Update Evaluation of Transport Canada’s Road Safety Transfer Payments Program (RSTPP)

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Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations

ADM-Policy
Assistant Deputy Minister – Policy Group
CTA
Canadian Transportation Agency
CCMTA
Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators
CMV
Commercial Motor Vehicle
CTA
Canadian Trucking Alliance
CVSA
Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance
FTE
Full-time equivalent
MVTA
Motor Vehicle Transport Act
NSC
National Safety Code
TC
Transport Canada
TRAID
Traffic Accident Information Database
TPP
Transfer Payment Program

Executive Summary

Responsibility for motor carrier and commercial driver safety is shared between the federal government and the Provinces and Territories. The federal government is responsible for extra-provincial truck and bus carriers (i.e. those that cross a provincial, territorial or international boundary).

Through contributions to Provinces and Territories and the CCMTA, Transport Canada supports the implementation of the Safety Fitness Framework - a subset of four of the fifteen National Safety Code standards.

Expenditures are set at $4.4 million annually with $50,000 allocated to the CCMTA for the educational component. Since the program began in 1987 TC has provided over $105 million in funding support to Provinces and Territories for the implementation of the National Safety Code.

The evaluation found that the Program supports the Motor Vehicle Transport Act (MVTA) objective of ensuring consistency in extra-provincial motor vehicle safety oversight. The evaluation also found that the Provinces and Territories have fully adopted the Safety Fitness Framework and that they were continuing to exchange collision, inspection and conviction information. An apparent decrease in the exchange of conviction since 2006-2007 was noted, which may indicate issues regarding consistency in application of the Safety Fitness Framework.

{ATIP Removed}

Introduction

The Road Safety Transfer Payments Program includes three components: the Motor Carrier Safety Program (funded previously under the National Safety Code contribution program); the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators Education and Quality Assurance Team Programs; and the Road Safety Outreach program.

This evaluation covers the first two components, but not the outreach component, which was not funded by TC during the current agreement period.  

Profile

The National Safety Code is a comprehensive code of performance standards for the safe operation of commercial vehicles (motor carriers and buses). Fifteen standards make up the Code with the goal of encouraging truck and bus safety, promoting efficiency in the motor carrier industry, and ensuring the implementation of consistent safety standards across Canada. The standards continue to be developed through the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, an umbrella organization of federal, provincial, and territorial governments, industry and public interest representatives.

Since 2001, Transport Canada has had contribution agreements with each of the Provinces and Territories and the CCMTA to support implementation of the Safety Fitness Framework - a subset of four of the fifteen National Safety Code standards (#7, #12, #14.Footnote1 and #15). Under the current Terms and Conditions, the recipients conduct facility audits and inspections of extra-provincial commercial carriers and report back on the four standards that make up the Safety Fitness Framework. Under a different contribution agreement, the CCMTA’s Education and Quality Assurance Team is responsible for managing the national program for the certification of instructors and inspectors, including the development and distribution of Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) educational material.  

Funding and Delivery

The current contribution agreement period is from 2009-2010 to 2014-2015. Expenditures are set at $4.4 million annually with $50,000 allocated to the CCMTA for the educational component. Since the program began in 1987 TC has provided over $105 million in funding support through Contribution Agreements to Provinces and Territories.

Within Transport Canada, the Program was previously delivered through the Motor Carrier Safety Directorate of the Safety and Security Group. Following the centralization of Transport Canada’s delivery of its grants and contributions programs in 2011, the processing and approval of claims were transferred to the Surface Infrastructure Programs Directorate while the responsibility for the provision of technical advice and guidance remained with the Motor Carrier Safety DirectorateFootnote2.

Program Logic Model

Figure 1: Logic Model for the NSC Contribution Program
ACTIVITY AREAS / OUTPUTS PROGRAM REACH IMMEDIATE OUTCOME INTERMEDIATE OUTCOMES ULTIMATE OUTCOMES

Contribution Agreements with jurisdictions

Manage and assess program performance in relation to the Contribution Agreements

Provide leadership to provinces and territories in:

a) harmonizing the implementation of safety fitness framework across Canada

b) simplifying the regulation of extra- provincial/territorial motor carriers

Provincial Territorial Governments or their agent or instrumentality

Motor Carrier Industry

Canadian Public

Jurisdictions adopt and enforce the safety fitness framework

Increased jurisdictional cooperation

Motor Carriers in all jurisdictions operate under uniform safety standards

Increased levels of national motor carrier transportation safety

Increased levels of national motor carrier transportation efficiency

Evaluation Approach

In 2009, a comprehensive evaluation was conducted that resulted in the renewal of the program. Since then, the primary components of the program have not undergone any changes. Given the program’s low materiality and low risk, the scope of the study is therefore limited to reviewing the continued relevance of the program and updating the key findings on performance of the 2009 evaluation.

To conduct the evaluation, relevant documents, such as contribution agreements and annual reports from recipients were reviewed. Program staff were consulted to validate updated figures and findings. Representatives from the Provinces and Territories were not interviewed as they were in 2009. A review of various program documents confirmed that their views on the program have not changed since the 2009 evaluation.

Findings on Relevance

Evaluators examined TC’s role with respect to inter-provincial motor vehicle safety, the program’s alignment with government priorities and with TC’s strategic outcomes, including alignment with relevant policy frameworks, and the on-going need for the program.

Alignment with Federal Roles and Responsibilities and Priorities

Responsibility for motor carrier and commercial driver safety is shared between the federal government and the provinces/territories. The federal government is responsible for extra-provincial truck and bus carriers (i.e. those that cross a provincial, territorial or international boundary), while the provinces/territories have sole responsibility for intra-provincial truck and bus carriers, those whose operations are entirely within a province or territoryFootnote3.

The Program continues to align with TC’s strategic outcome of a safe and secure transportation system and contributes to TC’s objective of “highest possible safety and security of life and property ...” In the current TC Program Alignment Architecture, the Program falls under Motor Vehicle Safety (P 3.4).

While motor carrier safety has not been mentioned in recent Speeches from the Throne, the safety of the overall transportation system has been mentioned several times and is clearly a priority for the Government.

Ongoing Rationale for the Program

Finding 1:

The program is aligned with the Motor Vehicle Transport Act objective of ensuring consistency in extra-provincial motor vehicle safety oversight.

Consistency with respect to standards that apply to extra-provincial motor vehicle activities is an objective set out in the Motor Vehicle Transport Act (MVTA). It is expected that the adoption and enforcement of the Safety Fitness Framework by the Provinces and Territories will contribute to this objective.

Previous evaluations (2009, 2004) noted a strong consensus amongst stakeholders and in TC regarding the involvement of the federal government in the development of all NSC safety regulations and enforcement because of the national scope of the program. However, the 2009 evaluation also noted a growing dissatisfaction amongst the recipients regarding the level of funding provided by the federal government as representatives from the Provinces and Territories expressed the opinion that the federal government did not contribute its appropriate share of the costs for implementing the regulations.

A review of program documents summarizing ongoing feedback from recipients shows that these views have persisted. {ATIP Removed}

However, an examination of the activities conducted by Provinces and Territories on TC’s behalf for the period assessed did not reveal significant evidence or indications that this reported discontent had a negative impact on the implementation of the current contribution agreements. Provinces and Territories have completed the timely implementation of the four NSC standards that make up the SFF (e.g. facility audits, information sharing, etc.), as per the agreements.

Therefore, despite dissatisfaction amongst recipients regarding funding levels, TC has been able to advance the national consistency objective by virtue of the fact that Provinces and Territories have conducted the activities they have committed to in the contribution agreements.

Findings on Performance

This section presents findings on short term and long-term outcomes of the program. It also provides information regarding economy and efficiency being achieved in delivering the program.

Direct outcomes

The immediate outcome expected from this program is that jurisdictions adopt and enforce the Safety Fitness Framework.

Finding 2:

All jurisdictions have adopted and enforced the Safety Fitness Framework.

The adoption and enforcement of the SFF was measured through an assessment of information and data included in the Annual Performance Reports submitted to TC between 2009 and 2013 by each jurisdiction as required by the contribution agreements. In table 1 below, a “yes” indicates that a jurisdiction has fully implemented and reported on the requirements for the standard in question for that year.

The 2009 evaluation reported ten of the twelve jurisdictions had fully adopted the SFF and the territories were in the process of doing so. The current evaluation found that all twelve jurisdictions have fully adopted the SFF and they are reporting annually on:

  • the number of convictions, accidents and inspections for the period (NSC #7)
  • the number of CVSA roadside inspections conducted on extra-provincial motor carriers (NSC #12)
  • the number of new safety certificates issued to extra-provincial trucks and buses (NSC #14)
  • the number of facility audits conducted on extra-provincial trucks and buses (NSC #15)

Only three of the 48 data points were missing over the four years for the twelve jurisdictions.

Table 1: Submission of Safety Fitness Framework Data by Jurisdiction,
2009-10 to 2012-13
Year NSC Standard Jurisdiction # Provinces
and
Territories
who
reported
fully
    BC AB SK MB ON QC NB NS PEI NL NWT YK  
2009-10                            
    NSC #7 yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY 12
NSC #12 yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY 12
NSC #14 yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY noN yesY yesY yesY yesY 11
NSC #15 yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY 12
2010-11                            
    NSC #7 yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY 12
NSC #12 yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY 12
NSC #14 yesY noN yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY 11
NSC #15 yesY noN yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY 11
2011-12                            
    NSC #7 yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY 12
NSC #12 yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY 12
NSC #14 yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY 12
NSC #15 yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY 12
2012-13                            
    NSC #7 yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY 12
NSC #12 yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY 12
NSC #14 yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY 12
NSC #15 yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY yesY 12

Standard #14 primarily requires each jurisdiction to issue safety fitness certificates to their inter-provincial motor vehicles (buses and trucks). Jurisdictional performance reports state that this was done (see table 2 below). Quebec issued the largest number of certificates, followed closely by Ontario, then British Columbia (BC) and Alberta.

Table 2: New Safety Certificates Issued to Extra-provincial carriers by Year and Jurisdiction, 2009-10 to 2012-13
Jurisdiction Total New Safety Certificates

 

2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13
BC

357

402

356

632

AB

564

328

392

399

SK

133

230

141

119

MB

87

92

130

135

ON

887

846

847

764

QC

767

811

1038

1154

NB

73

78

49

54

NS

51

13

15

33

PEI

15

24

19

21

NL

526*

7

8

5

NWT

11

7

22

8

YK

19

15

16

9

Total

2985

2853

3033

3333

*Includes both intra and extra provincial carriers

Standard #15 requires jurisdictions to carry out Facility Audits. Jurisdictional performance reports state that this was done (see table 3 below), although jurisdictions reported inspections of all carriers and not only extra-provincial carriers.

Table 3: Facility Audits & CVSA Inspections by Jurisdiction and Year,
2009-10 to 2012-13
  2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13  
Jurisdiction Extra-
prov audits
Total Inspections* Extra-
prov audits
Total inspections Extra-
prov audits
Total inspection Extra-
prov audits
Total inspection Extra-
prov audits
All CVSA inspections
BC 205 27382 251 26089 253 27762 190 31865 899 113091
AB 182 32013 n/a 36,720 377 32119 368 32771 927 133623
SK 129 17860 30 15218 13 13052 49 9943 221 56073
MB 48 7494 56 6189 58 4837 62 3541 224 22061
ON 237 104120 200 95,513 211 102807 269 102651 917 382858
QC 92 87540 229 77126 99 10654 69 65204 489 240524
NB 65 28991 94 29808 98 26452 155 25729 412 111070
NS 31 7502 12 10545 25 10618 7 7987 75 36652
PEI 13 2160 13 3837 13 1759 13 1521 52 9277
NL 28 1748

20

1986 22 1765 20 1636 90 7135
NWT 0 892 3 535 2 635 1 1021 6 3283
YK 3 909 4 782 7 892 7 801 21 3384
Total 1033 318611 912 304348 1178 233352 1210 284670 4333 1118748

*Audits reported only for extra provincial carriers but inspections reported on all carriers.

{ATIP Removed}

Finding 4:

All jurisdictions are exchanging collision, inspection and conviction information, but the exchange of conviction data appears to have decreased from the levels observed by the 2009 evaluation, which may indicate issues regarding the consistent application of SFF.

The NSC component of the program is also expected to result in jurisdictional cooperation. Exchange of information between jurisdictions is an indicator of such cooperation. All twelve jurisdictions have been reporting annually on the number of collisions, convictions and inspections transmitted to and received from other jurisdictionsFootnote4 (see table 5 below), although the level of conviction data exchange appears to have decreased.

For the period assessed, jurisdictions transmitted on average 211,463 reportable events to other Canadian and American jurisdictions, with a peak in 2011-12 of 243,395 and a low of 128,522 in 2012-13. On average, 122,611 reportable events were received by jurisdictions, with a high in 2010-11 of 134,046 and a low in 2012-13 of 110,635Footnote5.

Table 4: Number of events transmitted and received by Jurisdiction and Year,
2009-10 to 2012-13

 

Total events transmitted
2009-10
Total events transmitted
2010-11
Total events transmitted
2011-12
Total events transmitted
2012-13
Total events received
2009-10
Total events received
2010-11
Total events received
2011-12
Total events received
2012-13
BC

12010

10414

11367

10824

20147

19297

15992

18511

AB

62544

60,525

60641

38310

18646

23,238

23453

20301

SK

12140

11112

16038

11423

21096

15048

15798

15755

MB

9805

1943

2431

1320

14604

15498

12993

13854

ON

21352

18949

20847

25415

14445

14213

16928

7452

QC

9625

24804

9934

14095

9580

26300

17228

15490

NB

15843

13519

17230

14652

14653

14763

11991

11616

NS

8645

1866

12094

10110

6008

2250

5938

4917

PEI

363

298

237

228

701

1227

946

813

NL

1016

732

760

649

1484

1354

1216

932

NWT

777

1017

476

781

782

690

659

796

YK

652

519

689

715

262

168

212

198

Total for year

154772

145698

152744

128522

122408

134046

123354

110635

However, there seems to be a decline in the number of convictions being exchanged. The 2009 evaluation noted the significant increase in this area - nearly doubling between 2003-2004 and 2005-2006 from 68,825 to 137,263, as further evidence that funding provided by TC had facilitated exchange of information between jurisdictions. The revised figures show a decrease in the number of convictions being exchanged. In 2012-2013, 62,607 convictions were transmitted and 31,865 were received. The program managers could not identify an explanation for the decrease but were of the opinion that it was not indicative of lesser cooperation between jurisdictions. We do note that the way the exchange of conviction data is measured for the 2009 evaluation and the current evaluation may differ. The 2009 evaluation counts “recorded and exchanged” conviction data. The data available for the current evaluation is tabulated as “number of convictions transmitted” and “number of convictions received”. However, even the total of these two categories would indicate a decrease from the 2009 levels.

Increased levels of motor vehicle safety

In the long-term, the RSTPP is expected to contribute to the safety of the motor vehicle sector. Since 2007, the number of commercial vehicles involved in reportable traffic collisions that resulted in at least one fatality has been decreasing. There were 557 such collisions in 2007. By 2011Footnote6, that number was down to 422, a decrease of 24.2%. Similarly, there was a 16% decrease in the number of commercial vehicles involved in reportable traffic collisions that resulted in personal injury; however there was no change in the number of such collisions between 2009 and 2011.

Table 5: Number of commercial vehicles involved in reportable traffic collisions, by year and collision severity 2007-2011
Collision
Severity
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Variance
2007 - 2011
Fatal

557

478

423

418

422

-24.2%

Personal Injury

11,480

10,715

9,215

9,546

9,645

-16%

As noted in previous evaluations, it is virtually impossible to link the NSC and the SFF to the safety performance of commercial vehicles. The direct contribution of the NSC to carrier safety is difficult to ascertain because many variables (e.g. road conditions, weather, vehicle maintenance, new technologies, etc.) influence the state of road safety in Canada. It is difficult, if not impossible, to assess the impact of one particular element. The decrease in the numbers of collisions involving commercial vehicles with serious consequences has to be viewed in the context of the overall improvement of motor vehicle safety in Canada in the same period (see table 7 below). 2011 marked the first year that the fatality rate per 10,000 registered vehicles (of 0.90) fell below 1.0Footnote7. It is therefore challenging to measure the extent to which the advances made in the implementation of the SFF contributed to improving motor vehicle safety performance.

Table 6: Collisions involving motor vehicles 2007-2011
Year Fatal Personal Injury

2007

2,462

138,612

2008

2,192

127,678

2009

2,011

123,516

2010

2,026

123,141

2011

1,834

121,159

Source: TC National Collision Database (NCDB)

Economy and Efficiency

Since the 2009 evaluation, TC has streamlined its administrative processes in the delivery of its grants and contributions programs by centralizing program management and delivery, including claims approval and processing.

Although no official analysis has been undertaken to quantify the savings achieved, the centralization of G&C delivery to the Programs Group has generally allowed for gains in efficiency due to greater consistency, increased compliance, experienced personnel, and established business processes. Many of the tools and processes required to deliver a contribution program have already been developed and applied in the Programs Group and are based on best practices that are supported by a significant pool of knowledge and experience.

Conclusions

While there is a view that the perceived inadequacy of funding levels has been making it increasingly challenging for TC to exercise influence in driving consistency in extra-provincial motor vehicle safety oversight, TC has been able to advance this objective through contribution agreements with Provinces and Territories.

The contribution programs contributed to all jurisdictions adopting and enforcing the Safety Fitness Framework. The evaluation found that all twelve jurisdictions had fully adopted the Safety Fitness Framework. Although all jurisdictions were exchanging collision, inspection and conviction information, the exchange of conviction data appears to have decreased over the last five years, which may indicate issues regarding the consistent application of SFF.

{ATIP Removed}

Management Action Plan

To address the recommendation presented in this evaluation, the following action plan will be implemented:

{ATIP Removed}

Annex 1: Road Safety Transfer Payments Program Resources

  2009-2010* 2010-2011 2011-2012 2012-2013 2013-2014 2014-15
  Planned Actual Planned Actual Planned Actual Planned Actual Planned Actual Planned
Total O&M 10,000 10,000 10,000 10,000 10,000 10,000 10,000 3,377 10,000 3,751 42,975
Salary 10,000 10,000 10,000 10,000 10,000 10,000 0 3,377 0 3,751 33,850
OOC 0 0 0 0 0 0 10,000 0 10,000 0 9,125
G&C 250,000 239,203 9,136,000 9,086,218 4,692,681 4,686,789 4,442,681 4,442,284 4,442,681 4,440,264 4,442,681
Total 260,000 249,203 9,146,000 9,096,218 4,702,681 4,696,789 4,452,681 4,445,661 4,452,681 4,444,015 4,485,656
  S&S S&S S&S S&S S&S S&S PROGRAMS PROGRAMS PROGRAMS PROGRAMS PROGRAMS

Footnotes

Footnote 1

NSC #14 includes data from NSC standards (e.g. #9, #10)

Return to footnote 1 referrer

Footnote 2

Operating funding amounting to $10,000 annually is transferred from Safety and Security group to Programs group starting in fiscal year 2012-13 to cover the management of contribution agreements.

Return to footnote 2 referrer

Footnote 3

Joint responsibility was established as a consequence of the 1954 “Winner” decision where the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council of Canada ruled that not only did the federal government have jurisdiction over extra-provincial motor transport, but also the intra-provincial operations of any company engaged in extra-provincial transport. Federal jurisdiction therefore extended to all carriers whose vehicles, at any time cross or had crossed a provincial or international boundary.

Return to footnote 3 referrer

Footnote 4

Measured through the annual claim reports where jurisdictions reported on the number of reportable events they transmitted and received from other Canadian and American jurisdictions.

Return to footnote 4 referrer

Footnote 5

These figures include reportable events received from participating US states.

Return to footnote 5 referrer

Footnote 6

The most recent available to the 2009 evaluation consisted of incidents involving fatalities and injuries up to 2005. For the current evaluation, there is data available up to 2011.

Return to footnote 6 referrer

Footnote 7

http://www.tc.gc.ca/media/documents/roadsafety/TrafficCollisionStatisitcs_2011.pdf

Return to footnote 7 referrer

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