Medical standards for class G and D drivers driving for commercial purposes in the US

Canadian commercial drivers with G and D licenses must meet new medical standards to operate commercial vehicles in the United States. This includes filing medical reports on an ongoing basis.

What's changing

US law will require drivers of:

  • A vehicle defined as commercial with a Weight/Rating* of 4,536 kg (10,001 pounds) or more, to have completed a medical examination indicating they are physically qualified to safely operate a commercial vehicle.

* Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, Gross Combination Weight Rating, Gross Vehicle Weight or Gross Combination Weight

Full details of US Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) definition of a commercial motor vehicle can be found at:
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations Section 390.5.

Canadian licensed commercial drivers are qualified to operate in the US if they meet all of the requirements to operate in Canada and do not have:

  • Diabetes – insulin dependent;
  • Hearing impairment;
  • History of epilepsy or seizures

When is this changing

For Class D drivers the requirement is effective April 1, 2017.

For Class G drivers the requirement became effective April 1, 2016.

Why this has changed

The Canada-US medical reciprocity agreement recognizes a Canadian commercial licence as proof that a medical has been completed.

The FMCSA has identified Canadian drivers operating commercial vehicles in the US with Class G driver’s licences and Class D driver’s licences (equivalent Class 5 and Class 3 licence in other Canadian jurisdictions) as needing to come into compliance with US law.  Classes A, B, C, E and F are not affected by this change.

What affected drivers need to know

There are three options to obtain the appropriate medical confirmation.

  1. Submit a completed FMCSA Medical Report form found at: http://www.forms.ssb.gov.on.ca/mbs/ssb/forms/ssbforms.nsf/GetFileAttach/5080E~1/$File/5080E.pdf. The form can be completed by a physician or nurse practitioner licensed to practice in Ontario to confirm the national medical standards are met. Drivers can fax a full copy of the report to MTO at: 416-235-3400 or 1-800-304-7889.
    Drivers should clearly indicate on the fax cover sheet: “This request is for a Medical Confirmation Letter for drivers operating commercially in the United States”. Drivers are encouraged to keep the original medical report and fax confirmation for their records.

  2. Upgrade existing Class G or Class D licence to a to a higher licence class where regular medical reporting is required – for more information : (http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/driver/truck-driver-licence.shtml#apply), or;

  3. Seek the services of a certified medical examiner in the US and be issued a medical certificate – for more information: https://nationalregistry.fmcsa.dot.gov/NRPublicUI/home.seam

Drivers failing to obtain appropriate medical confirmation may be subject to fines and/or be placed out-of-service by US enforcement. Note that the Medical Review Section commitment is to review medical reports and take appropriate action within 30 business days – it is recommended that drivers submit medical reports as soon as possible.

Once obtained, it is important to note that proof of medical confirmation must be in the driver’s possession when operating in the US.

Medical Report Review (Option 1)

Your ability to obtain a Medical Confirmation Letter depends on your medical report:

  • Once your report is reviewed, if you meet national medical standards a confirmation letter will be sent to you;
  • Failure to meet national medical standards may result in a request for additional medical information, denial of the Medical Confirmation Letter (Class G), licence downgrade (Class D) or driver’s licence suspension.

Reapplying for a Medical Confirmation Letter

You will be required to apply for a new Medical Confirmation Letter every:

  • 5 years for drivers 18 to 45 years of age;
  • 3 years for drivers 46 to 65 years of age;
  • 1 year for drivers 66 years of age or older

It is your responsibility to apply for a new Medical Confirmation Letter (per the process outlined above) prior to the expiry of the Medical Confirmation Letter. The expiry date is clearly indicated on the Medical Confirmation Letter from MTO.

If you have questions regarding the US FMCSA commercial-use vehicle requirements, please contact FMCSA at 1-202-366-4001.

Contact the ministry

By mail:

Ministry of Transportation
Driver Improvement Office
Medical Review Section
77 Wellesley Street West, Box 589
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1N3

By phone: 416-235-1773 or 1-800-268-1481 (within Ontario)

By fax: 416-235-3400 or 1-800-304-7889

By email: DriverImprovementOffice@ontario.ca

Business hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What will happen if a Class D driver does nothing to obtain proof of medical fitness?

Q2. What is changing? Why do Ontario drivers have to comply with medical requirements in the US?

Q3. Why does this only apply to Class D drivers?

Q4. What is the Canada-US medical reciprocity agreement?

Q5. How do I obtain proof of medical fitness to operate in the US?

Q6. What does the Ministry provide as proof of medical fitness?

Q7. What am I required to do with the medical confirmation letter?

Q8 How long is the medical confirmation letter valid for and do I need to reapply?

Q9. How can someone who has been previously downgraded regain their commercial licence?

Q10. I recently up-graded my driver’s licence to a Class D and provided a medical report during that process. Am I still required to submit another medical report?

Q11. I recently moved to Ontario and provided a medical report when I exchanged my licence. Am I still required to submit another medical report?

Q12. I have a medical waiver issued in 1977/78. Can I still drive commercially in the US?

Q13. I only drive commercially in the US once or twice a year. Is a medical report still required?

Q14. I recently had to file a medical report due to a medical condition. Can I use this report as proof of medical fitness?

Q15. How will this impact a driver’s ability to work in the trucking industry?

BACKGROUND

Q1. What will happen if a Class D driver does nothing to obtain proof of medical fitness?

The FMCSA has advised that enforcement officials will initiate a ‘soft enforcement’ period starting August 1, 2016. During that period the FMCSA has encouraged US enforcement officials to not issue tickets or place drivers out-of-service on the first offence. This should allow adequate time for Ontario Class D drivers to obtain proof of medical fitness via one of the three options provided.

Effective April 1, 2017 - at the end of the ‘soft’ enforcement period - drivers who have not secured proof of medical fitness (by selecting one of the options noted above) may be subject to fines and/or be placed out-of-service by US enforcement officials.

Q2. What is changing? Why do Ontario drivers have to comply with medical requirements in the US?

US law requires the driver of a commercial vehicle that has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating or Gross Combination Weight Rating, or Gross Vehicle Weight or Gross Combination Weight of 4,536 kg (10,001 pounds) or more, whichever is greater, to have completed regular medical examinations that confirm they are medically fit to drive. This includes Canadian drivers crossing into the US driving commercial vehicles.

The FMCSA has has identified concerns with Canadian drivers who hold a Class D driver’s licence (or equivalent) operating commercially in the US. Unlike other commercial classes, Ontario Class D drivers are only required to file a medical report at licence application and again at age 80. As a result, on-going proof of medical fitness will soon be required for any Class D driver wishing to operate a commercial vehicle in the US.

Q3. Why does this only apply to Class D drivers?

In Ontario all commercial drivers (Class A, B, C, D, E and F) are required to file a medical report upon application. The requirement to file medical reports on a renewal (cyclical) basis only extends to licence classes A, B, C, E and F, therefore only Class D is required to provide proof of medical fitness.

Q4. What is the Canada-US medical reciprocity agreement?

In 1998 Canada and the United States signed the Canada/US Medical Reciprocity Agreement for Commercial Drivers, which came into effect on March 30 1999. The Agreement recognizes that Canadian and US medical requirements for commercial drivers are similar with the exception of three medical conditions. The purpose of the agreement is to allow for movement of goods and people across the border without the requirement for additional medical requirements. Prior to this Ontario drivers would have to submit an additional medical report to US authorities to be able to operate commercially in the US.

The reciprocity agreement between the US and Canada does not permit drivers who do not meet the medical fitness requirements of Canada to drive in the US. The medical reciprocity agreement states that Canadian commercial drivers are qualified to operate in the US if they meet all of the commercial requirements to operate in Canada and do not have:

  • Diabetes – insulin dependent;
  • Hearing impairment;
  • History of epilepsy or seizures

OPTIONS TO COMPLY WITH FMCSA REQUIREMENT

Q5. How do I obtain proof of medical fitness to operate in the US?

In an effort to facilitate proof of medical fitness for those driving commercially in the US the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) has worked with the CCMTA and the FMCSA to provide drivers with three options to obtain the necessary medical confirmation.

Option 1

Submit a medical report to MTO and receive a Medical Confirmation Letter (e.g. proof of medical fitness);

  • To obtain a medical report form that can be completed by a physician or nurse practitioner licensed to practice in Ontario, please visit the ministry’s website at http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/trucks/medical-standards-us.shtml.
  • Once the medical report form is completed, drivers should fax both sides of the report to the Medical Review Section at the number indicated on the form. Drivers should clearly indicate on the fax cover sheet the following words, “This request is for a Medical Confirmation Letter for a Class D licence holder operating in the United States”. Drivers are encouraged to keep the original medical report and fax confirmation for their records.
  • Please note that the ministry’s Medical Review Section commits to reviewing medical reports and confirming compliance or taking other action within 30 business days.  It is recommended that drivers who may be affected by this requirement submit their medical reports as soon as possible.
  • Drivers who submit a satisfactory medical report and who are deemed compliant with US law will receive a Medical Confirmation Letter from the ministry by regular mail to the address on their driving record. Drivers must carry the Medical Confirmation Letter as proof of medical fitness at all times while operating a commercial vehicle in the US.
    Affected drivers will be required to reapply for the Medical Confirmation Letter every:
    • 5 years for drivers 18 to 45 years of age;
    • 3 years for drivers 46 to 65 years of age;
    • 1 year for drivers 66 years of age or older
  • It is the driver’s responsibility to re-apply for a new Medical Confirmation Letter (as per the process outlined above) prior to the expiry of the Medical Confirmation Letter. The expiry date is clearly indicated on the medical confirmation letter from MTO.

Option 2

Upgrade an existing Class D licence to a higher licence class where regular medical reporting is required;

  • To upgrade your driver’s licence please visit http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/driver/truck-driver-licence.shtml#apply for details. This will provide you with information including what documents are required to upgrade and the fees associated with knowledge and road tests.
  • If you chose to upgrade your driver’s licence you will be required to file a medical report on application and as follows:
    • Every 5 years for drivers 18 to 45 years of age;
    • Every 3 years for drivers 46 to 65 years of age;
    • Every year for drivers 66 years of age or older

Option 3

Seek the services of a certified medical examiner in the US to be issued a medical certificate. For more information on this process please visit https://nationalregistry.fmcsa.dot.gov/NRPublicUI/home.seam.

Q6. What does the Ministry provide as proof of medical fitness?

If your medical report confirms that you meet the national medical standards for commercial drivers, the ministry will issue a Medical Confirmation Letter to you.

Where national medical standards are not met the ministry may request additional medical information or downgrade or suspend the driver’s licence.

Q7. What am I required to do with the medical confirmation letter?

Drivers who submit a satisfactory medical report and who are deemed compliant with US law will receive a Medical Confirmation Letter from the ministry. Drivers must carry the Medical Confirmation Letter as proof of medical fitness at all times while operating a commercial vehicle in the US.

Q8. How long is the medical confirmation letter valid for and do I need to reapply?

The expiry date will be clearly indicated on the Medical Confirmation Letter from the ministry.

It is the driver’s responsibility to re-apply for a new Medical Confirmation Letter prior to the expiry of the current letter. You will be required to reapply for a new medical confirmation letter by submitting a new medical report:

  • Every 5 years for drivers 18 to 45 years of age;
  • Every 3 years for drivers 46 to 65 years of age;
  • Every 1 year for drivers 66 years of age or older

Q9. How can someone who has been previously downgraded regain their commercial licence?

If you have been downgraded for failing to file your medical report you can submit the completed medical report form, within the medical reporting period applicable to your age (e.g. 46-64 - within 3 years from the licence downgrade, etc.), to a DriveTest centre.  Additional licensing requirements may apply.

DriveTest centres are located across Ontario and are able to process the majority of medical reports without noted medical conditions and upgrade the class of licence.  An individual may also choose to mail the medical form to the Driver Improvement Office for processing. For more information visit http://www.drivetest.ca/licences/drivers-licences-commercial.html

Q10. I recently up-graded my driver’s licence to a Class D and provided a medical report during that process. Am I still required to submit another medical report?

The ministry will consider a previously filed medical report if the examination date falls within the previous six months. However, because there are currently no requirements for on-going proof of medical fitness for Class D at some point you will still be required to select either Option 1, 2 or 3 as noted above should you wish to continue driving commercially in the US. Medical reports are required as follows:

  • Every 5 years for drivers 18 to 45 years of age;
  • Every 3 years for drivers 46 to 65 years of age;
  • Every year for drivers 66 years of age or older

To determine when your next medical report will be required please call 416-235-1773 or 1-800-268-1481 to speak with a Customer Service representative and have your file reviewed.

Q11. I recently moved to Ontario and provided a medical report when I exchanged my licence. Am I still required to submit another medical report?

See response to Question 9.

Q12. I have a medical waiver issued in 1977/78. Can I still drive commercially in the US?

Canadian drivers who meet national medical standards will be granted a Medical Confirmation Letter and will be able to continue to drive commercially in the US. In keeping with the requirements of the Canada/US Medical Reciprocity Agreement for Commercial Drivers, drivers with diabetes treated with insulin, epilepsy, or who are hearing or vision impaired are not qualified to drive commercially in the US. Furthermore, Canadian drivers who do not meet the national medical standards but who have been issued a waiver by a Canadian Provinces or Territories are also not qualified to drive commercially in the US. The ministry has previously identified these drivers and they have already been restricted to operating commercially in Canada only.

Q13. I only drive commercially in the US once or twice a year. Is a medical report still required?

Yes. A medical report will be required for all Ontario Class D drivers who drive commercially in the US. Failure to have proof of medical fitness (as established by choosing one of the options above) may result in the driver being subject to fines and/or be placed out-of-service by US enforcement officials.

Q14. I recently had to file a medical report due to a medical condition. Can I use this report as proof of medical fitness?

To determine if additional medical information is required please call 416-235-1773 or 1-800-268-1481 to speak with a Customer Service representative and have your file reviewed.

MISCELLANEOUS:

Q15. How will this impact a driver’s ability to work in the trucking industry?

For those who operate commercially in the US they must obtain proof of medical fitness (by choosing from the options noted above). Class D drivers will be required to provide proof of medical fitness if choosing Option 1 or Option 3.

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