KING CITY, Ont. — Deloitte, a Canadian consulting and advisory services firm, recently submitted a report on the effectiveness of Ontario’s Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration (CVOR) system and it had many suggestions for the Ministry.
At the annual PMTC conference in King City, Ont., Peter Hurst, director, carrier safety and enforcement at the Ministry of Transportation spoke to the audience about the recommendations put forth to better the program, and how the Ministry plans on responding to them.
Overall, the consultant claimed the CVOR system worked well but felt compelled to provide recommendations to the Ministry because of the opinions and concerns that were voiced at the stakeholders’ meetings.
One of the complaints of the system that was heard the most often was about a fleet’s kilometric travel. Currently, the CVOR program relies on data that suggests that long-haul fleets who travel more kilometres are more susceptible to accidents than local haulers, regardless of fleet size. This is because long-haulers spend more time on the road and more time means more chances to rollover, or get into an accident. As one can imagine, many small and municipal fleets have spoken up.
“We’ve had complaints from fleets with low kilometric travel, mostly municipal operators and waste haulers, bus companies and transit operators, that our modeling benefits long-hauling to the harm of smaller fleets,” said Hurst.
The argument from these municipalities is that, especially in urban centres like Toronto and Ottawa, these types of vehicles are actually operating in conditions where they would be more likely to have an accident because of the high traffic areas they are forced to drive in and that kilometres travelled is irrelevant.
Hurst said when they met with the municipalities in February, they weren’t asking to change the model, but rather asking the Ministry to help them achieve a 20-30% violation rate – an acceptable rate seeing as these vehicles average 50% and above.
Hurst said taking these vehicles out of operation isn’t an option because of what they provide to a community, and how many people rely on them for transportation and commuting purposes.
“Taking bus and transit capabilities away in a city like Toronto just isn’t possible,” he said.
The consultant suggested that municipalities be removed from the program entirely, or be treated differently.
“We haven’t decided what we are going to with the recommendations concerning this yet,” said Hurst.
Another concern brought up by the consultant surrounded leasing companies, who are becoming more relevant since the International Registration Program passed a ballot last fall saying they were to be treated the same as trucking companies where they can register base plates wherever they want.
Because of this, leasing companies who were or are under scrutiny in Ontario can lease their vehicles outside of the province and essentially avoid intervention.
“The consultant is recommending to us that we find a way to deal with that whether it’s through legislation, like the making the anti-avoidance legislation valid across Canada, to slow down the movement of bad drivers and bad carriers,” said Hurst.
A change that is also being looked into at the recommendation of Deloitte is the ability for fleets to have access to driver abstracts.
Currently, unless a driver gives you permission to view their abstract, a carrier is not allowed to see it. But because carriers are essentially held accountable for violations, it is the opinion of the consultant that these carriers should have access to this information.
Unfortunately, said Hurst, this is a hard change to implement because it was a policy decision done on a minister’s order.
Another major issue that is being seen across the country is the fact that some carriers stay in a conditional rating for too long without any repercussions.
“We have carriers that are conditional and there is no incentive for them to move out of that rating,” said Hurst. “They can’t move unless we audit them, and they don’t want to be audited so they just decide to operate indefinitely as a conditional carrier.”
The consultant claimed this was unfair to the rest of the industry and that measures should be taken to possibly mandate audits after a certain number of years or finding incentives for carriers to get out of that rating.
A change that everyone in the audience seemed to agree with was increasing the reportable collision threshold. Currently, the threshold is $1,000, which is too low according to Hurst.
“You knock a mirror off a truck and you’re probably at $1,000,” he said. “It needs to be changed and that’s what the consultant is recommending.”
Hurst said an option would be to either raise the threshold to $5,000, or to make like the Americans and change our definition of a reportable collision. In the US, said Hurst, a collision is reportable if your vehicle is towed away or there was a fatality or serious injury during the accident.
It should be noted that some Canadian jurisdictions have adopted this definition already.
In addition, the fact that the CVOR program relies on self-reporting was flagged as a concern from Deloitte.
“We’re relying on the carriers giving us accurate information and high mileage could be reported because it benefits the carrier,” said Hurst.
The review suggested validating the information provided by using other systems like the IBC or WSIB.
At the end of the day, said Hurst, these proposed changes are to better the program and make the roads a safer place.
Sonia Straface is the associate editor of Truck News and Truck West magazines. She graduated from Ryerson University's journalism program in 2013 and enjoys writing about health and wellness and HR issues surrounding the transportation industry. Follow her on Twitter: @SoniaStraface. All posts by Sonia Straface