Trailer Information Guide: Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions: What is the National Safety Mark (NSM) and what are a trailer manufacturer's obligations?

Transport Canada is issuing this list of frequently asked questions to provide background information and further details to assist vehicle manufacturers in understanding their legal responsibilities under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act.

What is the National Safety Mark?

The national safety mark (NSM) is the property of the Government of Canada and its use is authorized by the Minister of Transport to manufacturers of new vehicles offered for sale in Canada. Transport Canada requires the manufacturers that are authorized to affix the mark, to have the capability to certify their vehicle production to comply with the regulations under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act.

National Safety Mark NSM sample - the unique number assigned to a company is to appear in the center of the NSM.

Who needs to apply for a NSM?

Any company who ships from one province to another, or deliver to any person for the purpose of being so shipped, any vehicle or equipment of a prescribed class must apply their NSM number to the vehicle. Also, most provincial Highway Traffic Acts require that a company affix an NSM to all vehicles that they manufacture.

How do I obtain the authorization to affix the NSM?

Complete an application and provide Transport Canada with all of the applicable documentation as outlined in the document entitled “Information required by Transport Canada to authorize the use of the National Safety Mark for trailers.”  Also, it is imperative that an individual within your company is specifically assigned to understand your legal responsibilities associated with manufacturing vehicles.  The individual should be familiar with the applicable Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (CMVSS), certification analysis and procedures, establishing and maintaining certification records, ensuring that the required labels are affixed, etc. 

If you are unsure of the information you are required to submit, or if you need help in determining if your application is complete, various consulting agencies and trade associations can provide you with assistance.

Do I only need to certify one vehicle to get my NSM?

The attached application is designed to assess your company's ability to certify its vehicle production to comply with the applicable CMVSS, by requesting a typical certification “package”. Section 5(1)(g) of the MVSA requires your company to establish and maintain documentation to reflect the compliance status of all your vehicle production. Therefore, it is essential that your company establish a compliance file for each vehicle VIN processed.

What are my obligations as a manufacturer?

As a manufacturer you are required to ensure that all your vehicle production meets all the applicable standards.  Someone in your company must be familiar with the MVSA, Motor Vehicle Regulations (MVSR) and CMVSS.  Also he/she must know where to get all the necessary information regarding the previously mentioned items.  The information can be viewed at the Transport Canada web site.

How do I know what standards my vehicle production must conform to?

You must read Schedule III of the MVSR and look for an “X” in the column that refers to the class of vehicle that your company intends on manufacturing.  Where an “X” is present, you must read the standard and verify if the standard does in fact apply to your vehicle production.   Schedule III and the definitions for the classes of vehicles that Transport Canada regulates, can be viewed at the Transport Canada website under the MVSR section.

How do I compose a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)?

The VIN is composed of 17 characters, where position 9 is a calculated number, which is called a “check digit”.  To calculate the VIN, the World Manufacture Identifier (WMI) code will be required.  You will receive the WMI code once the National Safety Mark has been issued.  More information, on how to calculate position 9, can be found in the Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 115 – Vehicle Identification Number or on the Trailer Info Guide which is located on the Transport Canada web site.  Position 9 (check digit) must be recalculated for every vehicle.

How will I certify my air-braked trailer production?

To properly certify an air-braked trailer your company will need to establish records of testing as indicated in Technical Standard Document (TSD) 121 – Air Braked Systems.  As indicated in TSD 121, a timing test must be performed on the completed vehicle.  If a company does not have the necessary equipment to perform a timing test on each trailer, the company may test each model of trailer that they manufacture.  In this case, each timing test must have associated with it a detailed plumbing schematic that indicates the following: hose location, hose size, hose length, valve and fitting location, valve and fitting type and types of brake chambers.  When manufacturing a trailer, the company must follow the original engineering drawing to which the original timing test is associated.  If this practice is to be adopted by the trailer manufacturer, the company should update their records by performing periodic timing tests.

The trailer must also meet the parking brake requirements of TSD 121.  Records of testing must be established as evidence of the parking brake system capabilities.  If you are unsure of the information you are required to submit, or if you need help in determining if your application is complete, various consulting agencies and trade associations can provide you with assistance.

What is CMVSS 905 – Trailer Cargo Anchoring Devices?

CMVSS 905 – Trailer Cargo Anchoring Devices applies to every trailer that is designed to carry cargo, with a GVWR of 10 000 kg or more, a load-carrying mainframe and loading deck and no permanent sides or roof, such as a flatbed trailer, heavy hauler trailer, industrial trailer, lowbed trailer or drop-center trailer.

To demonstrate compliance with CMVSS 905, every trailer shall, for the purpose of affixing cargo, be equipped with at least the number of cargo anchoring devices determined in accordance with the formula, N=M/2000 kg. 

Also, the anchoring devices must be tested in accordance with Test Method (TM) 905 – Trailer Cargo Anchoring Devices.  To demonstrate compliance with TM 905, you will need to provide evidence that the load cell was calibrated, evidence that the vertical load of 67,000 N or (15,056 lbs) was reached within two minutes of commencing the application of the force and that the vertical load was maintained at 67,000 N or (15,056 lbs) for 15 seconds.  The tests prescribed by TM 905 may be performed on either a completed trailer or on a fixture that accurately simulates a cargo anchoring device when it is installed on a trailer.

Companies should ensure that their certification tests are conducted at levels slightly higher than the standard to allow for equipment limitations and manufacturing tolerances.

How long does it take to get a NSM?

The time it takes to process a NSM application depends on the quality of the application provided. Complete applications will be processed sooner than applications with missing information. Complete NSM applications may take four to six weeks.