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MVTA to establish country-wide rules

OTTAWA, Ont. - Carriers and owner/operators should get ready to include yet another piece of paper in their already bursting files of in-cab travel documents.This document, the Safety Fitness Certific...


OTTAWA, Ont. – Carriers and owner/operators should get ready to include yet another piece of paper in their already bursting files of in-cab travel documents.

This document, the Safety Fitness Certificate, is Transport Canada’s latest addition to the Motor Vehicle Transportation Act.

The goal is to ensure comparable safety ratings regardless of the carrier or independent’s province of origin, according to Transport Canada officials.

“There’s never been a requirement that all provinces have the same safety certification process,” explained Brian Orrbine, head of the Motor Carrier Group’s Road Safety and Motor Vehicle Regulation Directorate for Transport Canada.

“The new regulations call for the harmonization of all the provinces and territories under one rule.”

Just getting all the provinces on board with the harmonization plan was a feat, you’d think. But Orrbine said the provinces were more than co-operative.

The new plan has provinces issuing the new safety certificate to motor carriers or independents base-plated in their jurisdiction, Orrbine explained.

Orrbine said the MVTA will use the National Safety Code Standard #14 as a template for the new safety certificate criteria, something the provinces and territories have already agreed to.

All carriers will initially be rated “Satisfactory – Undaudited” until such time as their safety performance and/or facility audit results in a rating of “Satisfactory – Audited,” “Conditional,” or Unsatisfactory.” A carrier or independent with an “Unsatisfactory” rating would be prohibited from operating on Canadian roads.

But actually implementing the new regulations may take some time.

The amendments to the MVTA, basically the new safety certificate regulations, were published in Part 1 of the Canada Gazette May 3 (to see it go to www.canadagazette.gc.ca).

Next comes the 75-day comment period, during which carriers and independents alike can make their feelings about the new law known by contacting the Road Safety and Motor Vehicle Regulation Directorate at 800-333-0371, or regsclerkcommis@tc.gc.ca

After that comes a review period, for which there is no fixed deadline.

The final version of the new rules will be published in Canada Gazette, Part 2.

“Basically that’s when the rule becomes law,” Orrbine said, adding a “ramping-up period” will be included to make compliance easier.

Carrier groups have already indicated the new rule meets with their approval.

“It’s a great idea to have uniform safety standards across the country,” said Bruce Richards, president of the Private Motor Truck Council. “This basically means that carriers will be treated equally.”

In other words, carriers and drivers with less stringent safety practices won’t be able to go shopping for the least demanding province or territory as a home base.


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