08/02/2007

Regulation 555/06 “Hours of Service” of the Highway Traffic Act has been amended in response to concerns regarding municipal operations such as winter maintenance and important repair work.
The amendment has been made under Regulation 405/07 which provides an exemption from hours of service provisions in the following situations:

1. “A vehicle engaged in providing relief in an emergency, being a situation or impending situation that constitutes a danger of major proportions to life, property or the environment, whether caused by forces of nature, an accident, an intentional act or otherwise,” or

2. “A vehicle operated by or on behalf of a municipality, road authority or public utility while responding to a situation or impending situation that constitutes an imminent danger, though not one of major proportions, to life, property or the environment, whether caused by forces of nature, an accident, an intentional act or otherwise.”

Regulation 405/07 is available online. Its provisions are to be consolidated into Regulation 555/06 shortly.

Background:

Regulation 555/06 came into effect January 1, 2007. Intended to ensure that commercial drivers enjoy adequate rest periods, the new regulation also had an impact on drivers of municipal vehicles. Municipal snow removal activities were particularly affected by the regulation. AMO has been actively pressing the Province to provide an exemption from Regulation 555/06 for municipalities. 

This amendment provides flexibility for each municipality (in a manner the municipality deems appropriate) to determine whether a situation constitutes “an imminent danger…to life, property or the environment”. The Ministry of Transportation has agreed that this definition is sufficiently broad to include conditions such as snowfall, icy roads or a fallen power line. Under these circumstances, drivers are permitted to work as many hours as is necessary to resolve the situation. However, once the danger has passed, compliance with the regulation must be resumed and the driver must rest for a required period before operating a commercial vehicle.

The Ministry contact for additional information regarding this amendment and Hours of Service is Alf Brown, Carrier Enforcement Liaison Head, MTO, Tel : 905-704-2342, E-mail : Alf.Brown@ontario.ca