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Multiple choice or mirage?

How similar do commercial trucking standards in the provinces and territories have to be before the federal government adopts amendments to the Motor Vehicle Transport Act?



How similar do commercial trucking standards in the provinces and territories have to be before the federal government adopts amendments to the Motor Vehicle Transport Act?

a) exactly the same

b) similar

c) more dissimilar than similar

d) completely different

e) it doesn’t matter

The answer, surprisingly, doesn’t just depend on how similar current provincial standards and regulations currently are, despite the seeming abundance of data available on the subject.

Take for example the recent release of a Canadian Trucking Human Resources Council report on driver licensing requirements across Canada. The data contained in the report would seem to indicate that licensing requirements differ from province to province. And the report even goes so far as to make mention of a Canadian Council of Motor Administrator’s proposal to adopt a national commercial licensing standard.

So just how do standards differ from province to province? Enough for the Canadian Trucking Alliance to publicly call for the federal government to delay the adoption of amendments to the MVTA because standards from province to province aren’t similar enough.

According to the CTA: “Proclamation of the federal Motor Vehicle Transport Act before a nationally consistent safety ratings standard is established could result in existing inconstancies between jurisdictions becoming even more entrenched than they are right now…We cannot accept a disjointed series of regional profile systems which could send wrong signals to the marketplace (read insurers).”

So the answer to the question that appeared at the top of this column would appear to be that provincial and territorial standards have to be at least more similar than they currently are to make adopting the MTVA Act make sense – right?

Wrong. The correct answer is e)it doesn’t matter how similar they are.

That’s because, even though the federal government would like everyone to believe that a single national safety code is achievable, standards would be enforced by provincial and territorial entities independently and therefore inconsistently.

In other words the national safety code portion of the MVTA is a pipe dream, and probably always will be, unless of course provinces and territories decide to hand back their hard-earned powers to the federal government.

That’s why it just doesn’t matter how similar or dissimilar the standards already are or could be. Because even though a level playing field for carriers would be nice, who would be watching the refs?

– Ingrid Phaneuf can be reached at iphaneuf@trucknews.com or 416-442-2091.


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