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December 1 deadline to comment on Transport Canada’s proposed program to issue tickets for Hours of Service “contraventions”

Photo: Mike Murchison

Transport Canada (TC) is proposing that enforcement officers be empowered to issue tickets to violators of the Commercial Vehicle Drivers Hours of Service Regulations. A short consultation on the proposal is being conducted now, with a December 1, 2022 deadline. Interested parties can visit the TC webpage to submit their thoughts at this link.

The proposed changes would see Transport Canada label certain provisions of the Commercial Vehicle Drivers Hours of Service Regulations as “contraventions.” It would be deemed a “contravention” when someone violates a regulation. Tickets would range in amount from $300 to $2,000.

“If they were serious about reducing violations, they would open more weigh scales along the Trans-Canada,” notes Travis McDougall of Truckers for Safer Highways. “I can drive from the Manitoba border to North Bay without finding an open scale. Is Transport Canada planning on hiring more enforcement officers?”

“Tickets are also a more efficient tool for enforcement officers since they allow officers to focus on other critical duties,” TC’s website states. “Allowing enforcement officers to issue tickets to violators will help enforce the Commercial Vehicle Drivers Hours of Service Regulations. An offender receiving a ticket would be able to plead guilty and pay the fine without needing to appear in court. Transport Canada believes this will ease pressures on the courts and make systems more efficient and cost-effective.”

McDougall questions the idea that drivers will want to pay a $300 ticket without going to court: “I would go to court to fight it. Most drivers would. The biggest question is whether these violations will mean demerit points.”

Road Warrior News contacted Transport Canada to ask whether tickets proposed by the new system would include demerit points against a driver’s license. It appears that this issue be decided by individual provinces should this proposal become operational.

“The ticket is not based on a demerit system. The demerit systems are a provincial and territorial jurisdiction,” Sau Sau Liu, Transport Canada Senior Communications Advisor  responded in an email on November 22nd. “The proposed fines for a driver range from $300-$1,000 and the proposed fines for motor carriers range between $600-$2,000. Although the provisions apply to both individuals and motor carriers, the department is proposing that fines are double for motor carriers compared to individuals. If an individual is both a driver and a motor carrier, they could be subject to pay the applicable fine as driver and the applicable fine as motor carrier.”

As to hiring additional enforcement officers, Liu notes that “Given the shared jurisdiction for commercial vehicle safety, Hours of Service enforcement continues to be conducted by Provinces and Territories for both federal and provincial carriers. Transport Canada provides funding for the enforcement of federal carriers through the Road Safety Transfer Payment Program (RSTPP) for a consistent implementation of the national safety code framework across all jurisdictions.”

Contraventions in the proposed program would fall into one of three categories:

Minor contraventions: administrative and minor record keeping contraventions

Moderate contraventions: on-duty/drive limitations, off-duty requirements; more serious record keeping contraventions that increase risk; contraventions that hamper compliance monitoring by the motor carrier or effective enforcement

Severe contraventions: tampering, falsification or obstruction contraventions; most serious record keeping contraventions that prevent effective enforcement; and most serious on-duty/drive limitations and rest requirement contraventions