Manitoba legislation targets ‘chameleon carriers’

Manitoba is looking to target “chameleon carriers” — businesses that close and re-open under a different name rather than addressing safety issues — by assigning “conditional” safety ratings to operations thought to be doing that very thing.

Current rules don’t allow the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure to refuse to issue a safety certificate under such circumstances.

New carriers must identify a certified compliance officer and submit a safety plan before being issued a safety fitness certificate. Existing carriers with a “conditional” safety rating must certify a compliance officer within 180 days.

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(Photo: istock)

The government has proposed related changes to the Highway Traffic Amendment Act (Heavy Vehicle Safety) to ensure a level playing field for ethical operators with a strong safety culture, Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Doyle Piwniuk said in a press release.

“The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure’s highest priority is safety on Manitoba’s roadways,” he said. “We are continuing to take concrete actions to address the recommendations of the Office of the Auditor General’s 2019 report into the oversight of commercial vehicle safety. Ensuring the safety of Manitoba’s commercial motor carriers improves safety for all Manitobans.”

Piwniuk added that, to ensure fairness for operators, changes also include provisions for appealing decisions to the Licence Suspension Appeal Board.

MTA support

The Manitoba Trucking Association (MTA) applauded the government move.

“Carriers with compliance issues should not simply be able to close their doors and re-open under a new name with a new safety fitness certificate,” MTA executive director Aaron Dolyniuk told “That history should follow them when trying to start up a new trucking company.” 

The amendments specifically target unsafe carriers and will have minimal impact on carriers that comply with safety regulations and have satisfactory on-road performance, the government said.

In 2022, Manitoba updated its motor carrier safety rating framework to align with National Safety Code Standard 14 and introduced stronger provisions for safety fitness certificate renewals. Further updates to the Safety Fitness Criteria and Certificates Regulation have strengthened safety requirements for Manitoba-based motor carriers, it added.

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