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What Vehicles Are Subject to the Commercial Vehicle Inspection Program?

December 8, 2021
By Jeffery White

Owners of commercial vehicles in Alberta are obligated by law (Vehicle Inspection Regulation AR 211/2006) to ensure the safety of the vehicles they operate through annual inspections. Any commercial vehicle over certain weight limits is subject to the requirements of the laws regarding the Commercial Vehicle Inspection Program. The program requires commercial vehicles to undergo annual or semi-annual inspections, with inspection certificates produced upon demand by the vehicle’s driver.

While specific requirements of the inspections will vary slightly from one province or territory to another, each jurisdiction in most cases will recognize and accept the inspection from another participating province or territory.

The National Safety Code (NSC) has determined the minimum performance standards for the safe operation of commercial vehicles, including trucks, buses, trailers, and more. Commercial vehicles that are subject to the NSC’s safety standards are defined below.

Commercial vehicles such as trucks and tractor-trailers that meet the following weight classes require annual inspections:

  • Trucks, truck-tractors, semi-trailers, trailers and combinations thereof exceeding a registered gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 4,500 kg when operating extra-provincially
  • Trucks, truck-tractors, semi-trailers, trailers and combinations thereof exceeding a registered GVW of 11,794 kg when operating intra-provincially

Commercial vehicles that are defined as buses require semi-annual inspections. A bus would be defined as:

  • buses designed, constructed and used for the transportation of passengers with a designated seating capacity of more than 10 (including the driver), but excluding the operation for personal use

What Does the Inspection Entail?

The National Safety Code that established the Commercial Vehicle Inspection Program designed it to promote truck and bus safety, efficiency, and consistency on roads throughout Canada.

The specifics of the inspection may vary slightly between provinces and territories. Here in Alberta, commercial vehicle owners can expect a vehicle inspection to include a thorough examination of the following systems:

  • Power Train
  • Suspension
  • Hydraulic Brakes
  • Air Brakes
  • Steering
  • Instruments and Auxiliary Equipment
  • Lamps
  • Electrical System
  • Body
  • Tires and Wheels
  • Couplers and Hitches

After a commercial vehicle has been inspected, the inspection facility will provide a vehicle inspection certificate and a decal which must be affixed to the lower left-hand corner of the side window on the outside of the vehicle. The certification will be valid for either one year or six months, depending on the type of commercial vehicle it is.

What if the Vehicle Fails the Inspection?

Per the National Safety Code Standards, if a vehicle fails the inspection, the technician must explain the reasons for the failure to the owner. The inspector may also submit a Record of Inspection noting the failure to Alberta Transportation. The vehicle owner will have to have the necessary repairs made in order to obtain a valid certificate and decal.

If a vehicle is repaired for re-inspection within 10 days of the failed inspection, there is good news. In this case, only the parts or systems that failed inspection the first time and are listed on the Record of Inspection will need to be re-evaluated in order to comply with the law, pass the inspection, and receive the certificate and decal required to operate a commercial vehicle in Alberta.

What Are the Penalties for Non-Compliance?

In order to operate a commercial vehicle on a highway, it must be in compliance with the rules set forth by Alberta Transportation. The vehicle must have passed a CVIP inspection, and a certificate and decal must have been issued by a licensed inspection facility. In addition, the original copy of the certificate is located within the commercial vehicle, the decal must be securely affixed to the vehicle, and these must not have expired.

Should a certificate become misplaced, contact the inspection facility immediately to obtain a copy to place within the commercial vehicle. It must be produced by the driver upon demand by an investigator or peace officer.

Records should be maintained by the vehicle’s owner for four years, including inspection reports and invoices for repairs. In Alberta, it is an offence to operate a commercial vehicle that does not have a current and valid inspection and fines will be imposed upon the owners of vehicles that are not in compliance with the law.

Can an Inspection Be Revoked?

It is uncommon, but possible, for a CVIP inspection to be revoked by Alberta Transportation. Typically, this would only happen in one of the following circumstances:

  • The issuing facility, or technician at the issuing facility, was not licensed to inspect the type of commercial vehicle.
  • If the date of inspection does not match the date listed on the certificate or if the inspection was not conducted according to vehicle inspection rules and regulations
  • If there is reasonable suspicion of fraud: if the certificate was reported missing or destroyed, if it was originally sold to another inspection facility, if the certificate was signed prior to the completion of the inspection, or other fraudulent activities.

 About Inspection Facilities

Commercial vehicle inspections must be performed by a licensed facility and technician. All vehicle inspection facilities must be licensed by Alberta Transportation. Licensed facilities are permitted to display the facility license and associated signage at the facility.

Licensed facilities will from time to time receive random compliance visits from a Vehicle Safety Investigator to ensure inspections are being conducted properly and that appropriate records are being maintained. Any facilities in violation of rules and regulations will face progressive discipline, including education requirements and possible administrative penalties.

It is important to note that inspection technicians and facilities do not have any legal authority to remove a vehicle from the road if it does not meet safety standards. Only a Peace Office is able to do that. The facility or technician’s responsibility is to provide the vehicle owner with an explanation as to why the vehicle is unsafe to drive. They may also contact local law enforcement to alert them to any concerns about the vehicle’s safety.

Approved Inspection Facilities

It is important to locate a reputable and experienced inspection facility that is licensed to perform an inspection of the type of commercial vehicle in question. At JW Truck Centers we have been performing CVIP inspections since 2005. To schedule, a CVIP inspection contact us at 403-248-1696.

What Legislation Governs this Program?

For anyone interested in learning more about the laws and regulations that impact the commercial vehicle inspection program in Alberta, the following summaries may be useful:

Traffic Safety Act: This Act promotes safety on the province’s highways, the definition of which includes any street, road, sidewalk or bridge that the public is ordinarily entitled or permitted to use. Part 1 provides for matters of general administration, including the appointment of a Registrar of Motor Vehicle Services; Part 2 for the establishment of the Alberta Transportation Safety Board and the conduct before it of hearings, reviews and appeals; Part 3 for matters of motor vehicle administration, including license, registration and insurance requirements; Part 4 for disqualifications from driving, including disqualifications arising from impaired driving and other offences; Part 5 for the general operation of vehicles, including their prohibited operation; Part 6 for off-highway vehicles; Part 6.1 for transportation network companies; Part 7 for commercial motor transport; and Part 8 for enforcement, rights, remedies and obligations.

Commercial Vehicle Safety Regulation (AR 121/2009): Section 6 of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Regulation (AR 121/2009) specifies that a carrier

must establish, maintain and follow a written maintenance and inspection program that pertains to all applicable vehicles registered to the carrier in Alberta, including leased vehicles. The policies and procedures set out in the maintenance program must provide for continuous and regular inspections that meet the requirements specified in:

1. Schedules 2, 3, 4, and 5 of the regulation as applicable;

2. Sections 10 (trip inspection) and 11 (under the vehicle inspection of a motorcoach) of

the regulation; and

3. The Vehicle Inspection Regulation (AR 211/2006)

The information on this page may have changed since we first published it and is for informational use only and is no substitute for actual professional advice. If you’d like to establish a relationship, reach out to us and we’ll tell you how we can make it official.