Commercial Vehicle Operators’ Safety Manual

Module 3 - Ontario Legislation and the National Safety Code

Overview

The Carrier Safety and Enforcement Branch of the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario has prepared this guide to assist and ensure that truck and bus companies (commercial vehicle operators) operate safely and are compliant with the regulations that govern highway use. Ontario, other provinces, the Government of Canada and the transportation industry developed the rules and regulations to help reduce the number and severity of collisions. Each jurisdiction has used the National Safety Code standards as guides in drafting their own transportation safety legislation. This approach promotes uniformity across Canada and helps to ensure that the transportation industry remains as viable and sustainable as possible.

This guide applies to Ontario operators of commercial motor vehicles that are:

  • Trucks, tractors or trailers, or a combination of these vehicles, that have a registered gross vehicle weight or actual weight of more than 4,500 kilograms
  • Tow trucks, regardless of registered gross weight or actual weight
  • Buses with a manufactured seating capacity of 10 persons or more, excluding the driver
  • Accessible vehicles and school-purposes vehicles, depending upon use

The guide contains several modules, each dealing with a specific topic. To get a complete picture of compliance requirements, you should obtain the complete guide. If you intend to use certain parts of this guide only (for example, Module 1, "Getting Started”) it is recommended that you also obtain the modules "Introduction” and "Commercial Vehicle Operators’ Registration.”

This is a guide only and is not meant to be a substitute for the relevant statutes and regulations. This guide highlights some important legal provisions but is not an exhaustive description of all the laws that apply.

Ontario Legislation and the National Safety Code (NSC) Learning Objectives

As you work through this module, you will be able to:

  • Access the regulations under the Highway Traffic Act that affect commercial vehicle operators.
  • Know how the NSC standards are applied and enforced in Ontario.
  • Describe how the NSC relates to provincial and federal legislation.
  • Describe the 16 standards of the NSC.

Important Acts and Regulations

Several legal acts affect a commercial vehicle operator. It is important to be familiar with these acts and with their regulations. Some are federal and apply all across Canada. Others are provincial and apply only in Ontario. Many regulations are similar across Canada and through parts of the United States. But, be aware whenever your vehicles are driven into a different province, territory or state that some regulations may not be the same on the other side of the border. For more information, visit some of the websites for the specific jurisdiction in which you travel.

See Module 2, "Getting Started,” for a list of helpful links.

Ontario Legislation

All drivers, vehicles and roadways within the province of Ontario fall under the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) and its related regulations.

The regulations that primarily affect commercial vehicle operators include:

  • HTA Regulation 629 (Accessible Vehicles)
  • HTA Regulation 199/07 (Commercial Motor Vehicle Inspections)
  • HTA Regulation 424/97 (Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators’ Information)
  • HTA Regulation 577 (Covering of Loads)
  • HTA Regulation 512/97 (Critical Defects of Commercial Motor Vehicle)
  • HTA Regulation 340/94 (Drivers’ Licences)
  • HTA Regulation 587 (Equipment) (Includes Speed Limiters)
  • HTA Regulation 596 (General)
  • HTA Regulation 555/06 (Hours of Service)
  • HTA Regulation 601 (Motor Vehicle Inspection Stations)
  • HTA Regulation 611 (Safety Inspections) (Includes On-Road Standards)
  • HTA Regulation 612 (School Buses)
  • HTA Regulation 363/04 (Security of Loads)
  • HTA Regulation 618 (Specifications and Standards for Trailer Couplings)
  • HTA Regulation 625 (Tire Standards and Specifications)
  • HTA Regulation 628 (Vehicle Permits)
  • HTA Regulation 341/94 (Driver Licence Examinations)
  • HTA Regulation 413/05 (Vehicle Weights and Dimensions)
  • Dangerous Goods Transportation Act
  • Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act
Federal Legislation
  • Motor Vehicle Transport Act (MVTA), 1987, T-6 RSA 2000
  • MVTA Commercial Vehicle Drivers Hours of Service Regulations, 2005, SOR/2005-313
  • Motor Vehicle Safety Fitness Certificate Regulation, SOR/2005-180
  • Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act
International Agreements
  • International Fuel Tax Agreement
  • International Registration Plan
Copies of Legislation and Regulations

Copies of the Highway Traffic Act and related Ontario regulations are available at no cost on the e-Laws website.

The National Safety Code (NSC) and Provincial Legislation

Ontario, other provinces/territories, the Government of Canada and the transportation industry developed the NSC to help reduce the number and severity of collisions. Each jurisdiction is encouraged to use the NSC standards as guides in drafting their own transportation safety legislation. This approach promotes uniformity across Canada and helps to ensure that the transportation industry remains as viable and sustainable as possible.

It is important to note that the provincial legislation and applicable federal legislation directs operators within each province, not the NSC standards.

A complete copy of the standards is available on the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators website.

NSC Standards and the Ontario Highway Traffic Act

The following NSC standards are listed with the applicable Ontario act and regulation. This information is included to help you know and understand how each standard is applied in Ontario.

NSC Standard #1 - Single Driver Licence Concept

A standard implemented by all jurisdictions that makes it an offence for a driver to hold more than one licence. In addition, a series of administrative procedures has been agreed upon to ensure driving infractions are assigned to a single licence and record.

Regulated in Ontario by:

  • Highway Traffic Act
  • HTA; Drivers’ Licences; O. Reg 340/94
NSC Standard #2 - Knowledge and Performance Tests (Drivers)

A standard that sets out the process for standardized testing of commercial drivers and includes the criteria for both written and road tests. It also identifies the key elements that will be evaluated by government officials charged with administering the tests.

Regulated in Ontario by:

  • HTA
  • HTA; Drivers’ Licence Examinations; O. Reg 341/94
NSC Standard #3 - Driver Examiner Training Program

A standard designed to upgrade the skills and knowledge of driver examiners and ensure that they are consistent across Canada.

Regulated in Ontario by:

  • HTA
  • HTA; Drivers’ Licence Examinations; O. Reg 341/94
NSC Standard #4 - Classified Driver Licensing

A standard that renders a more uniform classification and endorsement system for driver licences and ensures that a licence issued in one province/territory is recognized in all provinces/territories.

Regulated in Ontario by:

  • HTA
  • HTA; Drivers’ Licences; O. Reg 340/94

This regulation establishes the 12 classes of driver licences in Ontario: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, G1, G2, M, M1 and M2. The endorsement information explains requirements for specific supplementary driver qualifications.

NSC Standard #5 - Self-Certification Standard and Procedures

A standard outlining the criteria that must be met to permit operators and driver- training schools to train commercial drivers.

Regulated in Ontario by:

  • HTA
  • HTA; Licences for Driving Instructors and Driving Schools; O. Reg. 473/07

This regulation establishes the training and driver-testing requirements for operators and driving schools.

NSC Standard #6 - Medical Standards for Drivers

These are the medical standards for drivers from the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators. Initially Standard #6 of the National Safety Code for Motor Carriers, they set the medical criteria used to establish whether drivers are medically fit to drive. This standard addresses both private and commercial drivers.

Regulated in Ontario by:

  • HTA
  • HTA; Drivers’ Licences; O. Reg 340/94

This regulation establishes the initial medical requirements for each class of driver’s licence and also the requirements for periodic re-examinations.

NSC Standard #7 - Carrier and Driver Profiles

A standard that is designed to provide jurisdictions with a record of driver and operator performance in terms of compliance with safety rules and regulations. This standard supports enforcement activity to remove unsatisfactory drivers and operators from service, and identifies the type of information that will be maintained about each commercial driver and operator.

Regulated in Ontario by:

  • HTA
  • HTA; Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators’ Information; O. Reg. 424/97

This legislation establishes the minimum list of requirements in each jurisdiction’s control system, including records of infractions, collisions, on-road inspections and facility audits. The information is exchanged among Canadian jurisdictions to obtain complete operator profiles.

NSC Standard #8 - Short-Term Suspensions

A standard that describes the criteria for placing a driver out of service on a short-term (24-hour) basis when a peace officer has reasonable and probable grounds to believe the driver's ability is affected by alcohol, drugs or fatigue.

Regulated in Ontario by regional and provincial police.

This legislation provides for the suspension of a driver's licence for up to 24 hours when the driver's ability to operate a vehicle is impaired by alcohol, fatigue or drugs.

NSC Standard #9 - Hours of Service

A standard that describes the number of hours a driver can be on duty and operate a commercial vehicle. It outlines the requirement to complete daily logs, describes the various cycles of operation and sets out driver and operator record-keeping requirements.

Regulated in Ontario by:

  • HTA
  • HTA; Hours of Service; O. Reg. 555/06
  • MVTA; Commercial Vehicle Drivers Hours of Service Regulation, (Federal), SOR/2005-313

This legislation establishes a commercial driver’s allowed hours of service while travelling within Ontario and when crossing into other Canadian and US. jurisdictions.

NSC Standard #10 - Cargo Securement

A standard that outlines the specific requirements for securing loads to commercial vehicles, to ensure they do not shift, move or spill onto the roadway.

Regulated in Ontario by:

  • HTA
  • HTA; Security of Loads; O. Reg. 363/04

This regulation establishes the minimum requirements for securing loads.

NSC Standard #11B - Commercial Vehicle Maintenance and Inspection Standards

A standard that outlines maintenance and periodic inspections.

Regulated in Ontario by:

  • HTA
  • HTA; Safety Inspections; O. Reg. 611
  • HTA; Motor Vehicle Inspection Stations; O. Reg. 601

These regulations establish the minimum standards for the periodic inspection of commercial vehicles. Detailed procedures were developed by a task force of government and industry representatives.

NSC Standard #12 - Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance On-Road Inspections

A standard that contains the on-road inspection criteria from the Alliance.

Adopted by Ontario

  • HTA, Section 84
  • Commercial Vehicle Drivers Hours of Service Regulation (Federal), SOR/2005-313

These criteria and inspections set the minimum standards for the roadside inspection of drivers and vehicles, as established by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. Canada, the US. and Mexico have adopted this program as part of their on-road enforcement programs. The criteria outline when vehicle and driver conditions constitute an imminent hazard and can no longer operate on the highway.

NSC Standard #13 - Trip Inspection

A standard that prescribes daily trip-inspection requirements.

Regulated in Ontario by:

  • HTA
  • HTA; Commercial Motor Vehicle Inspections; O. Reg 199/07

This regulation requires drivers to conduct vehicle inspections and prepare vehicle trip- inspection reports, and notify the operator of any defects. The operator is then required to repair the reported defects before the vehicle is driven on the highway again.

NSC Standard #14 - Safety Rating

A standard that establishes the motor carrier safety-rating framework by which each jurisdiction assesses the safety performance of operators.

Regulated in Ontario by:

  • HTA
  • HTA; Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators’ Information; O. Reg. 424/97

This regulation establishes an operator’s carrier safety ratings and how sanctions are imposed when necessary. This is applied uniformly across Canada. Information about the driver and the carrier profile system is exchanged through an inter-provincial system. This produces a nationally consistent assessment of an operator's safety rating performance and a way to determine whether that performance is adequate to allow continued operation.

NSC Standard #15 - Facility Audits

A standard that outlines the audit process used by jurisdictions to determine an operator‘s level of compliance with all applicable safety standards.

Regulated in Ontario by:

  • HTA
  • HTA; Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators’ Information; O. Reg. 424/97

This legislation establishes the requirements for the maintenance of records at an operator’s principal place of business, for on-site review and assessment by government auditors of the operator's safety performance and overall compliance with NSC standards.

NSC Standard #16 - First Aid Training

A voluntary standard outlining the elements that should be included in a basic first-aid course for commercial drivers.

It is recommended that drivers of commercial vehicles complete an approved first-aid training and/or an occupational health-and-safety program.

There is currently no legislative requirement in the HTA to support this standard.

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