ACV Regulatory Landscape

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Opportunities & Challenges

Regulatory Landscape

Research & Testing

Transport Canada (TC) mandates safety standards for vehicles, child seats and tires under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act (MVSA) , and regulates transportation crossing provincial or international borders under the Motor Vehicle Transport Act (MVTA) .

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) leads the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) , to support innovative business activities such as R&D projects and attract large-scale investments to Canada, including automotive manufacturing projects .

ISED’s approach for managing radio frequency spectrum in Canada is explained in Spectrum Outlook 2018 to 2022 . Many intelligent transport systems (ITS) applications require radio spectrum, and in Canada the band 5850-5925 MHz is designated for use by dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) in support of ITS applications.

Provincial and Territorial governments are responsible for the licensing of drivers, vehicle registration and insurance, as well as laws and regulations regarding the safe operation of vehicles on public roads. They are also responsible for approving and overseeing trials of automated vehicles within their jurisdiction.

The Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA) coordinates the administration, regulation and control of motor vehicle transportation and highway safety among provincial, territorial and the federal governments.

Transport Canada takes an active role internationally in the work of the United Nations Global Forum for Road Traffic Safety (UNECE WP.1) that focuses on improving road safety, and the World Forum for the Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (UNECE WP.29) in the development of global technical regulations.

As part of the Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) , Transport Canada and the U.S. Department of Transportation have committed to coordinating and collaborating on V2V and V2I communications technology, applications development and implementation for light- and heavy-duty vehicles under a joint work plan.

Legislative Modernization

In 2018, Bill S-2, the Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians Act, received Royal Assent to bring extensive amendments to the MVSA, including Modernized Ministerial Order provisions to respond quickly to emerging vehicle technologies. See the infographic on Bill S-2 here.

As automakers rethink what cars look like and develop enhanced safety features, amendments to the exemption process and the extension of interim orders under Bill S-2 supports the introduction of emerging technologies such as ACVs, including:

  • The Minister may grant an exemption from current standards (for example to promote the development of new safety features and vehicle technologies);
  • The duration of interim orders has been extended from one to three years to allow sufficient time to develop and test proposed technologies;

Regulatory Modernization

Budget 2018 identified several sectors for targeted reviews of regulatory requirements and practices, including emerging technologies such as automated and connected vehicles, to help address existing barriers and make the Canadian regulatory system more agile and responsive.

TC is also undertaking Transportation 2030: A Strategic Plan for the Future of Transportation in Canada, which supports the use of connected and automated vehicles on public roads to:

  • improve road safety,
  • reduce congestion,
  • increase mobility,
  • protect the environment, and
  • support economic opportunities for Canadian businesses;