The Auditor General of Ontario has highlighted several key areas to advance road safety and improve trucking industry compliance in the Annual Auditor General’s report, namely increased oversight and effective enforcement on the small contingent of unsafe, non-compliant operators expanding throughout the industry.
The findings of the report by Auditor General of Ontario, Bonnie Lysyk, echo the sentiments made by OTA in early November regarding the need to modernize truck safety and enforcement in the province, which was further highlighted through the development of a comprehensive blueprint made to tackle this issue by the Ministry of Transportation (MTO). MTO has initiated a 24-month consultative process that OTA believes will conclude in the creation of a historic, first-of-its kind truck safety plan, which the association feels will address the concerns of the Auditor General.
The report focused on several issues that OTA has been actively advocating for and is currently working to resolve in partnership with MTO, which will help improve road safety and enforcement on poor operators in Ontario including:
- Increasing On-Road Enforcement: An increase in the number of officers with more focused enforcement being done to target non-compliant carriers. This may include more truck inspection stations, the use of mobile inspections, the expansion of the use of pre-clearance and scale technology targeted at trucking companies that exhibit a poor track record related to safety.
- Commercial Vehicle Operators Registration (CVOR) Review: Developing a method to identify fleets that misrepresent their number of kilometers travelled within the province used to calculate safety ratings. OTA has expressed concerns to MTO about this issue, and MTO has committed to reviewing this process over the course of the next 24 months.
- Improving Motor Vehicle Inspection Station Programs (MVIS): Both the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) and MTO announced a joint partnership in the recently-announced Red Tape Reduction bill, as well as a program that supports completing both annual emission and safety tests at one time. Further program updates will introduce changes for MVIS stations to produce one digital record. This move will also address high-risk MVIS garages which issue safety certificates for commercial vehicles.
- Facility Audits: The report reaffirms OTA’s stance that more needs to be done regarding facility audits, specifically, having more audits done on carriers that exhibit clear signs of non-compliant behaviour with truck safety, labour and other related areas of their business. OTA continues to work in partnership with MTO on developing a plan which will be complete in the next several months.
- Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT): The report highlights the need to continue to improve MELT standards, specifically the notion of Advanced Standing. OTA supports the idea of Advanced Standing and will continue to work with members of industry, training schools and the government to ensure that the system is being used properly moving forward.
“MTO has a holistic and visionary plan to tackle truck safety that will effectively address the concerns outlined by the Auditor General. OTA looks forward to continuing to work with MTO on developing and executing this plan as quickly as possible over the next several months,” says Stephen Laskowski, president, OTA. “Ontario’s commercial trucks are the safest vehicles in North America, but in order to continue to progress further, we must focus enforcement resources on the underbelly of our industry, which has little regard for compliance.”