Update: Implementation Date of AZ License Restriction for Automatic Transmissions

OTA and industry stakeholders were provided an update by the Ministry of Transportation’s plans of changing the implementation date for the Class A Manual Transmission Restriction.

MTO has changed the implementation date from July 19, 2021 to July 1, 2022, to ensure that all truck driver training schools are ready to transition to manual training if they so choose, and to adequately prepare students of truck driver training schools for their road tests.

Effective July 1, 2022, individuals completing the Class A or Class A restricted (AR) road test in a vehicle with an automatic transmission, including semi-automatic and automated-manual transmissions, will be restricted from operating Class A/AR vehicles with a manual transmission and only permitted to operate automatic, semi-automatic and automated-manual transmission Class A/AR vehicles. This restriction will be added to their driver record and will appear on the front of the driver’s licence card as “REST/COND G” and “Restr Class/Categ. Avec restr” on the back of the card. The restriction applies to Class A/AR only and will not apply when operating lower-class vehicles (e.g., Class G/D).

For regulatory and enforcement purposes, a motor vehicle has a manual transmission if it is equipped with,

(a) a driver-operated clutch that is activated by a pedal or lever; and

(b) a driver-operated gear-shift mechanism that is operated by hand or foot and does not use the assistance of automation.

A a semi-automatic transmission or an automated-manual transmission is not considered to be a manual transmission.

New Class A/AR applicants will continue to have the option to attempt their Class A /AR road test with any type of transmission. If individuals wish to operate manual transmission Class A/AR vehicles or wish to remove the Class A/AR manual transmission restriction,

they must pass the Class A/AR road test in a vehicle with a manual transmission. For road test purposes, a manual transmission must consist of at least eight forward gears with a high-low range.

Once the road test is passed, these individuals will be permitted to operate Class A/AR vehicles with manual, automatic, semi-automatic or automated-manual transmissions and they will not have a restriction added to their driver’s licence.

Individuals who hold a Class A /AR licence prior to July 1, 2022 may continue to drive Class A/AR automatic, semi-automatic, automated-manual or manual transmission vehicles. However, if Class A/AR holders are required to complete a Class A /AR road test as of July 1, 2022 (e.g., Ministry-Required Testing) and complete the road test in an automatic, semi-automatic or automated-manual transmission vehicle, the restriction will be added to their driver’s record and driver’s licence.

Individuals that fail to comply with the Class A manual transmission restriction will be in contravention of section 32(9) of the Highway Traffic Act, which makes it an offence for a driver to fail to comply with a licence condition. Section 32(10.1) makes it an offence for an owner to permit a driver to drive a vehicle contrary to a licence condition.

Training providers continue to have the option to deliver training using their existing vehicles and are not required to alter their current training programs.

The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) has no objections to this extension. The majority of the tractor-trailer market – and much of OTA’s membership which moves the lion’s share of the province’s domestic and export destined freight – is made up of trucks spec’d with automatic transmissions. Based on feedback from fleets and truck manufacturers, over 90% of the sales in the tractor trailer market are automatic transmissions and have been for some time. Based on these sales figures and the general movement of the industry towards automatic transmissions, newly minted AZ drivers should not find it a challenge to their employment status to find a fleet with automatic transmissions. Based on this market based and operational reality, the impact of the MTO policy change, and its associated implementation date change, is expected to have an extremely limited to no impact on the OTA carrier membership.

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