Canadian Contractor

Smokey bear returns and bites again: Part 2

If you are driving a commercial vehicle or truck, the consequences for having an expired license sticker can be severe. Once the Ministry of Transport inspector gets you pulled over by the side of the road, you are going to get a lesson on all the hundreds of rules and regulations for commercial vehicles, many of which you may not know about. And it can cost you thousands of dollars in fines.

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August 13, 2013 by Alec Caldwell

Last November, I wrote an article called Smokey Bear lies in wait about our uniformed friends at the Ministry of Transportation who are basically equipment safety cops for commercial trucks. Well, these Smokey Bears are still watching you, Mr. Contractor, ready to fine you if your vehicle is not compliant with regulations; and if you are totally out of line with regulations, they’re going to confiscate your vehicle.

A few days ago, I saw an unlucky home service vehicle and crew pulled over at the side of the road near Whitby. They had been caught in the bear’s trap. After inspection, it was simply how fast the tow truck would arrive. They were on their way to a moving job at a homeowner’s home, no different than any electrician, home renovator or anyone else going to a job. Suddenly they’re unemployed and, who knows, could possibly lose the job they thought they would be getting paid for that night. Not a great way to build a reputation.

No matter what province you are reading this in, Ministry of Transportation or Department of Transportation inspectors have a pretty simple job. They are looking to  pull people over and inspect their vehicles and trailers for infractions right down to missing license stickers. Don’t think these fines are minor, either. One of our CARAHS members got pulled over in Toronto recently. A sticker missing on his trailer, the reason for him being pulled over, lead to a total of $3,000 in total fines. Ouch!

The requirements on commercial vehicles relating to the construction industry can also apply to parking, safety inspections, licensing and safe operating of vehicles, as well as record keeping and documentation related to these vehicles.

I say to everyone, be aware of the appearance of your vehicle when you drive by an MTC inspector’s vehicle. Keep everything mechanical fit and sound, from your tires to your lights to your windshield. Don’t drive with expired stickers. With Smokey Bear, as with the police, you won’t get a second chance to make a first impression.

CARAHS is a non profit organization for self employed home renovators and home services – EDUCATION – TRAINING – BENEFITS- We now have over 68 online education/safety courses at:

Toll Free 1-866-366-2930   

Alec Caldwell

Alec Caldwell

Alec Caldwell is the Founder of CARAHS, a Health & Safety Organization. We are approved providers by the Ministry of Labour (Ontario) to teach Working at Heights Training (Pro#34609) Visit the Ministry of Labour's web site to view our listing
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3 Comments » for Smokey bear returns and bites again: Part 2
  1. Driver Trainer says:

    In Ontario, any vehicle which exceeds 4500kg gross vehicle weight (which means whatever the weight of the truck is ,plus what it can legally carry. This is shown on the ownership of the vehicle in KG’s) These 4500 kg vehicle’s fall into the “commercial” category which means that the driver must perform a pre-trip Inspection by law and fill out an inspection report. The vehicle must also be equipped with a fire extinguisher,first aid kit and flares or reflective triangles in case you break down.Then there are hours of service regulations for the commercial vehicles in which the driver had better familiarize himself/herself with. The minimum fines for commercial vehicles are around $390.00 !
    Commercial Driver Trainer

  2. Safety is important, but the regulations for commercial vehicles are over the top.
    Take a guess at how much an empty diesel pickup truck weighs…about 4500 kgs. So anyone who wants to carry even a small load of material has to jump through a ridiculous number of hoops, which amount to an unnecessary waste of time.

    Not to mention the vehicles we are offered by the big 3 North American automakers are designed to fall apart faster than anyone can put them back together. This amounts to the collusion of the wealthy and the government who go out of their way to keep contractors and tradespeople poor. In the end all this does is drive the quality of the goods we can afford to produce down as well as the quality of life we as “commercial operators” can provide for our families and communities.

    Safety is important, but so is the ability to set realistic and acheiveable standards.

  3. Thanks Driver trainer for your expert tips and insight in to the system and again to you Chris, as you are at the user end of things.

    I know sometimes it hard to keep up with the laws and the wear a tear on vehicles, especially when the under ground market is booming and driving down prices and profit, which in turn makes it harder for legitimate businesses owners to invest and plow money back in to needy repairs on their vehicles.

    Unfortunately the MTC don’t share the same point of view and carry out inspections regardless.