Starting April 1st, 2016, Canadian drivers with Class 5(and in some cases class 3) or Class G licenses must meet new medical standards to operate commercial vehicles in the United States. (information provided in part by DriverCheck)
Effective April 1, 2016 US law will require drivers of:
- A vehicle defined as commercial with a Weight/Rating* of 4,536 kg (10,001 pounds) or more, to have completed a medical examination indicating they are physically qualified to safely operate a commercial vehicle in the US.
- Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, Gross Combination Weight Rating, Gross Vehicle Weight or Gross Combination Weight
Full details of US Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) definition of a commercial motor vehicle can be found at: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations Section 390.5.
Canadian licensed commercial drivers are qualified to operate in the US if they meet all of the requirements to operate in Canada and do not have:
- Diabetes – insulin dependent;
- Hearing impairment;
- Epilepsy requiring anti-convulsant medication for control
Why this has changed
Currently the Canada-US medical reciprocity agreement recognizes a Canadian commercial licence as proof that a medical has been completed. The FMCSA in the States however has recently identified Canadian drivers operating commercial vehicles in the US with Class 5 or Class G driver’s licences (in some cases class 3 as well) as needing to come into compliance with US law by April 1, 2016. These drivers are not required
to obtain Medicals in most Canadian Jurisdictions currently, and therefor have been operating in the US outside of current US regs.
What affected drivers need to know
There are three options suggested by the FMCSA to obtain the appropriate medical confirmation in advance of April 1, 2016: Each Canadian Jurisdiction is offering some or all of these solutions(except as noted) for it’s residents, and that is broken down for your information below. The three options are:
- Submit a completed FMCSA Medical Report form.
- Upgrade existing Class 5 (G-class in Ontario) or in some cases, a Class 3 licence to a licence class whereby a medical report is required) or;
- Seek the services of a certified FMCSA medical examiner and be issued a medical certificate – for more information: https://nationalregistry.fmcsa.dot.gov/NRPublicUI/home.seam
Drivers failing to obtain appropriate medical confirmation by April 1, 2016 may be subject to fines and/or the vehicle may be placed out-of-service by US enforcement.– it is recommended that drivers submit medical reports as soon as possible.
Once obtained, it is important to note that proof of medical confirmation must be in the driver’s possession when operating in the US after April 1, 2016.
If you have questions regarding the US FMCSA commercial-use vehicle requirements, please contact FMCSA at 1-202-366-4001.
The options that are being offered by each Jurisdiction are listed below. Please contact the Minister of Transportation’s office for the region you are in to obtain complete instructions and forms, or feel free to contact the PMTC office and we can help guide you through the process.
Alberta & Saskatchewan: Both of these provinces are offering all 3 options to their drivers. Both have a Medical Exam Form available. SK’s is online and AB’s medical form is available at any Alberta Registry Agent office or at most doctor’s offices.
British Columbia: The Ministry is advising drivers that they can upgrade their license to one that complies with the medical standards or have a medical done by an approved physician (per the FMCSA list).
Manitoba: The Ministry of Transportation has advised drivers of 2 axel CMV’s of 4536kg or more that they will need to either have a medical done by a physician on FMCSA’s approved list, or upgrade to a Class 3 license, which requires a medical that meets the required standards.
Newfoundland: For drivers of ‘light duty’ trucks with a Class 5 license that crosses into the U.S., the Ministry is providing a letter of confirmation when they complete a medical and submit it for review & meet the FMCSA’s standards.
New Brunswick: Will be advising drivers who may be affected to either upgrade to a commercial NB driver licence or to submit a medical form completed by their physician to the Registrar’s office for review. If they meet the medical standards for a commercial driver, they will be issued a Medical Confirmation Letter signed by the Registrar.
Nova Scotia: Will not be offering a Medical Confirmation Letter or an endorsement on their license so they will be advising their drivers to obtain a medical using FMCSA’s approved list, or to upgrade their license to a commercial one requiring a periodic medical.
Northwest Territories: No word yet from the NWT on their plan of action in regards to this.
Nunavut: This does not apply; their weight restriction is in line with the U.S.
Ontario: Ontario is offering all 3 solutions. Forms and information are available on the MTO’s website.
P.E.I.: The Ministry is doing an endorsement on the Class 5 license. When the driver has a medical completed they can bring or fax it in to the Ministry for approval. For $20 they can have a duplicate license issued with the “M” endorsement showing they meet the medical requirements.
Quebec: At the time I penned this article Quebec indicated they were “in the process of evaluating different solutions to enable Quebec drivers to comply with the FMCSA regulation. No decision has been made yet.”
Yukon Territories: will be advising their drivers to upgrade to a commercial class license.
If you are in need of having FMCSA driver medicals completed, you can contact DriverCheck at www.drivercheck.ca for more information. Bottom line, to protect your company and your drivers, ensure if you have a driver who will be operating a CMV into the United States, regardless of their license class, that they have a proper medical completed and filed prior to entering the US.
About the Author
“Mike has 25 years’ of wide ranging experience in the trucking industry, performing such duties as a livestock and grain hauler for 3 years, followed by 5 years of long haul across North America hauling refrigerated and general freight. Mike was also a full time certified driver trainer for 2 years, and then transitioned into Safety and Compliance for 2 years, and then spent over 12 years as a Fleet manager for a Private Fleet. Mike is now the President of the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada, Canada’s only National Association that represents the views and interest of today’s Private Fleets.” Mike can be reached at email@example.com