Establishing a consent agreement under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act


This document is meant for any person or company who is regulated by the:

  • Motor Vehicle Safety Act
  • Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations
  • Motor Vehicle Tire Safety Regulations, or
  • Motor Vehicle Restraint Systems and Booster Seats Safety Regulations


This document is meant to serve as a guide to the development of a consent agreement under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act (MVSA).

In this document:


A consent agreement is a tool that Transport Canada can use to enforce the Motor Vehicle Safety Act. The Motor Vehicle Safety Act was amended in 2018 to introduce this authority under Section 16.01.

Read the consent agreement section of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act

Transport Canada can enter into a consent agreement with a person or company that has, or we believe to have, violated the Act or its regulations. These agreements are more flexible and efficient than fines or court, which means that have better and quicker safety benefits for Canadians. 

The Minister or Transport can choose to use a consent agreement instead of pursuing prosecution or issuing an administrative monetary penalty (not yet in force). The Minister decides whether to enter into a consent agreement on a case-by-case basis. They base their decision on factors like whether:

  • The entity agrees that they contravened the MVSA or its regulations
  • The entity is open to a consent agreement instead of conventional enforcement actions
  • a consent agreement makes sense, based on the severity of the violation
  • an agreement is likely to bring the contravening entity into compliance faster than using another enforcement tool
  • The compliance history justifies using a consent agreement. In other words, is this the first offence, or are there multiple offences?
  • a consent agreement will make them less likely to re-violate, compared to traditional enforcement tools

In general, we don't suggest a consent agreement when it would be best to issue a warning.  Our decision to take enforcement action follows a process that takes many factors into consideration to ensure the action is commensurate with the offence or violation.  This process is the same in other transportation modes of Transport Canada, and uses seven factors to rate the severity of the non-compliance.

In the agreement, the entity and Transport Canada would agree to specific terms and conditions, like ways to:

  • address the safety risks posed by the violation
  • promote a safety culture, and
  • deter future violations of the Act and regulations

The agreement can't proceed until both parties are satisfied with the terms and conditions.

Once completed, consent agreements are registered in court, after which they are binding.

Not following an agreement's terms and conditions would violate a Federal Court Order, and could be enforced in Federal Court.

A consent agreement will be tailored to the unique circumstances of the violation or offense. It could include:

  • a corrective action plan: a plan that explains how the contravening entity will correct the non-compliance (issue) and keep it from happening again, including timelines
  • Penalties: financial penalties to punish the original violation and discourage it from happening again
  • reporting or follow-up obligations: require that the contravening entity provide regular updates on how it is meeting the timelines and conditions of the agreement
  • concessions: actions like changing a company's safety culture or running a safety campaign. This may help reduce fines if conditions are met within the timelines that are set
  • other requirements: actions to reduce risks to the public or deal with the non-compliance (issue)


If you or your company violate the Act or its regulations, here is how a consent agreement would be established.

  1. Identify

    You report the non-compliance (violation) to Transport Canada, or we find it. 

  2. Assess

    We assess the non-compliance (violation) through our graduated enforcement approach and decide if a consent agreement is a good option. If so, we will propose this option to you. At any time in this process, you can also suggest a consent agreement.

  3. Discuss and draft

    We will negotiate basic terms and conditions, and draft a preliminary consent agreement. In some cases, we may re-use existing consent agreements.

    If we can't agree on terms and conditions, then Transport Canada may use other traditional enforcement tools instead.

  4. Your review

    You will receive a draft of the consent agreement for review. Consent agreements are time-sensitive, so you may be given a tight deadline for your review.

  5. Register and publish

    If both you and Transport Canada agree, the agreement will be signed by the Minister of Transport and registered in Federal Court.

    The consent agreement will also be published online, or some other way that the Minister believes is appropriate.

  6. Implement and monitor

    You put in place the terms of the agreement, and Transport Canada will monitor your progress. Both you and Transport Canada can change the agreement's terms and conditions at any time, as long as the updated agreement is filed and registered in Federal Court.

  7. Non-compliance to Consent Agreement

    Once the agreement is registered with the Federal Court, it becomes a court order. The court will decide the consequences if you don't follow the terms of the order.

Contact us

Send questions about this process to Transport Canada's Multimodal and Road Safety Programs.


Telephone: 1-800-333-0371 (toll-free) or 1-613-998-8616