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Take Warning

There are several means by which operators in Ontario are monitored by the Ministry, with all carriers of course being well aware of both on-road enforcement and their CVOR abstract. Many more are fam...


There are several means by which operators in Ontario are monitored by the Ministry, with all carriers of course being well aware of both on-road enforcement and their CVOR abstract. Many more are familiar with the “warning letter” that is generated when an operator exceeds an overall CVOR compliance threshold of 35%, a combined factor associated with their collisions, inspection rate, and convictions. For the most part, when that letter is received, the operator usually pays attention, and takes those actions necessary to ensure that compliance improves overall.

There is no requirement per se to follow up with the Ministry. It is simply a note to the carrier that they have been “flagged” by the system. Often times we will be asked if there is something that should be done in any event. In this regard, the recommendation is generally two-fold. For starters, take a hard look at your CVOR which is the subject of the 35% warning indicator. Check that the information on the record is correct, the most important being the fleet size numbers. If for example the adjusted fleet size for Ontario is too low or too high, the percentage compliance rate would be better or worse. Certainly if that number should be revised upwards by all means, contact the Ministry and make the proper adjustment. But if the number of trucks is actually lower than indicated, then the problem faced is worsened.

As to whether to contact the Ministry to acknowledge receipt of a warning letter, my view is that for the most part, doing so is advisable. The extent of the acknowledgement is dependent on several factors, but as a minimum, they should at least be apprised that you have received the warning letter, and intend to address deficiencies. In the event there is a subsequent request for an interview, it can look good that there was recognition given to any compliance problems. But on the other hand, be prepared that there may be questions regarding the undertakings made in response to the warning letter, if you end up at the interview stage. In other words, in the Ministry’s mind, just how much did the warning letter mean, along with proposals to improve compliance?

When an operator reaches a 65% overall compliance threshold, a facility audit may be conducted, but in lieu of that, an interview may be requested. Where a facility audit does not take place, the compliance rate at which an interview is scheduled is 80%.

Before an interview is set, the Ministry undertakes a full analysis of the operator’s CVOR record, along with other relevant factors that may form part of the record. For example, there may be a focus on certain vehicle accidents, problem drivers and their records, or a particular maintenance problem. So clearly it is advisable prior to attending an interview that the operator conduct their own analysis of their record with a particular focus on identifiable compliance concerns. If any area jumps out at you as being a concern, then you can be sure that it will be a subject of discussion during the interview.

The bottom line is to have a clear plan as to how the problem areas are going to be corrected. Undertakings have to be realistic and address each problem area specifically. Further, a timeline for implementation is critical as the Ministry will expect significant change to the record within a 6-month period.

Next column, we’ll take a closer look at the issues surrounding the interview itself.

Blair Gough is a consultant to the trucking industry and can be reached at 905-689-2727.


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