On May 5, 2018, Yannick Blouin, Chief Executive of Safety and Trucking at the Quebec Ministère des Transports, de la Mobilité durable et de l’Électrification des Transports (Ministry of Transportation, Sustainable Mobility and the Electrification of Transportation, or “MTQ”), announced impending changes to the regulations and policies governing trucking in Quebec. These developments, announced in a speech at the 2018 annual meeting of the Association du camionnage du Québec (Quebec Trucking Association), will be of interest to carriers, shippers and service providers involved in freight transportation by heavy vehicle in the province of Quebec.

Operation of Long Combination Vehicles

An anticipated change to Quebec’s regulation respecting the operation of long combination vehicles (“LCV”s), vehicles recognizable on the road as a tractor pulling more than one semi-trailer, will streamline the permitting process for such vehicles. Currently, the regulations provide for an LCV permit issued by the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (“SAAQ”) for nine months of each year; with LCV operation in winter months made possible by an MTQ “pilot program” that is in practice renewed each year. The MTQ has announced that a regulatory change should be in place by Q4 2018 such that the MTQ will issue year-round LCV permits under the Highway Safety Code (“HSC”). Carriers will no longer be required to apply for winter LCV permits, to provide safe refuge points or indicate designated routes, as these will be provided within the regulation itself.

Special Permit Applications

Beginning Q3/Q4 2018, all overweight and over-dimension vehicle permits, including the LCV permits described above, will be issued by the MTQ; currently, the SAAQ issues several such permits. Permit applications will be carried out via on online portal and be issued online within hours, including on weekends. Under a forthcoming agreement between the MTQ and the SAAQ, the MTQ will take over decision-making in connection with permits, but the SAAQ will continue to manage permit documentation and mailings. According to the MTQ, a 7-day grace period will be incorporated into the relevant regulations in order to allow vehicles to operate immediately upon issuance, while awaiting original copies of permits.

Finally, the MTQ’s Écocamionnage (Eco-Trucking) program has been renewed until 2020. The program is designed to provide financial assistance to motor carriers who wish to implement sustainable technologies, a list of which are found online (French only).