Recent Legislative and Regulatory Changes

Vehicle Weights and Dimensions on Classes of Highways Regulation - Updates and Alignment

Amendments to the Vehicle Weights and Dimensions on Classes of Highways Regulation came into force on July 21, 2023.  

The amendments support Manitoba’s heavy vehicle operators by aligning Manitoba’s law with changes to the National Memorandum of Understanding on Vehicle Weights and Dimensions (MOU) that increase the maximum length of vehicles equipped with an automatic tarp, and give an extra 225 kg weight allowance for vehicles equipped with an auxiliary power unit. Another change that reflects the MOU and keeps Manitoba current with industry standards increases the maximum allowable length of fifth-wheel recreational trailers to 14.65 metres (48 feet). 

The changes also align Manitoba’s pilot vehicle requirements with neighbouring provinces, require pilot vehicle signage to be secure, and updates the classifications of Manitoba highways. 

Bill 21 (2023) The Highway Traffic Amendment Act – This bill was passed on May 30, 2023 to address recommendations from a 2019 Office of the Auditor General report on the oversight of commercial vehicle safety.

Once proclaimed, amendments will enable stronger enforcement actions to be take against so-called “chameleon carriers” that shut down and reopen new company name to avoid complying with safety regulations by: 

  • Allowing officials to refuse or revoke a commercial vehicle operator’s Safety Fitness Certificate (SFC) if they are known to be affiliated with a chameleon carrier.  
  • Allowing officials to assign a new operator a conditional safety rating if there are known safety issues with that carrier. Previously, all new carriers were given a satisfactory unaudited safety rating. 
  • Providing a process for commercial vehicle operators that believe they have been unfairly identified as a chameleon carrier to appeal to the License Suspension Appeal Board (LSAB).  

Other changes made by the bill include: 

  • Requiring operators to obtain the driving records of all of their drivers every 12 months and review those records within 30 days to determine if the driver is fit to continue to drive for the operator  
  • Requiring drivers of commercial vehicles operating under an SFC to carry a copy of that certificate while driving.  

Bill 46 (2022) The Highway Traffic Amendment Act (Closed Roads) – This bill was passed on November 3, 2022 and came into force on July 1, 2023. Bill 46 amends the Highway Traffic Act to strengthen existing legislation prohibiting driving on a closed road by creating specific offences for driving, or instructing a person to drive, on a closed road. This is intended to deter motorists who ignore road closure signs and barricades, and proceed to use roads closed due to severe weather, flooding, construction, collisions, or other hazards.  

Drivers who commit these offences can face fines ranging from $298 for light vehicle drivers to $1,296 for heavy vehicle operators.  

Highway Traffic (General) Regulation Amendments - Recreational Vehicles - Amendments under the Highway Traffic (General) Regulation came into effect on July 1, 2023.  

The changes modernize the safety requirements and standards for recreational vehicles (RVs), including motor homes, travel trailers and park model trailers. The amendments align Manitoba’s RV safety regulation with other Canadian jurisdictions by requiring RVs sold in Manitoba to have an approval mark confirming that the RV complies with CSA or equivalent safety standards.  

Bill 28 (2021) The Water Resource Administration Amendment Act – This bill came into force on June 30, 2023, along with two new regulations, the Provincial Water Infrastructure Permit Exemptions Regulation and the Contracts Regulation, as well as minor amendments to the Designated Reservoir Area Regulation.   

Originally passed in May 20, 2021, Bill 21 provides government with increased powers to manage and protect provincial water infrastructure, including strengthened enforcement. Damage to provincial water infrastructure can create a public safety hazard and cause additional public costs for the operation and maintenance of provincial water infrastructure.  

The amendments help to manage and protect provincial water infrastructure by: 

  • Establishing clear prohibitions against damaging or impairing the function of provincial water infrastructure. 
  • Establishing a requirement for a permit for activities that are likely to interfere with or damage provincial water infrastructure (e.g., construction or removal of fill). 
  • Empowering the Minister to issue a repair or removal order to a person for activities or developments that harm or damage provincial water infrastructure. 
  • Allowing for regulations to restrict public access to provincial water infrastructure, or parts thereof. Temporary access restrictions, to account for temporary or seasonal public safety hazards, can be implemented by ministerial order for up to 90 days. 
  • Increasing the maximum penalties that the courts may impose for offences. 

Other changes made by the bill include: 

  • Modernizing contracting rules to be consistent with other legislation in Manitoba. 
  • Expanding authority to enter into agreements for construction and operation of water control works, prior to the amendment government could only enter into agreements with local authorities. 
  • Expansion of regulation making powers. 

Bill 21 (2022) The Highway Traffic Amendment Act and Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation Amendment Act – The sections of the Bill related to new vehicle pilot projects were passed and came into effect June 1, 2022. The Shared Streets section came into effect June 30, 2023, with associated regulation changes to add appropriate signage. The Bill made two major changes: 

Bill 21 enables Manitoba to create regulations for pilot testing new vehicle types on Manitoba roads. New vehicle types, such as electric kick scooters and other small personal transportation devices, are becoming more prevalent as Manitobans look for energy-efficient, cost-effective transportation methods. A by-law would be required in municipalities interested in pilot testing devices on their roads after Manitoba has passed a regulation for a specific device. These pilot projects will be intended to regulate the use of new devices in a safe, responsible way. 

The Shared Streets concept was created in response to the public’s desire to use existing roadways for pedestrian use and improve recreation space. On a Shared Street, drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and other users have equal priority and share the road. A Shared Street must not have a speed limit more than 20 km/h. Shared Streets will be designated by municipalities and may be permanent or temporary. 

Bill 20 (2021) The Vehicle Technology Testing Act (various Acts Amended) – The Bill passed and came into force May 20, 2021. Regulations and the associated permit process are in development. 

Various levels of automated vehicle technology, from driver assistance systems to full automated driving, are in development around the world. The Bill allows Manitoba to create regulations and a permit process to issue technology testing permits for testing new vehicle technologies with limitations. Under a technology testing permit, a vehicle or a new vehicle technology can be exempted from certain highway traffic law requirements.