Honest Answers to Tough Questions

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Q. I had my operating licence cancelled by the Ministry several years ago. My son, who now wants to get in the business, received notification that his application for authority was denied, relating of course to his surname and address. I don’t feel that his desire to get into the business should be denied because of my licence being cancelled.

A. It is standard practice for the Ministry to refuse to issue a licence where the same name, address, shareholder, or director appears as an applicant for another licence. This approach is to prevent taking an end-run around a cancellation, but by no means is it intended to prevent a new and “legitimate” entity from starting up. You would have received a Notice of Refusal to Issue from the Ministry that gave the applicant the opportunity to present evidence as to why the application should not be denied. So long as the Registrar is convinced that the application is legitimate and not one to get around a prior cancellation, the licence may in fact be issued. Looked at another way perhaps, the initial denial is based on an appearance or possibility, and it is your responsibility as a new applicant to present the Ministry with facts to the contrary.

Q. In reviewing my CVOR record, there are too many instances where my owner-operators have committed offences such as speeding or even log or inspection violations where at the time, they were not under our control. I have heard of other outfits where they have required that their owner-operators have their own CVOR to produce when they are “on their own”. Is that the way to go?

A. This has been a contentious issue from time to time. Some officers take the approach that the CVOR Certificate produced must correspond with the plate rather than the owner. And most owner-operated vehicles are operated under the plate issued to the party they are contracted with.

But that said, the Act notes that the operator means the person directly or indirectly responsible for the operation of a commercial motor vehicle, including the conduct of the driver of, and the carriage of goods or passengers, if any, in the vehicle or combination of vehicles. Further it requires that “every driver of a commercial motor vehicle shall carry the original or a copy of, the CVOR certificate issued to the operator of the vehicle.”

The Act does not say there cannot be more than one operator tied to a vehicle. And it would strike me there are circumstances where the plate owner who may be the actual “operator” in most cases, (tied to the plate) is not the operator where the vehicle owner receives a logbook ticket while on vacation. Personally, I think it makes good sense that all owner-operators have their own CVOR, and further, that carriers they are contracted with, articulate clear written policies as to when specifically another party’s commercial motor vehicle is under the umbrella of their responsibility and control, and for that matter, when the vehicle is not operated under their control.

Q. My driver was stopped for an inspection, and the officer looked inside the trailer. There were materials scattered on the floor such as loose empty pallets and load bars. We received an insecure load charge. Pretty cheap don’t you think?

A. Yep, sure do. The problem with the insecure provision is reference to “the load that the vehicle or trailer is carrying is firmly bound, sufficiently covered, or otherwise secured or loaded, so that no portion of the load may become dislodged or fall from the motor vehicle or trailer.” Taken to the extreme, it would strike me that any load is potentially insecure given that varying degrees of force will at some point dislodge or shift a load.

Q. I just received a copy of my CVOR abstract and it does not indicate my correct fleet size. Why has the Ministry not changed it?

A. It is the carrier’s responsibility to notify the Ministry within 15 days of any changes to the fleet or kilometers traveled where the change is an increase or decrease of 20% or more. It is important that operators be aware of this. The CVOR “impact” can work both ways depending whether your fleet size has increased or decreased. And as part of a periodic review for properly reflected size, you should also pay attention to the Ontario fuel tax percentages.

Q. I am still not sure what is considered to be part of my Ontario fleet size. Is this essentially a number tied to total fleet size?

A. Only those vehicles that normally travel in Ontario should be identified. Vehicles that travel solely outside Ontario must not be included. If the fleet size fluctuates throughout the year, the ‘average’ fleet size operating within Ontario must be reported. This is particularly important for the larger carriers domiciled outside of the province. You will always want to use the calculation that best maximizes the CVOR Ontario fleet size.

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