Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians Act

An Act to amend the Motor Vehicle Safety Act and to make a consequential amendment to another Act

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is, or will soon become, law.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Motor Vehicle Safety Act for the purpose of strengthening the enforcement and compliance regime to further protect the safety of Canadians and to provide additional flexibility to support advanced safety technologies and other vehicle innovations. It provides the Minister of Transport with the authority to order companies to correct a defect or non-compliance and establishes a tiered penalty structure for offences committed under the Act. The enactment also makes a consequential amendment to the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada Act.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

Jan. 31, 2018 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill S-2, An Act to amend the Motor Vehicle Safety Act and to make a consequential amendment to another Act

March 26th, 2018 / 4:05 p.m.
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NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Kirk, I will return to the example of air bags.

When we studied Bill S-2, we expressed the opinion that new technologies should at the very least have the same, if not higher, safety standards as those established for conventional vehicles.

You asked the following question: If we remove the steering wheel, where will we put the air bag? Is it possible that air bags will no longer be needed? If so, is it the right approach to tell the government that we should be making sure that the new technologies are at the very least as safe as the old ones, if not safer? Or is it that these new technologies simply cannot be compared with the old ones?

Royal Assent

March 1st, 2018 / 3:05 p.m.
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Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I have the honour to inform the House that a communication has been received as follows:

March 1st, 2018

Mr. Speaker,

I have the honour to inform you that the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada, signified royal assent by written declaration to the bills listed in the Schedule to this letter on the 1st day of March 2018, at 1:06 p.m.

Yours sincerely,

Assunta Di Lorenzo

The bills assented to on Thursday, March 1, 2018, are Bill S-2, An Act to amend the Motor Vehicle Safety Act and to make a consequential amendment to another Act; and Bill C-311, An Act to amend the Holidays Act (Remembrance Day).

Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians ActGovernment Orders

January 31st, 2018 / 5:10 p.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, that answer was really short and succinct, and I appreciate that.

The automobile industry is very important for the entire country. One of the things I respect about the minister responsible for the legislation is the fact that he has done an outstanding job in bringing forward legislation that would do two things, one being the protection of consumers on the purchase of a major item. There are very few things in life that Canadians will spend as much money on than buying a brand new vehicle.

I have had the opportunity in the last couple of years to purchase a new vehicle. Thousands of new vehicles in all areas of our country are being sold. These items do not cost between $5,000 to $15,000. We are talking about an expenditure in the range of $20,000 to $60,000 depending on the type of vehicle purchased. That is a significant commitment.

When we look at the average lifespan of a vehicle nowadays, we have seen significant advancements in technology that have allowed vehicles to last longer. The average life of a vehicle today is far greater than it was when I was pumping gas in the seventies. The complications of a vehicle through technology have changed. I remember the days of being able to pop the hood of a 1976 Mustang, with a 302 motor along with a fairly simplistic looking engine. I could do all sorts of wonders. Nowadays, it is all computerized. A gadget plugs in and it tells us what the problems are. The car I drive today shows the air pressure of each tire. The technology and advancement in the automobile industry today is amazing.

One of my colleagues spoke earlier about Bill S-2. Within our Liberal caucus, a good number of MPs follow the automobile industry. We recognize how valuable that industry is to our country in providing those middle-class jobs and in providing consumers with good quality products. I suspect there is no shortage of members of Parliament who would articulate why they would like to see more automobile related jobs. It is not just the big factories. Endless parts stores and piecemeal work done throughout the country contribute to the construction of these modern vehicles.

Tens of thousands of people are employed directly through the automobile plants and many more are employed indirectly. It is important to highlight the industry as a whole and what it does for the Canadian economy.

Under the leadership of our Prime Minister, our government recognizes the valuable contributions of those who drive this industry and provide the type of good quality jobs that are important for us. I want to recognize that upfront.

The Minister of Transport has identified an issue that has been around for a long time. It did not just appear over the last year or two.

I can recall being in the opposition benches, and we would often hear about recall issues. This is something that has been going on for many years. Maybe it has escalated. I do not know the hard numbers, but I suspect we have seen an increase in the numbers because of complications and the technology within our cars today. However, there is a great deal of concern from new car buyers when they go out and spend the kind of money they are spending to purchase a vehicle. Not only are they hoping for a good warranty, but also that the vehicle itself is safe to drive.

I think most Canadians would be quite surprised to find out the actual numbers. I indicated that we were talking about hundreds of thousands every year. We are into the millions if we look at the overall number of recalls over the last decade, recalls of vehicles just here in Canada. We have a website through Transport Canada that was developed to provide Canadian consumers with information. It does not mean that it has to be a brand new 2018 or 2017 vehicle. It goes back a number of years. People can look up their vehicles on the website to find out whether something has been recalled. I suspect we have literally tens of thousands of vehicles on our roads today that have, in fact, been recalled for one thing or another, yet the driver of that particular vehicle is not even aware of it.

Often we talk about the importance of working with the different stakeholders, in particular our provinces. Our provinces are responsible for the registration of vehicles. If I look at my own province of Manitoba, when one goes to that local Manitoba Public Insurance outlet for insurance, it would be nice if there was some sort of an educational component passed on to the consumer. It could be as simple as a piece of paper with the website, saying that the website should be checked to see if there is any sort of recall on the vehicle. Given today's computer technology, in the future hopefully we will see different levels of government working together in terms of how we might be able to improve on that particular system.

The Prime Minister often says that we can always look to improve things, to make things better. There is something there to better educate Canadians as a whole in terms of the importance of watching for those recalls. The recalls really came to surface for me personally back in the seventies. I drive a Ford currently. This is not to dis Ford, but the first recall I can really remember offhand was the Ford Pinto. Some people from my generation might recall that particular issue, which was a very serious issue. I think that was one of the issues that ultimately brought to light, back in the seventies, the importance of safety in the purchasing of a new vehicle.

We make the assumption that when these beautiful vehicles come off the assembly line, their many components are all 100% sound and functional. I believe our Canadian manufacturers provide some of the best, if not the best, vehicles in the world. We can take a great deal of pride in that fact. However, we also need to recognize that at times there are things that break down. Some of the things that cause a great deal of concern are those of a high safety value.

For example, if for some reason an airbag is not working properly, that airbag or the mechanism that allows that airbag to be deployed needs to be replaced. It is questionable whether that mechanism will survive the first, second, or third year because it sits in a new vehicle and is not tested through an accident, which is a good thing. If there is a fault, it is important that it be replaced. Those are the types of recalls that are of the utmost priority. Those are the types of recalls that ultimately save lives in a very real and tangible way.

We need to look at how we can encourage and promote a better sense of education with respect to people ensuring that they are aware of the potential problems that can occur in the vehicles they are driving. Airbags are an easy one to go to. However, there are all sorts of engine components and wheel components, you name it, and there are all sorts of issues or breakdowns or manufacturing flaws that need to be addressed.

To start off my comments, I thought it would be good to encourage people to recognize the need to stay up to date with respect to the type of vehicle they are driving and ensure that it is safe at all times.

Bill S-2 would protect Canadian consumers and it would make our roads safer. That is really what the legislation is all about. How would it do that?

As I indicated, there are hundreds of thousands of recalls every year. Today, it is really up to the goodwill of the manufacturer or a potential court action to cause a recall to take place. This legislation would empower the Minister of Transport with the authority to tell a manufacturer that there is an issue, that the manufacturer must deal with the issue and fix the problem, and that its vehicles will have to be recalled.

In addition to that, individuals will be compensated. They will not have to pay for something that is not their fault. When people buy their vehicles, they anticipate them to be fully functional. It is not their fault if an airbag will not deploy properly or there is a heating element that could potentially cause a fire because of a short or something of that nature. These things are not the consumer's fault. For the first time, Canadians will have a minister and a government with the ability to ensure that those manufacturing defects are being addressed. However, it is not only that they are addressed but also that the manufacturer will be covering the cost. That to me is a very positive thing.

If more vehicles are being recalled and fixed and the appropriate players are covering the costs, I suspect we will see our roads become safer because more vehicles will have had some of those flaws addressed and fixed.

There are six parts of the legislation that I would like to highlight. The first part I have already referenced and that is that the bill would give the Minister of Transport the power to order manufacturers and importers to repair a recalled vehicle at no cost to the consumer. That is an important point.

The bill would also give the Minister of Transport the power to order manufacturers and importers to repair safety defects in new vehicles before they are actually sold.

One of the things that has always amazed me is that there are brand new vehicles sold that have a known defect in them. Now through this legislation we would have in place the power to ensure that where there is an issue of safety, and even beyond that, it would be addressed. That is something I see as a very strong positive. Through this legislation, we would allow Transport Canada to use monetary penalties or fines to increase safety compliance and to enter into compliance agreements with manufacturers to take additional safety actions.

I see within this legislation so many positive attributes. I listened to what opposition members had to say about it. I understand and appreciate that we could always do better, but in two short years, we have a strong minister who, with the government, has brought forward legislation that would benefit our consumers and make our roads safer. I believe that all members should support this legislation because it is sound legislation and would be a good thing to see pass.

Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians ActGovernment Orders

January 31st, 2018 / 5 p.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, a couple of members on the Conservative side have expressed concerns about amendments. It is somewhat ironic, I must say, because when I sat in opposition, the former government did not accept amendments to government legislation, unless they were government amendments, as a rule. Yes, a number of amendments were put forward on Bill S-2, and opposition amendments were not accepted or voted on by the committee. The details of that, I suspect, would probably be best found in the dialogue that took place in the standing committee.

In the concluding remarks of the member, she captured the essence of what I believe people should be encouraged by, and that is that the legislation would improve safety on our roads and provide more consumer protection. That, in itself, is a significant step forward. Would she not agree?

Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians ActGovernment Orders

January 31st, 2018 / 4:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Cathay Wagantall Conservative Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to add my vote to Bill S-2, An Act to amend the Motor Vehicle Safety Act and to make a consequential amendment to another Act.

I am also pleased to see that the Liberal government is willing to take the good ideas of the previous Conservative government and carry them forward because they see the value in the content. Bill S-2 bears a striking resemblance to BillC-62, which was sensible legislation designed to increase safety standards, which was introduced by the then minister of transport, the hon. member for Milton.

In my riding of Yorkton—Melville, where resource development is a key economic driver for many workers, who commute from an hour to three hours per day, this is important. Like the focus on safety on their work sites, the safety of their commute is extremely important to me, so I welcome strong safety standards for motor vehicles as a necessity.

Bill S-2 proposes to increase the involvement of the Minister of Transport in the area of vehicle recalls to bring Canada in line with the recall standards of other countries around the world. In Canada, the expectation is that the use of this power would rarely be used, due to the willingness of manufacturers to issue recalls quickly. However, an enforceable deterrent would act as a reminder and encouragement of appropriate corporate behaviour. The minister would have the power to issue fines to manufacturers of up to $200,000 per day for non-compliance. This would affirm that the legislation was to be taken very seriously and was both legitimate and enforceable.

An interesting idea in this legislation is to impose a non-monetary penalty on a company in lieu of, or in addition to, a monetary fine, such as a requirement for additional research and development. I doubt that these penalties would be imposed often, if at all, as companies would want to avoid any public embarrassment that such a fine would cause. That said, having this power would be useful for the minister should any conflict over safety concerns arise.

This act would also codify in law what the market has set as the standard for recalls, ensuring that manufacturers were the liable party for the cost of replacing any recalled parts. Again, this is the current market standard, but ensuring that the standard was clearly expressed in the law would be a positive step for the manufacturers, the dealerships, and of course, the consumers.

It is important to note that while it is indeed laudable to increase our safety standards, this bill is not a response to a significant issue within the industry in Canada. Canada does not have an excess of dangerous vehicles on our roads that the manufacturers are refusing to repair. In fact, it is quite the opposite. In 2015, manufacturers recalled over five million vehicles, of their own accord, for everything from bad hydraulics on a trunk to important engine repairs.

On a personal note, my husband and I have had three recalls on three different vehicles from three different manufacturers. In every case, they communicated in a timely manner, with specific details on what the recall pertained to, the possible safety concerns, if applicable, clear indications for how, where, and when to bring our vehicle in for the repair, and excellent follow-up to ensure that we were satisfied with the results.

Manufacturers voluntarily spend their time and money to ensure that their products are safe and that they meet the standards consumers expect. With the advent of social media and 24-hour news, manufacturers cannot afford the bad publicity that comes with widespread complaints and potentially dangerous faults. That is why, in 2016, there were at least 318 recalls issued without a complaint having been filed with Transport Canada.

Proposed section 15 of the act would give significant new powers to Transport Canada inspectors. Some of these powers are worth noting due to how they would change the current relationship between the manufacturer and Transport Canada. Considering the extent of these powers, I will read from the bill itself:

the inspector may enter on and pass through or over private property...without being liable for doing so and without any person having the right to object to that use of the property....

The inspector may...examine any vehicle, equipment or component that is in the place;...

examine any document that is in the place, make copies of it or take extracts from it;...

use or cause to be used a computer or other device that is in the place to examine data that is contained in or available to a computer system or reproduce it or cause it to be reproduced....

remove any vehicle, equipment or component from the place for the purpose of examination or conducting tests.

Furthermore, the bill also states:

Any person who owns or has charge of a place entered by an inspector...and every person present there shall answer all of the inspector’s reasonable questions related to the inspection, provide access to all electronic data that the inspector may...require,

It makes it somewhat clearer why I highlight the good record manufacturers have regarding the timely issuing of recalls.

These additional powers can seem somewhat disproportionate to any issues we currently experience with safety recalls. It would be very reasonable, and indeed a requirement, for Transport Canada inspectors to have increased powers that went along with their increased responsibilities under this bill, and I applaud that. However, it is simply not the case that manufacturers are hiding serious defects from both the public and Transport Canada. The reality is that the last time a minister of transport criminally prosecuted a manufacturer was nearly 25 years ago, in 1993, when Transport Canada took Chrysler Canada to court over defective tire winch cables, and the case was dismissed in 2000.

I believe that these numbers show that vehicle manufacturers are working with the public in good faith, and we ought to work with them in that same good faith. That is why my colleague, the member for Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, who is on the transport committee, proposed an amendment to Bill S-2 that would have ensured that the minister acted in good faith while exercising the additional powers granted in the act. Her amendment stated:

The Minister may, by order, require any company that applies a national safety mark to any vehicle or equipment, sells any vehicle or equipment to which a national safety mark has been applied or imports any vehicle or equipment of a class for which standards are prescribed to if the Minister has evidence to suggest that there is a defect or noncompliance in the vehicle or equipment.

This amendment would have required that the minister have a suspicion of a defect or non-compliance prior to ordering tests or imposing on a manufacturer, whereas the original wording insinuates the ability of the minister to order tests to prove compliance. It is a subtle yet substantial difference in expressing goodwill in government-industry relationships when they are complying and have a good record.

While this is not an act that would be amending the Criminal Code, I believe that the presumption of innocence ought to the standard in any legislation that contains punitive enforcement options. There is a balance in that, as already stated, the minister could issue fines of up to $200,000 per day, which is significant, and I applaud that.

In addition, my colleague's amendment would have required that the minister consult with the manufacturer before ordering tests to determine if the company had conducted or planned to conduct those tests. This is simply common sense. It would potentially save the manufacturers the cost of conducting tests again that have already been completed. Again, it is goodwill and recognizing the effort manufacturers are currently placing on safety testing, along with their excellent safety track records.

The proposed act, with its current wording, seemingly assumes that there is widespread and intentional non-compliance. This is simply not backed up by statistics. Remember, there has never been a case where the manufacturer refused outright to repair a defect in a vehicle that would lead to a dangerous situation. Manufacturers are placing significant emphasis on safety already. That being said, I certainly see the need for a legislative framework to ensure that high standards are maintained.

However, improvements could have been made to Bill S-2. Unfortunately, the Liberal members of the committee rejected my colleague's reasonable amendment. In fact, the Liberals rejected both of the Conservative amendments and all of the NDP amendments. It is a little confusing, when we are talking about working together on committee and all of us wanting, of course, to ensure the safety of all Canadians and those travelling on our roads.

I would like to take a moment now to speak about the larger framework into which Bill S-2 would fit. The Auditor General released a report in November 2016 entitled, “Oversight of Passenger Vehicle Safety—Transport Canada”. The report was less than glowing in its review of the current state of Transport Canada. In particular, the report noted that Transport Canada is slow in responding to new risks, which poses a significant problem for a bill meant to increase the speed and clarity of recalls for Canadian vehicles. The report states:

We found that Transport Canada did not maintain an up-to-date regulatory framework for passenger vehicle safety. There were lengthy delays, sometimes of more than 10 years, from the time work began on an issue to the Department’s implementation of new standards or changes to existing ones.

There were 10-year delays.

The report states that Transport Canada generally waited until the United States updated its motor vehicle safety standards. I do not understand the point of conducting our own research if the safety recommendations are not implemented until the United States leads the way. Canada has very different requirements than the United States. We expect more from our government agencies than simply mirroring the actions of our neighbour to the south.

We will need a nimble legislative and regulatory framework to ensure that consumers are protected, while recognizing that manufacturers do, indeed, have an excellent track record of ensuring safety. This is something that really concerns me. I am new in the House and am being exposed to how government works in a new way, but as an everyday Canadian, I quite often get frustrated with how it seems to take so long for any changes or improvements.

I now serve on the veterans affairs committee as deputy shadow minister. There have been 14 different reports over 10 years presented by the committee. Very few of those transition recommendations have been implemented, yet here we are again studying those same issues. In this circumstance, it is important that Canadians know that if their tax dollars are supposedly going toward making sure that we have a solid framework for the safety of vehicles on the roads in Canada, we are doing things within a reasonable time frame. This is something that concerns me. Perhaps bureaucracy needs a major transformation.

Bill S-2 would advance vehicle safety standards and would be a positive step in ensuring safety. However, the act is missing some key aspects that would have made its enforcement much more effective and fair for both manufacturers and consumers. We need to have accountability. There is no question about that. When there is a positive working relationship and support from our manufacturers and the work they do in building vehicles, that positive relationship is key. It was disappointing that the members of the government party did not work with the opposition to ensure that amendments were added to the bill, which I think would have improved that sense of working together.

However, overall, Bill S-2 is worthwhile, and I believe it would be helpful in increasing road safety, something that is very important to me as a driver and in response to the fact that so many Canadians, especially in rural ridings like mine, are on the roads a great deal of the time. We have a responsibility to assist in ensuring that safety is a priority for those who manufacture vehicles and for the way Transport Canada implements other issues in road safety. That is why I will be supporting this bill at third reading.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill S-2, An Act to amend the Motor Vehicle Safety Act and to make a consequential amendment to another Act, be read the third time and passed.

Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians ActGovernment Orders

January 31st, 2018 / 4:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, thank you so much for giving me the honour and privilege to stand in the House today. I am pleased to rise in support of Bill S-2, the strengthening motor vehicle safety for Canadians act. This legislation would better protect Canadian families from the risks of dangerous defects in their vehicles.

Of course, I am a little disappointed that the government chose not to accept two of our amendments that we put forward during committee stage. I will be talking about that a bit further. However, permit me to take the next few minutes to describe the purpose of this legislation, as well as how I believe those two amendments could have actually strengthened it, had they been received.

The bill would give the Minister of Transport the authority to order companies to correct a defect or a non-compliance, and it would create a tiered penalty structure for wrongdoings that are committed under this act, which is an excellent step in the right direction. Every single day our children, spouses, and other loved ones are on the road going to sport practices, music lessons, school, work, or here, there and everywhere. At the end of the day, this legislation would help to better protect those who use our roadways.

The bill before us would give the Minister of Transport the power to issue a recall notice, even if the manufacturers of car parts do not want to take the issues before them seriously. In the rare event that a manufacturer is found to be non-compliant, the minister would have the power to issue fines to a manufacturer for up to $200,000 per day until direct action and responsibility are taken. This gives the legislation teeth, which is good and necessary if we want to see change. Furthermore, this legislation would prevent manufacturers and dealerships from being able to sell new vehicles until the recalled part is fixed.

A similar bill was originally introduced in the House of Commons in 2015 under the previous government. The fact that the Liberals have now taken it and largely copied a portion of text from Bill C-62, as it was introduced previously, is a nod in the right direction and a nod to the excellent work that was completed by the deputy leader of the Conservative caucus, who was then the transport minister.

What were the two Conservative amendments that were put forward and unfortunately not included?

First, the Liberal committee members chose not to accept an amendment that required the minister to ask a vehicle manufacturer if it had internal tests or awareness of a defect before initiating federal tests on a vehicle. This is important because time matters. It is of the absolute essence when the safety of Canadians is at risk. Therefore, if a company already had this internal data on how to fix a problem or had data on the extent of the problem, we would not need to spend more time trying to duplicate those tests and take action.

Second, the Liberal committee members also shut down a different amendment that would have clarified the responsibility between the dealer and the manufacturer. Specifically, it would have dealt with who exactly is responsible to correct a defect before the sale of a vehicle. Details like this help to bring clarity to the bill and are very essential. They ensure that dealers and manufacturers understand who is responsible for ensuring the safety of the vehicle before it is sold. It would be a shame for a known defect to go uncorrected simply because a dealer thinks it is the manufacturer's responsibility and the manufacturer thinks it is the dealer's responsibility, so both go back and forth on it, or better yet, do not do anything at all.

It is important to make the point that while this piece of legislation is an excellent step to increase safety or at least the safety standards in Canada, as a whole our country's auto manufacturers do an excellent job at policing themselves and looking out for the safety and well-being of consumers. From 2010 to 2015, the number of safety-related recalls went down by 74%. Many companies have realized the risk of not issuing a recall and have stepped up to the plate and taken responsibility when necessary to do so.

Nevertheless, though few, there are some examples of companies that have delayed issuing safety recalls in order to protect their image or bottom line. Therefore, this bill is of course an effort to deal with those situations. One such example would be the massive Takata airbag recall of 2015. Takata is a huge parts supplier to more than 19 different auto manufacturers. When defects were uncovered in its airbags, the first concern of some vehicle manufacturers was to put liability on Takata instead of fixing their vehicles that used Takata parts. Different manufacturers issued recalls at different times, sometimes prioritizing a recall in the United States before getting around to issuing a recall in Canada.

Here is a brief history. The first of the Takata airbags where actually recalled in 2008 here in Canada, but because Canada relied on voluntary action, few details were provided to Transport Canada. As a result, Canada failed to detect that airbag recalls from several different car manufacturers all originated from this central company. It was government regulators in the United States who finally connected the dots in 2014 and put a recall order out. Instead of being proactive like U.S. officials, Canadian officials could only be reactive in this instance. It took until 2015 for the majority of recalls to be issued for these airbags in our country. In fact, it was not until 2017 that these recalls were completely cleared up.

Why did it take nearly seven years for a car company to recall all these potentially deadly airbags? The answer is that Canada's laws have not kept pace with other industrial countries, thus putting us at a significant disadvantage. Let us look at the United States, for example. The United States is often lauded as a positive example in this area. It has much stronger laws that allow the government to enforce a recall.

Until Bill S-2 is passed, the Government of Canada is relying on voluntary compliance for recalls. Simply put, at the moment, our motor vehicle safety legislation just does not have teeth. It does not have an enforcement mechanism. As well, punitive damages in court are significantly lower here than they are in the United States of America. This adds up to less than an incentive for vehicle manufacturers to issue recall notices in Canada and to prioritize recalls in the United States first.

Going back to the Takata example, once the problem was understood, there was a global shortage of the replacement airbags, which meant it was further delayed until this problem was solved.

How can we ensure Canada is treated the same as the United States by larger multinational car manufacturers? First, we need better inspection and testing when the first signs of a potential defect come to light. The legislation before the House today would significantly increase the power of the minister to order tests and studies of potential defects. It also includes significant fines both against an individual and a company that gets in the way of a government inspector.

Second, we need to increase the power of the minister to force companies to take responsibility, even if they were not the manufacturer of the part. This legislation makes it very clear that car manufacturers are, in fact, responsible for their final product. If they picked a supplier with a defective part, it is still on the manufacturer to make it right for the consumer.

Third, we need to give the minister the ability to initiate a recall. This applies to manufacturers that have not identified a defect in the vehicles they sell, but could now be compelled to issue a recall if a sub-standard part is used in the vehicles they manufacture. Even in 2017, a decade after the first recalls, there were still new recalls being made for these Takata airbags. This legislation would have allowed the minister to issue a directive to all manufacturers in Canada to replace all Takata airbags, full stop. Instead, some Canadians found out years later they had been at risk all along.

In conclusion, this legislation is a very positive step in the right direction. The Conservative Party is very proud to stand behind this legislation and take it forward in order to benefit the lives of Canadians. We believe it will look after their safety and well-being, and that our loved ones will be protected.

Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians ActGovernment Orders

January 31st, 2018 / 4:15 p.m.
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Liberal

Gagan Sikand Liberal Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, we all know that the auto industry is very important, but beyond that, we take Canadians' safety as a main concern. It is a top priority. That is why we brought about Bill S-2, the heart of which is to protect Canadians. As I keep saying, one of those measures is allowing the minister to call a recall.

Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians ActGovernment Orders

January 31st, 2018 / 4:15 p.m.
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Liberal

Gagan Sikand Liberal Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, initially the idea behind this was actually to update Bill C-62 as we looked at the Auditor General's report, which found that Canada was lacking in implementing new technologies and falling behind its counterparts in the United States and Europe. The heart of Bill S-2 is to protect Canadians, and one of the ways to protect Canadians is giving the ministry and Transport Canada the flexibility to call a recall.

Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians ActGovernment Orders

January 31st, 2018 / 4:15 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have to apologize to my hon. colleague if he referenced this. I came in late because I was attending the release of our new parliamentary book of procedure.

Does the hon. member have the text of the amendment to this current version? We know that the current version of Bill S-2 is not the one that the government wants to see passed, because it wants to undo some of what was done in the other place as amendments to protect car dealerships. I know the government believes that it has an amendment that satisfies the concerns of dealers, but I would like to read it and study it. I wonder at what point the text of that amendment could be shared with members of this place.

Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians ActGovernment Orders

January 31st, 2018 / 4:15 p.m.
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Liberal

Gagan Sikand Liberal Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I cannot speak to any one specific amendment, because when we are at committee we take a balanced approach to adopting amendments. We did take amendments into account. Just because every single amendment was not added does not mean we did not work together. As I said, protecting Canadians is at the heart of Bill S-2.

Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians ActGovernment Orders

January 31st, 2018 / 4:10 p.m.
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Liberal

Gagan Sikand Liberal Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague mentioned amendments. I want to say again that we sit on the committee and we do not act with any malice. We have always worked in collaboration, whether with Conservative or NDP members. At the end of the day, the heart of Bill S-2 is to protect Canadians. We will continue to work collaboratively with our fellow members.

Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians ActGovernment Orders

January 31st, 2018 / 4:10 p.m.
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Liberal

Anthony Housefather Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague, the member for Mississauga—Streetsville, for his very educational speech about Bill S-2. I am also very pleased that we are moving to a regime of administrative penalties that would allow us the flexibility to not use criminal sanctions that clog up the courts with things that should be resolved administratively.

The member just talked about the recall provisions. Are there any other improvements to the bill that he would like to address while he has the time?

Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians ActGovernment Orders

January 31st, 2018 / 4:10 p.m.
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Liberal

Gagan Sikand Liberal Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to backtrack a bit and discuss how we actually ended up in the situation we are in now. First, the legislation was introduced as Bill C-62. Then there was an election. Following that, the Auditor General's report was given to the committee in December of 2016. Subsequently, we have Bill S-2, which takes into account the safety of Canadians. In particular, it gives the minister the flexibility to actually initiate a recall. It is this flexibility that will help make sure we do not fall behind other jurisdictions or counterparts, whether in Europe or the United States.

Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians ActGovernment Orders

January 31st, 2018 / 4 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Gagan Sikand Liberal Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to speak to Bill S-2, an act to amend the Motor Vehicle Safety Act. This government pursues the continual improvement of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act as part of its commitment to the safety of the Canadian public.

The Motor Vehicle Safety Act and the regime itself include requirements that are to be followed. These can be detailed technical requirements, such as the regulatory standards for lighting systems. They can also be process requirements, such as how and when to notify the government of a newly discovered defect or the documentation standards around the importation of a vehicle. The legislation also includes tools for the enforcement of these requirements.

This government considers safety to be of paramount importance, and this bill would help improve and ensure vehicle safety for Canadians by providing a new, less onerous process for addressing contraventions and promoting compliance with the act and its attendant regulations and standards.

Since the Motor Vehicle Safety Act came into effect in 1971, the only option available to Transport Canada to address contraventions of the act or its regulations was to pursue criminal charges. While the use of criminal charges is more appropriate for more serious contraventions, it can be too strong a response for many lesser offences. This situation has meant that many minor contraventions are difficult to enforce because the process was too severe for the offence. Using this mechanism for minor offences would redirect valuable court time for other key issues.

Accordingly, one of the proposed changes to the legislation is the introduction of an administrative monetary penalty regime as a tool to help elicit compliance from companies. This is an efficient, effective mechanism and a less costly alternative to criminal prosecution. Administrative monetary penalties, or AMPs, are similar to traffic tickets for car drivers. When a company or individual does not comply with the legislation or regulation, the department can impose a pre-established administrative monetary penalty or fine to help encourage compliance in the future.

Administrative monetary penalties are used in other Transport Canada acts as part of their safety and compliance regimes. Examples in other safety regimes include the Marine Transportation Security Act, the Aeronautics Act, and the Railway Safety Act. In addition, administrative monetary penalties are used in other federal acts, such as the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act.

The inclusion of administrative monetary penalties in the Motor Vehicle Safety Act would not only be consistent with other federal transportation safety frameworks, it would also result in greater alignment with the United States motor vehicle safety enforcement regime. The United States uses a system of civil penalties to encourage motor vehicle safety compliance.

The administrative monetary penalties regime proposed for the Motor Vehicle Safety Act includes maximum fine levels for violations. For individuals, the fine level would be $4,000, and for companies, the fine level would be $200,000. A violation that is committed or continues on more than one day is deemed to be a separate violation for each day it is committed or continued. In addition, a violation would apply separately for each implicated vehicle. Accordingly, depending on the scope and nature of the violation, companies could face significant cumulative fines if they are not in compliance with the safety regime.

The fine levels proposed in the bill represent maximum values. The level of penalty for each specific violation would be established using the Government of Canada regulatory process and the penalties for each violation would not exceed these levels. As the level of the penalties can accumulate, the proposed changes to the legislation include the ability to set a cap or overall maximum level for an accumulated penalty in regulations. It is interesting to note that in 2015 the United States raised the level of its cap from $35 million to $105 million.

Defining the specific penalty levels and caps in regulation provides the flexibility to modify the program as appropriate in an open, transparent, and agile manner.

With respect to the administrative monetary penalty process, Transport Canada enforcement officers would make decisions based on the nature of the infraction as to when the issuance of an administrative monetary penalty is warranted, and would notify the company or individual.

Companies and individuals will have the ability to appeal an administrative monetary penalty. The Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada will be the body responsible for reviewing the case. The bill also includes necessary changes to the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada to provide it with the jurisdiction to take on this role. If the company or individual disagrees with a penalty within 30 days of being served a notice of violation, a person may file a request for a review with the tribunal. The review process will determine whether or not a violation has occurred. If it is determined that a violation has occurred, the tribunal will also have the authority to determine the amount of the penalty.

The first level of appeal will be before a single Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada adjudicator. Both the department and the offender will have the ability to present either written evidence or present a case in person. Following a decision from the first review process, there will be an option for an additional appeal process to which either the offender or the minister can apply. In this process, three different TATC adjudicators will hear evidence to assess the appeal and they will render a final judgment. As always, a final appeal may be made to the Federal Court as an option for the accused.

These review and appeal processes will ensure that when administrative monetary penalties are used to elicit compliance, the process is fair and public.

The addition of the administrative monetary penalty regime will allow for a tiered process of enforcement, ranging from a penalty process through to criminal charges. This tiered process has been designed to be an efficient, effective, and fair process to address issues of non-compliance with the Motor Vehicle Safety Act. This process will reduce the burden on all involved parties in terms of dealing with non-criminal non-compliance.

What has been introduced today is very substantial. It is a powerful suite of necessary changes to the Motor Vehicle Safety Act that will increase the tools, enforcement measures, and industry requirements that will help ensure the safety of Canadians.

These changes are not intended to be punitive to the industry but rather to help protect Canadians. For companies that continue to be good corporate citizens, that have the safety of their consumers and Canadians as part of their core interests, little will change. If companies falter in their responsibilities for their products, the tools will be available for the Minister of Transport to help ensure their accountability and to help protect Canadians.