In addition to recent announcements made in Ontario’s 2016 Budget to eliminate the $30 Drive Clean test fee, the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) is proposing a number of improvements to Ontario’s Drive Clean program that require regulatory changes. MOECC is proposing that Ontario Regulation 361/98 (Motor Vehicles), made under the Environmental Protection Act (O. Reg. 361/98) be amended, and that the Ministry of Transportation bring forward proposed amendments to Regulation 628 (Vehicle Permits), made under the Highway Traffic Act (Regulation 628), to support this proposal. The proposed amendments to these regulations are described below.
Proposed Amendments to O. Reg. 361/98:
MOECC is proposing that O. Reg. 361/98 be amended with respect to:
- conditional passes and the associated repair cost limit for vehicles that fail an emissions test; and
- strengthening provisions relating to Drive Clean inspectors and repair technicians
1. Repair Cost Limit/Conditional Passes
O. Reg. 361/98 describes the conditions under which light-duty vehicles (LDVs) may qualify for a conditional pass in order to allow for a licence plate renewal. A conditional pass provides additional time for vehicle owners to pay for their vehicle to be fully repaired, following a failed emissions test.
Currently, to qualify for a conditional pass, a LDV must have:
- failed an initial Drive Clean test;
- either spent up to $450 (the current “repair cost limit”) in repairs, or had as much work done as possible costing less than $450, at a Drive Clean facility to repair emissions-related problems; and
- failed a re-test.
a) Exclude Diagnostic Fees and Monitor Setting Fees from being counted towards the Repair Cost Limit
Diagnostic fees would not be counted towards the repair cost limit. This includes fees for work associated with performing diagnostic procedures on a vehicle to identify issues and required repairs, including: gathering information, assessing the issue, recommending repairs, estimating costs and performing a retest.
Monitor setting fees would also not be counted towards the repair cost limit. This includes fees for work associated with performing vehicle drive cycles to set on-board diagnostic monitors to a ready state for testing.
This will ensure that more of the money being spent up to the repair cost limit is going towards addressing issues with the vehicle’s emissions control system.
b) Annually adjust the Repair Cost Limit based on the Consumer Price Index
Beginning on January 1, 2018, the repair cost limit would be adjusted every year based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for Ontario, as reported by Statistics Canada.
The amount would be adjusted upwards to the nearest $10. Should there be a decrease in the CPI, the repair cost limit would remain unchanged for that year.
The new repair cost limit for a calendar year would be posted on the government’s website no later than December 31 of the preceding year.
c) Prohibit consecutive conditional passes
Vehicles would not be allowed to receive consecutive conditional passes, and would be required to receive a pass at the next inspection cycle.
2. Drive Clean Inspectors and Repair Technicians
MOECC is proposing to amend O. Reg. 361/98 to give the Director authority to:
a) Give written notice requiring a Drive Clean inspector to retrain if he or she has performed incompetent inspections;
b) Give written notice decertifying a Drive Clean inspector who continues to perform incompetent inspections after being retrained; and
c) Give written notice decertifying a Drive Clean inspector or Drive Clean repair technician who has permitted the creation, distribution or use of a false report.
Proposed Amendments to Regulation 628:
It is proposed that Regulation 628 be amended with respect to requirements for licence plate renewal or when transferring a motor vehicle’s ownership in the following ways:
- removal of the requirement for a Drive Clean Test and emissions inspection report for ownership transfers of LDVs; and,
- applicability of the requirement for a Drive Clean test and emissions inspection report to LDVs registered to islands in Ontario without access to year round ferry service.
3. Drive Clean Test Requirements for Resale of LDVs
A Drive Clean test and emission inspection report would no longer be required before transferring ownership of an LDV. All LDVs will still require their first biennial Drive Clean test for licence plate renewal at 7 years old.
4. Islands without Access to Year Round Ferry Service (Remote Islands)
LDVs registered to islands without access to year round ferry service would not be required to meet the emission testing requirements of the Drive Clean program as a condition of licence plate renewal or when transferring a motor vehicle’s ownership (i.e. resale, proposed to be removed for all LDVs as described above).
The exemption would be limited to islands that:
- have permanent residents,
- have LDVs registered to permanent residents,
- are not connected by road, bridge or causeway to the mainland or another island,
- are only accessible to LDVs through seasonal ferry access, and
- have distinct postal codes that are not shared with the mainland or with another island that does not meet the above criteria.