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AMPS review underway

OTTAWA, Ont. -- A six-month review of the Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS) has been launched by the Ca...

OTTAWA, Ont. — A six-month review of the Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS) has been launched by the Canadian Customs and Revenue Agency (CCRA).

CCRA Minister Elinor Caplan kicked off the review of the system, which debuted in October 2002, last week, with a round-table discussion with key industry representatives, including the Canadian Trucking Alliance.

Industry players have complained that some penalty amounts in the AMPS program are too large, and that some companies are being unfairly penalized for honest mistakes, such as clerical errors.

The “big ticket” penalties for carriers have been (1) delivery prior to release of goods, (2) incorrect use of carrier codes and (3) bar code violations, says the CTA.
Between October 2002 and March 2003, these three violations cost carriers over $900,000 – about 2/3 of AMPS revenue collected form carriers.

Caplan told round-table participants that changes could be implemented prior to the review deadline this fall.

The CTA would like to see changes in the following areas:

Volume – Large volume carriers are exposed to significantly more penalties even for simple mistakes. With graduated penalties and a three-year “reset,” it is difficult for carriers to return to lower penalty levels;

Penalty amounts: some penalty levels do not have to be as high as they are in order to change behavior. Oft cited is the delivery before release where fines were increased from $400 to $1,000 on first offence, climbing to $3,000;

Officer discretion – There are concerns among carriers and drivers that individual enforcement officers sometimes single out carriers and/or drivers for “special treatment;”

Accountability – CTA wants to ensure the intent of AMPS is more broadly applied. For example CCRA can’t impose AMPS on a U.D. shipper, but will go after the Canadian carrier instead.

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