Ontario marks new year with new HoS rules

By: James Menzies
TORONTO, Ont. -- While several provinces will hold off adopting the new federal Hours-of-Service rules, Ontario will be implementing the new rules on January 1, the province has confirmed.

Drivers who run interprovincially as well as those who operate strictly within Ontario will have to comply with the new rules beginning Monday. No charges can be laid under the current HoS regulations, as they will be repealed on Jan. 1.

The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) says an enforcement strategy has been developed, which will be posted for OTA members on its Web site. The enforcement strategy has not yet been publicized, but the province is expected to focus on “educational enforcement” until June 30, 2007.

Drivers should know that if they are in violation of the current rules, they will most likely also be violating the new Hours-of-Service rules and charges may be laid. Drivers will also be charged if they fail to carry a log, falsify a log or use more than one logbook. Existing logbooks will be acceptable, provided drivers jot down the location of their home terminal as well as the cycle they are operating on.

The OTA reports the Ministry of Transportation will allow a driver to be on-duty more than 60 hours in seven days and 70 hours in eight days, by using the 70 hours in seven days provision in the new rules. Drivers can also use the 36-hour reset provision.

Drivers caught driving 16 hours after coming on-duty will be placed out-of-service by the MTO, but no charges will be laid during the educational enforcement period.

In April, 2007 the MTO plans to fully enforce the new regulations, with the exception of the requirement for a carrier to keep a record of the driver’s duty status for drivers that operate within 160 kms. That rule will be enforced when the MTO moves to full enforcement July 1, 2007.

Outside Ontario, there are various implementation strategies. PEI and Newfoundland are following Ontario’s steps and enforcing the new rules beginning Monday. The other provinces will enforce the new rules: Feb. 1 in Nova Scotia and the Yukon; March 1 in B.C., Manitoba, New Brunswick and Quebec; Apr. 1 in Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories; and at a date to be determined in Alberta.

All federally-regulated carriers will have to comply with the new rules Jan. 1.