42, Canadian safety standard 215, and title 49, part 581 of the Code of Federal Regulations of the United States. As the European and Canadian requirements are aimed at improving safety, the intention at the time of introduction of the requirements was to protect the safety equipment of the vehicle, such as the lights, from damage in a low speed collision. The intention of the current United States bumper standard is to prevent or reduce physical damage to the front and rear of passenger cars in low-speed collisions, while protecting the hood, trunk, grill, fuel, exhaust, and cooling systems as well as safety related equipment such as parking lights, headlamps and tail lamps in low speed collisions. Manufacturers have noted that from a design standpoint, there is a conflict between meeting the no damage requirement of the United States, the higher test speeds in Canada with no damage to the safety systems and the need for bumpers to be designed to meet the requirements of the impending global technical regulation for pedestrian safety. Manufacturers have indicated that it will not be possible to meet all three requirements at once. Further, most manufacturers have suggested that they would be able to meet the United States lower speed and no damage requirements and the pedestrian safety requirements with one design.
This amendment will have a positive impact on international trade, as the Canadian requirement for bumper testing is the same as the requirements in Europe and the United States. This amendment will assist Canada with its obligation under the Global Agreement, made under the auspices of the UNECE. Canada’s commitment to review the Canadian bumper test speeds was noted in the summary document of the Global Technical Regulation working group on pedestrian safety that is available at the following site UNECE Information Service - UNECE
It was actually quite fortunate that Lotus bore the cost of re-engineering the Federal standard bumper structure designs and submitted vehicles to Transport Canada for testing (to destruction)to get the models able to be legally sold here, bearing in mine what a small market Canada is to the company.