House of Commons debates proposal to change Motor Vehicle Safety Act

Published: September 20, 2017

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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A proposed new bill would give Canada’s transport minister the authority to “order a company to correct a defect or non-compliance in a vehicle or equipment”. Bill S-2 was passed by the Senate in February before being tabled in the House of Commons. It was debated on Tuesday and proposes changes to the Motor Vehicle Safety Act.

“If a situation arose today with a vehicle, tire, or child seat where there was clear evidence that the product contained a safety defect that could put the safety of Canadians in jeopardy and the company did not agree and was not voluntarily issuing a recall, there would be little that could be done except to take the company to court,” Liberal Transport Minister Marc Garneau said Tuesday in the House of Commons. “This would result in delays in addressing safety concerns.”

MPs from Conservative and new Democratic opposition debated the bill, generally showing favour to the proposal.

The Motor Vehicle Safety Actregulates the safety requirements that apply to new and imported motor vehicles and to new motor vehicle equipment in order to reduce the risk of death, injury, and damage to property and the environment,” and “enables the development of regulations and safety standards for new and imported vehicles, new tires, and new equipment used in the restraint of children and disabled persons within motor vehicles,” Garneau added.

Bill S-2 would allow the transport minister “to be able to order a company to correct a defect or non-compliance in a vehicle or equipment if the minister considered it to be in the interests of public safety.”

Under current legislation, the law “only obliges manufacturers to issue notices of defect, but does not oblige them to take any further steps,” he added.