The Quebec Court of Appeal has granted standing to the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) to intervene in support of a New Brunswick carrier who has been charged with violating Quebec's Code de sécurité routière over the placement of lights on the rear of a trailer. According to the Alliance, the case raises fundamental questions regarding federal versus provincial jurisdiction in motor carrier transport.
The case revolves around a ticket issued in Quebec to Midland Transport for violating the section of the Code that deals with the placement of rear marker lights on the back of a trailer. Midland fought the ticket in provincial court and lost, but argued successfully before the Quebec superior court that as a carrier within federal jurisdiction, it should only be required to conform to technical standards for lighting adopted by the federal government. Quebec is now challenging the superior court decision before the Court of Appeal, the highest court in the province.
"From CTA's point of view, this case raises important constitutional issues which could have enormous consequences for the trucking industry" noted CTA Chief Executive Officer David Bradley. "The appeal court must decide on the constitutional applicability of the relevant section of the provincial Code de sécurité routière on a carrier within federal jurisdiction. It is one thing for provinces to set varying operating requirements for carriers to comply with - but we have always understood that a vehicle manufactured to federal specifications should be free to travel anywhere the country. We are worried that this fundamental principle is at stake."
It is expected that the Court of Appeal will hear the case in the fall of 2006, following the submission of written briefs from the parties.