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Canada is home to 37,742,154 people, as per the UN mid-year data. The vast expanse of this nation, spanning 9.98 million square kilometers, demands a robust transportation network. Notably, over 700,000 trucks ply the Canadian roads, with approximately 420,000 dedicated to commercial freight transportation. Among these, you'll find nearly 500,000 straight trucks and 200,000 truck tractors. In 2019, the Canadian trucking industry generated a staggering $37.9 billion in revenue by transporting nearly 61 million shipments. It's important to clarify that when we mention the “trucking industry,” we refer to companies engaged in cargo transportation via trucks. This sector boasts around 181,000 dedicated truck drivers.

Canada boasts a vast and intricate road network, with the National Highway System covering a total of 38,021 kilometers. This system comprises three distinct route types:

1. Core Routes (27,608 km): These routes serve as vital interprovincial and international corridor connections.

2. Feeder Routes (4,490 km): These routes act as crucial links between core routes and other provincial and regional population centers, including intermodal facilities and key border crossings.

3. Northern or Remote Routes (5,922 km): These routes primarily service Canada's northern provinces and territories.

However, the crown jewel of Canada's road network is the Trans-Canada Highway, spanning a whopping 7,821 kilometers. This extensive highway traverses all ten provinces, making it a lifeline for transportation across the nation.

The history of trucking in Canada sheds light on why this industry holds such prominence. In the early days, waterways were the primary mode of transportation. It wasn't until 1734 that a rugged highway connected Montreal to Quebec City. However, railways gained dominance in the 1850s, connecting communities and facilitating the movement of goods. The introduction of refrigerated containers in the 1930s allowed fresh produce to be transported across the country. This historical evolution underscores the importance of trucking, not just as a mode of transportation but also as a career opportunity.

Current Landscape of Trucking in Canada

Today, the Canadian trucking industry operates under the regulatory purview of Transport Canada, governed by the Motor Vehicle Transport Act. To ensure safe operations, Transport Canada establishes and enforces standards based on the National Safety Code (NSC).

Regulations for Trucking in Canada

Motor Carrier Safety Fitness Certificate Regulations: Trucks with a registered gross weight exceeding 4,500 kg or buses with more than 10 seats (excluding the driver) for non-personal use must possess a Motor Carrier Safety Fitness Certificate.

Commercial Vehicle Driver Hours of Service Canada Regulations: These regulations govern driver hours and can be explored in detail separately.

Memorandum of Understanding on Interprovincial Weights and Dimensions (MOU): All trucks in Canada must adhere to weight and measurement regulations outlined in this agreement, accepted across all provinces.

Electronic Stability Control (ESC): ESC became mandatory for truck tractors and buses weighing over 11,793 kg (26,000 lbs) to reduce rollovers and loss-of-control accidents. It mirrors a requirement in the United States.

Licenses and Permits for Starting a Trucking Business in Canada

The trucking industry in Canada differs from that of the United States, with many regulatory responsibilities delegated to provincial and territorial governments. To launch a trucking business in Canada, you'll need:

National Safety Code Certificate (NSC): This uniform safety standard has applied to all Canadian trucking companies since 1987, ensuring compliance with safety guidelines across provinces and territories.

Federal Business Number: Issued by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), this 9-digit number is essential for income tax and GST registration.

International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) Registration: Facilitating fuel tax reporting for international operations, IFTA simplifies compliance in both Canadian provinces and U.S. states.

International Registration Plan (IRP) Registration: Designed for vehicles operating in multiple jurisdictions, IRP consolidates licensing fees.

Canada Revenue Agency Fuel Charge Registration: Mandatory for Canadian trucking companies operating in specific provinces using propane, fuel oil, gasoline, or marketable natural gas.

Insurance for Trucking in Canada

Insurance is a critical component of the Canadian trucking industry. Various types of insurance are necessary, including:

Liability Insurance: Covers damages caused by a truck, with non-compliance resulting in substantial penalties.

Bobtail Insurance: Voluntary insurance that covers accidents when driving a truck without a trailer.

Cargo Insurance: Although not mandatory, some shipping companies prefer trucking firms to carry it to protect transported cargo.

Launching a trucking business in Canada involves navigating a complex regulatory landscape, but adherence to these regulations ensures safety and compliance while contributing to the thriving Canadian trucking industry.


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