If you use your 12- or 15-passenger van strictly for personal use, it may be exempted from the requirements that apply to commercial vehicles. Contact your province/territory to determine requirements for personal use.
Your 12- or 15-passenger van may be defined as a commercial bus under the National Safety Code for Motor Carriers, which is a series of guidelines that cover all aspects of commercial driver, vehicle and motor carrier safety. Individual provinces and territories are free to adopt or adapt these guidelines into law. As such, 12- and 15-passenger vans could be subject to a broad range of federal, provincial and territorial acts and regulations that govern commercial transport.
According to these requirements, drivers may need a commercial bus driver’s licence and meet higher medical fitness standards in order to drive these vans. While driving the vans, the drivers may be subject to hours of service work limitations.
The vans should be maintained in accordance with specific instructions established by the manufacturer. Twice a year, the vans may be subject to thorough inspections by specially trained mechanics to meet Provincial and Territorial requirements. Drivers may also have to inspect the van according to specific criteria at least once each day that the van is driven. The vans may also be subject to roadside inspections by provincial and territorial commercial vehicle inspectors.
Motor carriers must obtain a safety fitness certificate, which permits the operation of the vans on public highways. The certificate acknowledges that the motor carrier maintains an ongoing safety rating of its fleet operations, which is based on their safety performance with respect to collisions, convictions and results of commercial driver and vehicle inspections. The motor carrier may, subject to its safety record, also have to undergo a facility audit, which is a site visit by inspectors in order to verify the safety programs, practices and records that are maintained by the motor carrier.