Commercial drivers require a higher level of fitness because of the nature of their cargo, types of vehicles being driven, nature of physical work, exposure due to significant number of kilometres driven and the consequences of a collision involving a large vehicle.
Medical report requirements
A medical report is required when applying for or renewing a Class 1, 2 or 4 commercial driver’s licence. See the Commercial Driver’s Guide to Operation, Safety and Licensing for more information.
Medical reports are required:
- every 5 years until age 45
- every 2 years after age 45 until age 65
- annually after age 65
All medical reports are kept confidential and are only used to determine medical fitness to drive. A medical report is valid for 6 months after it is completed.
A medical examination required to obtain or renew a driver’s licence is not insured under the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan. As an uninsured service, physicians can charge patients for drivers’ medical exams. Physicians are private business persons and can determine their own rates or fees related to uninsured services.
Report a medical condition
In Alberta, you are required by law to report any physical or medical conditions or changes in health that may affect your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.
Driving restricted outside of Canada
As part of the Canada/United States (US) Medical Reciprocity Agreement, Alberta and all other Canadian jurisdictions require a “W” identifier code to appear on the driver’s licences and driving records of driver's who are not medically eligible to operate a commercial vehicle outside of Canada.
This code applies to commercial drivers with a Class 1, 2 or 4 driver’s licence with one or more of the following conditions:
- established medical history or clinical diagnosis of epilepsy and/or seizures
- unable to meet minimum hearing requirements to transport dangerous goods
- monocular vision
Commercial drivers with a Code W are able to drive without restriction in Canada, but are not permitted to drive in the United States because of different minimum medical standards for commercial driving. Canada uses the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators Medical (CCMTA) Standards as a guideline in establishing the basic minimum medical and visual qualifications for safe driving. The US uses the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations which prohibit driver's with the above conditions from operating commercial vehicles in the US.
Drivers with a Code W who are operating a commercial vehicle will not be allowed to enter the US. Those travelling with at Code W in a non-commercial vehicle will be granted access.
The US has a similar Code V which identifies commercial driver's with medical conditions who do not comply with Canadian standards.
Code W review
If you believe a Code W has been placed on your driver’s licence in error or if your medical condition has changed, you can contact Driver Fitness and Monitoring.
Prior to September 2019, Canadian drivers with insulin controlled diabetes were not medically eligible to operate commercial motor vehicles (including classes 1, 2, 3 and 4) while transporting goods or passengers for hire into the United States.
On September 24, 2019 the agreement between the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration of the United States (FMCSA) and Transport Canada was amended to allow drivers with insulin controlled diabetes to drive in each jurisdiction (that is, cross border) without the restriction of the condition Code W, as long as they meet the medical requirements as set out in their home jurisdiction. In Canada, this is the CCMTA Medical Standards for Drivers.
Drivers will be eligible to have the Code W reviewed for possible removal at the time of renewal of their driver’s licence. If their licence has been renewed within the last 6 months and they require the Code W reviewed for employment purposes, they may contact Alberta Transportation for a review.
If their licence was renewed more than 6 months ago, drivers requesting a review will need to provide an updated Driver’s Medical Form to any Alberta Registry Office for review of the Code W and early renewal of their driver’s licence.
Connect with Driver Fitness and Monitoring:
Hours: 8:15 am to 12 pm, and 1 pm to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Email: [email protected]
Main Floor, Twin Atria Building
Room 109, 4999 98 Avenue NW
Edmonton, Alberta T6B 2X3
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