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Operating Status

Carriers that operate commercial vehicles:
  • Solely within Alberta registered for a weight of 11,794 kilograms or greater;
  • Outside of Alberta registered for more than 4,500 kilograms; or
  • Originally designed to seat 11 or more persons including the driver, must obtain a Safety Fitness Certificate that displays the appropriate Operating Status.

Under the Canadian Constitution, an Alberta carrier who operates or intends to operate a truck and/or bus;

  • Outside of Alberta is conducting an extra-provincial undertaking and falls under the jurisdiction of the federal government.  Carriers that fall under federal jurisdiction must comply with the federal Motor Vehicle Transport Act (MVTA) and obtain a Safety Fitness Certificate with a "Federal" Operating Status.
  • Solely within Alberta falls under provincial jurisdiction.  These carriers must comply with Alberta's Traffic Safety Act and obtain a Safety Fitness Certificate with a "Provincial" Operating Status.

Carriers found to be operating outside of Alberta with a Provincial Operating Status are subject to prosecution and/or having their vehicle detained at roadside, and may have their Operating Status changed to Federal by Alberta Transportation.

A carrier with a:

  • Federal Operating Status whose business has changed to the extent that they intend to cease conducting business outside of Alberta may request that their Operating Status be changed to Provincial.  This option is only for those carriers implementing long term changes to their business and may not be used to address short term operational needs.
  • Provincial Operating Status who now intends to operate outside of Alberta must apply for a Federal Operating Status.

Alberta carriers changing their operating status (OS) from “Provincial” to “Federal” will effect the regulatory requirements they must comply with. A summary of the most notable changes are outlined in the following table.

Provincial Operating Status
(provincially regulated)

Federal Operating Status
(federally regulated)

Carrier must obtain a Safety Fitness Certificate with a “Provincial” Operating Status if they operate the following vehicles only within Alberta: 

  • Commercial vehicles that are registered for a weight of 11,794 kilograms or more;
  • Commercial vehicles with a manufacturer’s seating capacity originally designed for 11 or more persons, including the driver.

Note: Farmers are exempt when transporting their own goods using farm-plated vehicles.

 Carrier must obtain a Safety Fitness Certificate with a “Federal” Operating Status if they operate the following vehicles in multiple provinces, territories or states:

  • Commercial vehicles that are registered for a weight of more than 4,500 kilograms;
  • Commercial vehicles with a manufacturer’s seating capacity originally designed for 11 or more persons, including the driver.

Note: No exceptions

Carrier is required to comply with Alberta’s Traffic Safety Act.

 Carrier is required to comply with Canada’s Motor Vehicle Transport Act.

 Carrier must implement a safety program that applies all regulatory requirements to the drivers of vehicles registered for 11,794 kilograms or more. 

 Carrier must implement a safety program that applies all regulatory requirements to the drivers of vehicles registered for more than 4,500 kilograms.

 Carrier must implement a maintenance program that applies all regulatory requirements to vehicles registered for more than 4,500 kilograms.

Note: Not required by provincial carriers who do not operate vehicles registered for 11,794 kilograms or more.

 Carrier must implement a maintenance program that applies all regulatory requirements to vehicles registered for more than 4,500 kilograms.

 Carrier and drivers must comply with the Alberta Drivers’ Hours of Service Regulation.

Carrier and drivers must comply with Canada’s Commercial Vehicle Drivers Hours of Service Regulations.

Note: There are major differences between the provincial and federal hours of service regulations. Carriers and drivers must comply with the appropriate regulation at all times. As the Commercial Vehicle Drivers Hours of Service Regulations are more restrictive, it is critical that carriers understand this prior to operating outside of Alberta as it may have a major impact on their operations.

For more information about federal and provincial regulatory requirements, consult with our Education Manual.

Changing Operating Status

Carriers may apply to change their Operating Status if they are making long term changes to their company. If a carrier changes their Operating Status, they will be required to comply with different regulatory requirements.

Note: Once a carrier is federally regulated, applicable federal legislation applies to all of their NSC regulated vehicles and drivers, including those that never leave Alberta. 

A carrier’s request for a change in Operating Status will be considered if the carrier completes and submits:

For more information, contact Carrier Services.