The Minister of Transport has made a preliminary determination that, in the interest of safety, it may be necessary to order 2000007 ONT. INC., doing business as Inkas, to correct non-compliance to the Motor Vehicle Safety Act in relation to two 2015 Mobility Ventures MV-1 vehicles that were altered by Inkas in 2016.
This notice explains events leading to today's action, details Transport Canada's authority to make this determination, and invites public comments or additional information the Minister should take into account in making a final decision.
Should the Minister's final decision be to proceed with an order, Inkas will be required to correct the non-compliance in both vehicles, in accordance with the requirements of the Act and Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations.
This is the second preliminary determination that has been made in relation to Inkas. On December 10th, 2020, Transport Canada published a preliminary determination relating to the same two vehicles, for the purpose of ordering Inkas to give notice of the non-compliance (commonly referred to as a recall) in accordance with the requirements of the regulations.
Both the previous determination and this one relate to the vehicles' Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). Under the paragraph 9(1)(a.1) of the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations, companies that alter vehicles can only increase a vehicle's GVWR in accordance with the original manufacturer's written recommendations, or within the load-carrying capacity of the vehicle's components when the altered vehicle is loaded for its intended use. Alterers are otherwise required to respect the GVWR of the vehicle recommended by the original manufacturer. In 2016, Inkas had increased the two vehicles' GVWR from 2,993 kg to 3,286 kg in non-compliance to these requirements.
During the comment period for the December 10th preliminary determination, Inkas voluntarily gave notice of the non-compliance, making a Minister's order to issue such notice unnecessary. In their notice, Inkas indicated that the non-compliance had been accidental in nature, and indicated that they would recall the vehicles and address the non-compliance by:
- Reducing the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating from 3286 kg to the original manufacturer MV-1's rating of 2993 kg;
- Reducing the vehicles' designated seating capacity from 6 occupants to 3;
- Updating vehicle labelling to reflect these changes.
Inkas reported to Transport Canada that it had made the changes described above to both vehicles in early 2021. Following this, Transport Canada inspectors examined the vehicles and found that:
- Inkas had not taken any action to limit the vehicles' seating capacity. When assessed in accordance with the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations, the vehicles were found to have four seating positions, and three wheelchair tie-down positions which can all be used simultaneously, resulting in a designated seating capacity of 7
- While Inkas had affixed revised labelling to the vehicles, some of the original manufacturers' labels remained, indicating a seating capacity of 6
In addition to these findings, Transport Canada determined that Inkas's action to reduce the vehicle's GVWR had failed to address the non-compliance identified in their Notice of Non-Compliance.
In accordance with section 5.2 of the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations, a vehicle's GVWR shall be not less than the sum of
- the unloaded vehicle mass
- the cargo-carrying capacity
- the product obtained by multiplying the designated seating capacity by 68 kg
During Transport Canada's inspection, both vehicles were weighed in various configurations, with 68 kg of weight placed at various seating positions and wheelchair locations. Transport Canada inspectors found the vehicles to weigh more than their GVWR in several loading configurations.
Transport Canada shared its findings with Inkas on April 27th, 2021, indicating that the corrective actions taken did not address the non-compliance detailed in their notice of non-compliance, and addressed in the December 10th preliminary determination.
Why this poses a safety risk
The vehicles, in their present state, have a seating capacity of 7. Transport Canada's inspection concluded that transporting this number of occupants would cause the vehicles to be overloaded beyond their revised gross vehicle weight rating by a large margin. Even when operated with a seating capacity of 3, it was found that the vehicles would be likely to be overloaded in use. Furthermore the vehicles bear confusing labelling which makes their actual seating capacity unclear. An overloaded vehicle may be unsafe to operate and put occupants and other road users at risk.
As a result, the Minister of Transport is making a preliminary determination that:
- Two 2015 MV-1 vehicles were altered by Inkas in non-compliance with the Motor Vehicle Safety Act
- Inkas has failed to correct the non-compliance through its January 14th, 2021, notice of non-compliance
- In the interest of safety, it may be necessary to order Inkas to correct the non-compliance, in accordance with any terms and conditions specified in the order
The public and the company are invited to provide relevant comments or additional information to the Minister in order to help reach a final decision as to whether or not it is necessary to order the company to correct the non-compliance under subsection 10.5 of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act. If such an order is given, the company would be required to correct the non-compliance in accordance with subsection 10.51 of the Act by:
- Repairing the vehicles, including by adding to, removing anything from or modifying the vehicle or equipment, as the circumstances require;
- Replacing the vehicles with reasonable equivalents;
- Reimbursing the sale price of the vehicles, less reasonable depreciation in the case where the vehicles have been sold to the first retail purchaser, on return of the vehicles.
The comment period has been extended. Comments may now be submitted by October 18, 2021.
How to comment
Comments may be submitted to Transport Canada by email at: email@example.com.