Commercial Vehicle Operators’ Safety Manual

Driver Qualification File

The Ministry of Transportation recommends that an operator set up an individual qualification file for each driver. A checklist of required and recommended documentation can be attached to the cover of each file, to assist the operator in maintaining up-to-date information. The operator should set up and keep files on each person authorized to drive their vehicles. This is to ensure that a driver is qualified and continues to be qualified to operate a commercial vehicle. The file should contain at least the following:

  • Application for employment and employment history
  • Collision and violation disclosures
  • Driver record (abstract)
  • Annual review of driver fitness
  • Corrective disciplinary action
  • Certificates of dangerous-goods training
  • Record of training by driver
  1. Application for Employment and Employment History

    The driver’s completed application for employment, plus a complete employment history for at least three years immediately before the time the driver started working for the operator, are suggested.

  2. Single Driver Licence Disclosure

    A driver is not allowed to hold more than one valid driver’s licence issued by any jurisdiction at any one time. To be hired by the operator, the driver should disclose the name of each province/ territory in Canada or U.S. state/district/ territory where he or she is licensed; the class of licence held; whether or not that licence has been suspended; and the name in which each driver's licence has been issued. While employed with the operator, the driver must also disclose, without delay, any suspensions, cancellation, prohibition or change in classification of the licence.

    The operator should ensure that drivers only operate vehicles allowed by their licence class, conditions and endorsements.

  3. Disclosure of Collisions – Scored in a Facility Audit

    A driver hired by an operator to drive a commercial vehicle shall immediately indicate to the operator, in writing, all details of collisions – and that, as a result of the collision:
    1. No one was injured
    2. No one died
    3. The apparent cost to repair property damage was less than $2,000
    All other collisions must be reported to a peace officer.

    When a driver tells the operator about a collision, the operator should include this information in the driver’s qualification file.
    All collisions in which the driver has been involved should be reported to the operator. These include collisions that occur in private vehicles, as well as the operator's vehicles.
    Operators should keep records of all collisions, conduct evaluations and take corrective action.

  4. Disclosure of Violations – Scored in a Facility Audit

    Any driver of commercial vehicles should report any and all convictions resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle to the operator. This should be done in writing at the time of the conviction.

    When a driver reports a conviction, the operator should keep the report for the current year and retain reports for four years, if applicable. Operators should review each violation, and document all corrective action.

  5. Driver Abstract – Scored in a Facility Audit

    Drivers should be required to provide the operator with a current driver abstract, or sign a release form allowing the operator to obtain the abstract.

    The operator should get a driving abstract within 30 days of the employment start date, and at least every year after that. The operator should set up an internal process to make sure that abstracts are obtained.

  6. Annual Review of Driver Fitness

    Before hiring a driver and for every year after that, the operator should review the driving abstract and decide whether or not the driver is fit to drive according to company policy. The operator should record the review in the driver qualification file.

    A copy of the driver’s current medical certificate must also be filed. Alternatively, an operator could satisfy this requirement if the driver’s file contained a copy of the employee’s valid driver’s licence and/or a current copy of the driver’s abstract.

    The review can range in scope from a formal employee-appraisal interview to a dated and signed statement of the driver abstract. The review should include the date and a written confirmation by the operator that the driver is fit to continue driving. This document should be signed by the operator representative who conducted the driver evaluation and by the person who approved the driver’s fitness.

  7. Progressive Discipline

    The operator should have a program of progressive discipline for company personnel who violate hours of service and other regulations. The program must be consistent with federal and provincial legislation.

    The policy and the discipline procedure should be outlined, listing the steps up to, and including, termination. For example, this could be a four-step process involving a verbal warning, a written warning, a suspension and termination.

    The operator should record each event and be sure that:
    • The employees know each step of the policy.
    • As each step of the policy is enforced, the employee is notified in writing of the next step.
    • If the violation happens again, the employee is notified.
    • The policy is enforced in a consistent manner.

  8. Certificate of Dangerous Goods Training – Scored in a Facility Audit

    Every driver who transports dangerous goods must possess a valid certificate of training in the handling of them. This must be issued by the current employer. In Canada, the certificate of training is valid for a maximum of three years.

    Every employer who issues a certificate of training shall keep a copy of it in the driver’s file for a period of at least two years longer than the expiry date of that certificate.

Recommended Additional Documentation

In addition to the required documents outlined previously, the Ministry of Transportation suggests that the operator keep the following information in the driver qualification files:

  • Road test
  • Examinations or other supporting documentation used to train and evaluate staff
  • Alcohol and drug-testing records (drug testing is not a requirement for operators who operate in Ontario)
  • Records of drivers’ collisions and convictions
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