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CTA Lauds Legislation to Strengthen Canadian Vehicle Recall Process

The Canadian Trucking Alliance is pleased the federal government is adopting the Alliance’s recommendation that Ottawa strengthens how it manages vehicle recalls.

In 2015 the Canadian Trucking Alliance met with over 400 members from coast-to-coast to discuss the upcoming second phase of the green-house gas regulation. One of the leading issues discussed was the issue of equipment reliability and the ability of carriers to have these issues addressed.

In a recent white paper outlining how the Government of Canada should approach the Phase II GHG-reduction regulation and address equipment reliability issues for new model commercial vehicles, CTA suggested the integrity of Canada’s vehicle recall system needs to be reinforced. CTA says Transport Minister Marc Garneau’s legislation, Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians Act (Bill S-2), does just that.

“Bill S-2 will grant the federal transport minister new powers to order manufacturers and importers of the majority of power units and trailers sold in Canada to issue recall notices and order the correction of any issues of non-compliance, which the minister believes is in the interest of safety,” said CTA Senior VP Stephen Laskowski. “While that suggests the scope of the policy may be somewhat limited to matters of safety, this is a positive development for purchasers of heavy-duty trucking equipment.”

The bill proposes these new provisions be applied to any vehicle/equipment manufacturer whose product receives a national safety mark; anyone that sells a vehicle/equipment to which a national safety mark is applied; and/or imports any vehicle or equipment of a class for which standards are prescribed.

The MVSA or regulations do not specifically define what might be considered “in the interest of safety”, but, according to research conducted by Gowling WLG on behalf of CTA, a number of Transport Canada websites and publications provide guidance of what the Minister could consider when assessing whether certain equipment defects or matters of non-compliance falls under the definition of “interest of safety.”

“There are several factors at play here but it really comes down to a problem that occurs with little or no warning and is not due to everyday wear and tear, a lack of maintenance, or negligence by the owner,” says added Laskowski. “This definition appears to be limited in scope to defects that directly endanger the safety of a person, rather than defects that cause some indirect safety-related issue.”

Transport Canada has developed the above definition, through various examples, which could likely determine a future policy position where safety related defects bear a quality of immediacy or sudden risk to the safety of a person.  Previous policy in this area also seems to indicate that a safety defect is not one that develops gradually, over time.

CTA will be working with Transport Canada to further clarify the full scope of the recall provisions when the bill is passed.

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