February 13, 2018

Strengthening the Motor Vehicle Safety Act and ushering in new automotive technologies

Bill S-2, Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians Act, passed third reading in the House of Commons after a unanimous vote from all Members of Parliament on January 31, 2018.  With this approval, the bill could soon become law and would allow Canada’s Minister of Transport the power to order that a manufacturer issue a recall for a vehicle safety defect or non-compliance.  As it stands now, if a manufacturer does not voluntarily issue a recall, the only recourse is to take the company to court.  Under the new bill, the manufacturer could be fined up to $200,000 per day, per violation, for any actions that contravene Canada’s Motor Vehicle Safety Act.

In addition, the bill will allow the Minister to exempt certain vehicles from safety standards in the case where it would promote technological development.

And on the topic of technological development, the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications has just issued a report on the regulatory and technical issues related to the deployment of automated and connected vehicles.  The study, Driving Change: Technology and the Future of the Automated Vehicle, reports that along with the safety advantages of driverless and connected vehicles, there are numerous concerns such as job losses, privacy, cybersecurity, and infrastructure.  The committee feels there is an urgent need for all three levels of government to plan for the arrival of these technologies and has made 16 recommendations to the federal government “to help build a coordinated national strategy on automated and connected vehicles.”