Frequently Asked Questions


Annual, Semi-Annual and Safety Standards Certificate Inspections


    1. When do I use the National Safety Standard Inspection and for which vehicle types?

    2. What vehicles need to be inspected under the National Standard?

    3. How often does a vehicle need to be inspected?

    4. Can I do a complete inspection of my bus, accessible vehicle or school purpose vehicle including a brake
      inspection including removal of the wheels every six months?


    5. What do the different weight terms mean?

    6. What vehicles do not require annual or semi-annual inspections?

    7. How much does an inspection cost?

    8. Where can I get my vehicle inspected?

    9. Am I required to have my vehicle repaired at the MVIS where the initial inspection was completed?

    10. Where can I get more information about the changes to the inspection?

    11. Where can I find specific rules for Ontario?

    12. Is there any other legislation that applies to the inspection and maintenance of a large truck, trailer or bus?

    13. Have the annual and semi-annual stickers changed?

    14. Can I use the old annual and semi-annual stickers I have already ordered?

    15. How can a Motor Vehicle Inspection Station get updated information on the National Safety Code 11 Part B?

    16. I am NOT associated with a registered Motor Vehicle Inspection Station, how can I get a copy of the National Standard?

    17. If I have a question about the standard what should I do?

    18. I need a Safety Standards Certificate for my 4,000 kg pick-up truck and I don’t know if I will use a trailer. Can I get an annual sticker anyway?

    19. Do wheels and brake components need to be removed to complete an inspection of the internal brake components?

    20. Are there provisions to limit the inspection of the internal brake components if the brakes were recently serviced or inspected?

    21. What documentation is required regarding a proof of brake inspection?

1. When do I use the National Safety Standard Inspection and for which vehicles types?

The National Standard is used for the following inspections for trucks, trailers, converter dollies, buses, accessible vehicles and school purpose vehicles:

  • Safety Standard Inspections
  • Annual Inspections
  • Semi-Annual Inspections

Annual Inspection and Safety Standards Certificate (SSC):

  • Trucks, trailers and converter dollies alone or in combination with a total gross weight, registered gross weight or manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating exceeding 4,500 kilograms (kg),

Annual Inspection, Semi-annual Inspection and Safety Standards Certificate:

  • Buses designed for 10 or more passengers excluding those with a manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating of 4,500 kg or less used exclusively for personal use,
  • Accessible vehicles are those vehicles modified to be used for the purpose of transporting persons with disabilities, excluding those used only for personal purposes, and
  • School purposes vehicles operating under contract with a school board or other authority in charge of a school being used for the transportation of six or more children or adults with a developmental disability.

2. What vehicles need to be inspected under the National Standard?

Annual Inspection and Safety Standars Certificate (SSC):

Trucks, trailers and converter dollies alone or in combination with a total gross weight, registered gross weight or manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating exceeding 4,500 kilograms (kg),

"Truck" includes, but is not limited to truck tractors, straight trucks, pickup trucks, curb side/cube vans, trade vans/panel trucks, and passenger vans and two and four wheel drive sport utility vehicles while being used to transport cargo, other than personal effects, with one or more of the vehicle's rear seats removed. This applies regardless of how the vehicle is plated, e.g., car, truck or farm plated.

"Trailer" means a vehicle that is at any time drawn upon a highway by a motor vehicle, except an implement of husbandry, a mobile home, another motor vehicle or any device or apparatus not designed to transport persons or property, temporarily drawn, propelled or moved upon such highway, and except a side car attached to a motorcycle, and shall be considered a separate vehicle and not part of the motor vehicle by which it is drawn.

"Trailer converter dolly" means a device consisting of one or more axles, a fifth wheel lower-half and a tow bar.

Trailers include, but is not limited to boat, snowmobile, livestock, and general purpose utility trailers. "Trailer" does not include devices such as tar pots, portable welders, cement mixers, compressors, farm implements such as farm wagons, etc.

Annual Inspection, Semi-Annual Inspection and Safety Standars Certificate (SSC):

"Bus", any motor vehicle designed for the transportation of 10 or more passengers excluding the driver; e.g. passenger van, limousine, motor coach, school bus, etc. Buses with a manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating of 4,500 kg or less used exclusively for personal use are exempt from the annual and semi-annual inspections.

"Accessible Vehicle", any vehicle that has been modified for the purpose of transporting persons with disabilities whether or not the vehicle is also used for transporting persons without disabilities, excluding those used exclusively for personal use; e.g. this could include a, mini-van, passenger van or taxi that has been modified for accessibility.

"School Purposes Vehicles" any vehicle operating under contract with a school board or other authority in charge of a school being used for the transportation of six or more children or adults with a developmental disability; e.g. this could include any vehicle including school buses.

3. How often does a vehicle need to be inspected?

Trucks, Trailers and Converted Dollies - Annual Inspection

  • Annual inspection is completed as per the requirements in the National Standard;
  • A yellow annual inspection sticker is applied to a truck on the lower left hand side of the windshield or conspicuous position on the left side of the vehicle and a trailer on the front left hand side indicating the month and year the inspection was completed;
  • All other Ontario inspection stickers are covered or removed;
  • The inspection is valid until the end of the 12th month after inspection.

Bus, Accessible and School Purposes Vehicles – Annual and Semi-Annual Inspections

  • Annual inspection is completed as per the requirements in the National Standard;
  • A yellow annual inspection sticker is applied to the lower right hand side of the windshield or conspicuous position on the left side of the vehicle indicating the month and year the inspection was completed;
  • All other Ontario annual inspection stickers are covered or removed;
  • The inspection is valid for 6 months without a semi-annual inspection sticker and 12 months with a semi-annual inspection sticker;
  • Six months later a semi-annual inspection is complete without the requirement of an internal brake inspection;
  • An orange inspection sticker is applied indicating the month and year the inspection was completed and applied along side the yellow sticker;
  • The inspection is valid until the end of the 6th month after inspection.

Safety Standard Certificates (SSC) are required when:

  • registering a salvage motor vehicle that has been rebuilt to prove compliance with the inspection requirements;
  • transferring a used motor vehicle to a new owner as fit;
  • registering a motor vehicle in Ontario that was previously registered in another province or country;
  • changing the status of a vehicle from unfit to fit.

The National Standard inspection criteria will be used for trucks, trailers, converter dollies, buses, accessible vehicles and school purpose vehicles as described in question 2 above. Vehicles that do not meet these definitions will continue to be inspected as per the schedules in regulation 611 "Safety Inspections".

4. Can I do a complete inspection of my bus, accessible vehicle or school purpose vehicle including a brake inspection including removal of the wheels every six months?

Yes, you may choose to complete the full National Standard inspection as part of regular maintenance of your vehicle.

If you choose to complete the full annual inspection every six months you can apply an annual inspection sticker (yellow sticker) as it is valid for six months without a semi-annual inspection sticker.

5. What do the different weight terms mean?

Registered Gross Weight (RGW)

The RGW determines the fee paid for a truck or bus licence plates. RGW is based on, and must be at least equal to the actual weight of the truck and its heaviest load or in the case of a bus the empty weight of the bus plus 60 kg per passenger (40 kg per passenger for school buses) based on the seating capacity of the bus. Generally the weight of a towed trailer and its heaviest load are added to the RGW of the truck. Load includes the driver, passengers, fuel, equipment, tools, etc. A trailer does not have a RGW.

The RGW is indicated on the right portion (plate portion) of a truck's or bus’ permit, to the right of "REG. GROSS WT" and is in kilograms. One kilogram equals 2.204 pounds and one pound equals 0.4536 kilograms.

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)

The GVWR of a vehicle is a weight rating established by the manufacturer that indicates the maximum gross weight that the vehicle is designed for and includes the empty weight of the vehicle with the maximum payload. The GVWR of a vehicle is stated on the manufacturer’s federal compliance label – usually on the driver’s door or door post on a truck or on the left side near the front on trailers.

Gross Weight

The Gross Weight of a vehicle is the actually weight of the vehicle as would be determined by weighing the entire vehicle and its load on a weigh scale.

6. What vehicles do not require annual or semi-annual inspections?

1. A motor vehicle commonly known as a recreational vehicle or a motor home, other than a motor vehicle:

  • Carrying commercial cargo or tools or equipment of a type normally used for commercial purposes; or
  • Carrying animals or non-commercial tools, equipment or vehicles that occupy one-half or more of its floor space.

2. A house trailer, other than a house trailer:

  • Owned or leased by an employer to house the employer’s employee;
  • Carrying commercial cargo, tools or equipment of a type normally used for commercial purposes; or
  • Carrying animals or non-commercial tools, equipment or vehicles that occupy one-half or more of its floor space

Note: a "house trailer" includes a cabin trailer, collapsible cabin trailer, tent trailer and camping trailer.

3. Devices such as tar pots, portable welders, cement mixers, compressors, farm implements such as farm wagons, etc.

4. Bus with a GVWR of 4,500 kg or less used exclusively for personal use.

5. An empty commercial vehicle that is being operated by a manufacturer or vehicle dealer who has obtained a "special Permit" for a 10 day period as per the requirements under the HTA Regulation 628 "Vehicle Permits" does not require a sticker.

7. How much does an inspection cost?

The ministry does not govern the cost of inspections or repairs. It might, therefore, be beneficial to compare prices and service at different locations.

8. Where can I get my vehicle inspected?

You can have your vehicle inspected at a Ministry of Transportation licensed Motor Vehicle Inspection Station (MVIS). There are approximately 13,500 stations across Ontario, just look for the green and white sign that says "Ontario Motor Vehicle Inspection Station". MTO does not make recommendations regarding the choice of Motor Vehicle Inspection Stations to perform inspections. The choice is yours.

9. Am I required to have my vehicle repaired at the MVIS where the initial inspection was completed?

No, but if you do not wish to incur any additional inspection fees you must return the vehicle to the station for re-inspection of the repaired items and issuance of the safety standards certificate, annual or semi-annual inspection sicker. In this case, no additional fee will be charged for re-inspection, providing that the wheel brake assemblies do not have to be inspected a second time.

NOTE: The vehicle must be returned to the MVIS within 10 calendar days with the specified defects repaired to qualify for re-inspection at no charge.


10. Where can I get more information about the changes to the inspection?

There are several resources to learn more about the inspection requirements:

  • Legislation and Regulations on line at e-Laws.
  • Ontario guidelines, customizations and other helpful tools are available on the MTO Internet site.

11. Where can I find specific rules for Ontario?

The National Standard has been adopted through Regulation 611 under the Highway Traffic Act. Any modifications or for Ontario are outlined in the regulation.

All Ontario regulations can be accessed on line at e-Laws or the following link: http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/regs/english/elaws_regs_900611_e.htm. There is a summary of the Ontario Modifications to the National Standard on the MTO website Ontario's customizations.


12. Is there any other legislation that applies to the inspection and maintenance of a large truck, trailer or bus?

For more information on road safety please refer to the MTO website or review the following legislation and Regulations all other regulatory requirements and vehicle / safety standards continue to apply including but not limited to:

13. Have the annual and semi-annual stickers changed?

Yes.

Annual Inspection – There have been minor wording changes to the annual inspection sticker (yellow) and the annual inspection certificate to match the amendments to Regulation 611.

Semi-Annual Inspection – There have been changes to the semi-annual inspection sticker (orange) to match the annual inspection:

  • Wording has changed to replace "physically-disabled passenger vehicle" with "accessible vehicle"
  • Semi-annual inspections will require a semi-annual certificate to be completed in triplicate in the same format as the annual inspection requirements.
  • New stickers ordered from MTO will have the wording changes and both annual and semi-annual inspections will have a certificate to be complete in full. There are three copies of the semi-annual and annual inspection certificate to be kept for one year after inspection; one to remain in the vehicle, one for the carrier’s files and one for the MVIS records.

DO NOT return old stickers to the ministry. In order to reduce waste both the ministry and the MVIS location will continue to use the stickers and certificates they have in stock and they will be considered valid and accepted by enforcement staff.

When the ministry has depleted its stock of annual and semi-annual inspection stickers you will start receiving the new design with your new orders.

Order forms for MVIS locations can be found on the MTO internet site under Trucks and Buses or at the following link: http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/vehicle/mvis/

14. Can I use the old annual and semi-annual stickers I have already ordered?

Yes.

DO NOT return old stickers to the ministry. In order to reduce waste both the ministry and the MVIS location will continue to use the stickers and certificates they have in stock and they will be considered valid and accepted by enforcement staff. When the ministry has depleted its stock of annual and semi-annual inspection stickers you will start receiving the new design with your new orders.

15. How can licensed Motor Vehicle Inspection Stations get updated information on the National Safety Code 11 Part B?

The Ministry issued a letter requesting contact information for MVIS locations that inspect the affected vehicles. A registration form was attached to the letter to be returned to MTO and a package of information will be sent to the address provided. The information package including a free copy of the National Standard will be sent after MTO confirms the recipient is a MVIS licensee.

16. I am NOT associated with a Motor Vehicle Inspection Station, how can I get a copy of the National Standard?

The Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA) publishes the National Standard. A copy of the standard can be purchased from CCMTA: http://www.ccmta.ca/english/producstandservices/publications/publications.cfm

17. If I have a question about the standard what should I do?

There are several tools made available on the MTO internet site to help industry transition to the use of the National Standard. These include: comparison chart of changes, technicians’ activities lists, Ontario Guidelines, Ontario’s customizations, and sample inspection records.

If you still have questions please contact your local regional or area MTO Office and they will assist you with specific questions.

18. I need a Safety Standards Certificate for my 4,000 kg pick-up truck and I don’t know if I will use a trailer. Can I get an annual sticker anyway?

Yes

Although the vehicle may not currently required to have an annual inspection you may choose to have a safety standards certificate inspection completed to the National Standard and receive an annual inspection sticker in anticipation of requiring it in the future for other reasons.

19. Do wheels and brake components need to be removed to complete an inspection of the internal brake components?

The National Standard requires, in the case of drum type brakes, that internal brake components be inspected by either removal of the brake drum or the removal of the dust shields. In the case of disc type brakes it is necessary to remove the wheel and disassemble brake components unless the manufacturer's service instructions allow for inspection without such disassemble.

In most cases where a brake assembly utilizes rigid backing plates, it is not possible to do a proper inspection of the internal brake components without removing the wheel and brake drum assemblies.

In all cases when an indication of defect(s) of any wheel brake components is found during an inspection, the defective brake must be disassembled as required for repairs and further inspection.

As well, every inspection must include measuring and recording the brake lining thickness and the internal diameter of the brake diameter or the thickness of a disc brake rotor.

20. Are there provisions to limit the inspection of the internal brake components if the brakes were recently serviced or inspected?

In the case of brakes with rigid backing plates it is permissible to inspect the internal brake components exclusively through an inspection hole in the backing plate if there is proof and documentation that the internal brake components have been properly inspected by a licensed MVIS mechanic within the preceding 24 months. In the case of disc type brakes it is permissible to forego the removal or disassembly of brake components during the inspection if there is proof and documentation that the internal brake components have been properly inspected by a licensed MVIS mechanic within the preceding 24 months.

The proof and documentation required above must comply with that prescribed in the National Standard.

Even in cases where an exemption applies it is still necessary to measure and record the brake lining thickness and internal diameter of the brake drum or disc brake rotor as the case may be. This requirement in many cases will limit the ability to utilize this exemption.

Buses, accessible vehicles and school purpose vehicles are not eligible for this exemption in Ontario. For more information please refer to sections 3 Hydraulic Brake System and 3A Air Brake of the National Standard truck and trailer sections.

21. What documentation is required regarding a proof of brake inspection?

Inspection of the internal brake components exclusively through the inspection holes is permitted only when all of the following conditions are met:

  • The owner / operator of the truck or trailer must provide proof of an internal brake inspection has been completed on the vehicle by a registered MVIS mechanic within the previous 24 months. The proof must include:
    • Date of inspection (must be completed within the previous 24 months);
    • Odometer reading;
    • Vehicle identification number;
    • Authorized inspector’s name and signature (registered MVIS mechanic);
    • Evidence that the brake drum was removed and all internal components were free of defects;
    • If new brake shoe lining and/or brake drums were installed, the document must show them as new; and
    • If used brake shoe lining and/or brake drums are installed or re-installed, the document must show the measurements of internal diameter of the brake drum and the thickness of the thinnest brake shoe lining.