Monitor CVOR records to avoid surprises, official advises

TORONTO, Ont. — Carriers operating in Ontario can be forgiven if they don’t completely understand how their CVOR violation rate is calculated. It’s the result of a complex formula that takes into account a carrier’s collision profile, conviction profile and inspection profile, arriving at a percentage that provides a snapshot of a carrier’s safety performance and their likelihood of being involved in future incidents.

But what any CVOR-holder knows without doubt is that a warning letter is not a good sign, an unexpected facility audit worse, and a sanction or suspension, potentially catastrophic. Patrick Mallen, the man in charge of Ontario’s CVOR program – at least until he retires from public service next month – wants carriers to monitor their CVOR profile so they can identify areas of weakness before the Ministry of Transportation has to intervene with the measures outlined above.

“We want carriers to monitor themselves,” Mallen said this week at a Private Motor Truck Council of Canada (PMTC) seminar on the CVOR program.

The CVOR program rates carriers as Excellent, Satisfactory, Satisfactory Unaudited, Conditional or Unsatisfactory. It is Ontario’s answer to the National Safety Code certificate programs that exist in other provinces. A CVOR certificate is required by carriers operating in Ontario that are plated there or in the US or Mexico.

Unlike other safety rating programs, the CVOR is based on kilometric travel rather than fleet size, which Mallet says provides a more accurate indication of risk exposure. He said the Ontario program has been studied by jurisdictions around the world looking to replicate it.

A carrier’s CVOR incurs points as a result of reportable collisions or convictions on a sliding scale, based on severity. Non-reportable collisions – those with no injuries and damages of less than $2,000, where no impropriety occurred – are recorded on a CVOR but no points are assigned for those incidents.

As points accumulate, a carrier’s CVOR violation rate rises. At 35%, a warning letter is issued. A facility audit is likely when the violation rate reaches 50%.

“You could go from zero to over 50% very quickly and you wouldn’t necessarily get a warning letter,” Mallen warned, which is why it’s important to monitor CVOR scores.

Fortunately, MTO intervention usually proves effective. Mallen said 87% of warning letter recipients are never intervened with again.

“It’s an effective way of alerting an operator to their situation and having them correct it themselves,” he said.

About 2,000 warning letters were sent out the last year on record, Mallen added. In 2014, 208 sanction procedures were initiated against fleets that reached the 100% violation rate threshold. Among the sanctions were 69 CVOR cancellations and 52 suspensions. Seventy sanctions were “set aside,” meaning the MTO accepted the carrier’s explanation and allowed it to continue operating under certain limitations for a one-year period before their sanction could be rescinded.

When a carrier’s CVOR is pulled, there’s no getting it back, Mallen warned. Even known affiliates of the operator may be unable to obtain a new CVOR.

Most appeals have been unsuccessful, Mallen noted.

If a facility audit is required, company records including two years’ worth of vehicle maintenance reports, six months of hours-of-service records, and driver qualification records and reports dating back two years will be examined.

Mike Millian, president of the PMTC, told attendees he has undergone the facility audit when managing a private fleet. He urged members to be cooperative.

“If you have your stuff in order, an audit is actually a very good process,” he said. “Make sure you’re up-front with the officers. You’re not going to pull the wool over their eyes. When they ask you a question, they generally know the answer. Work with these people – they’re there to do their job.”

A passed audit is required to earn an Excellent or Satisfactory rating, so there is some incentive for fleets to roll out the red carpet to MTO auditors.

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James Menzies is editor of Today's Trucking. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 20 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.

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  • James:

    You nailed it! Well done and thank you for publishing this information – the more ways of getting the message out there the better for operators.
    Take care.