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Last week, after 8 years and several rounds of formal and informal consultations, the Ontario Government introduced legislation to end economic regulation of the motor coach industry by repealing the Public Vehicles Act and disbanding the Ontario Highway Transport Board effective July 1, 2021.
Subsequent to the introduction of the Bill, OMCA had the opportunity to discuss the government’s plan for repealing the PV Act with MTO.
The process going forward is to pass the legislation repealing the PV Act this fall, develop any necessary regulations under the HTA to deal with safety issues over the winter/spring, and implement the change July 1, 2021.
repeal of the PV Act is part of an omnibus “Red Tape Reduction” Bill and will
therefore have priority in the government’s legislative agenda. While MTO staff
didn’t say this, OMCA’s assessment is that it will likely pass before Christmas
(in fact it pretty much has to in order to allow the government to have time to
develop regulations to meet the July 1 implementation date for the various
items included in the Bill).
MTO recognizes that it needs to ensure that repealing economic regulation and eliminating the OHTB does not in any way undermine the safety regulations for the industry. While safety regulations generally reside in the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) not the PV Act and are therefore unaffected by this change, the PV Act does have a regulation dealing with safety issues (Reg.982) that may have provisions that MTO will make sure don’t get lost with the elimination of economic regulation by harmonizing them with the HTA regulations.
Further, MTO is interested in talking about what other safety measures should be implemented at this time. Perhaps increasing insurance minimums, bringing in compliance audits for new CVOR holders, etc. They are even open to discussing dealing with the ride share service vehicles that currently operate outside the current safety regulations. But they were clear that this is an opportunity to strengthen the safety regime if changes to regs are required.
So they are not planning on just ensuring that no safety measures are lost, they are interested in having discussions about enhancing the safety regulations where it makes sense to do so. They indicated that they will be reaching out for consultations on this point very shortly.
The refreshed safety regulations will have to be by spring to meet the announced implementation date of July 1, 2021.
As always, OMCA will continue to monitor events closely and keep members apprised of events as they progress.