Essential freight transport exemption

Fire fighting suppression efforts

The purpose of this exemption is to support efforts by extra-provincial truck undertakings and their drivers to transport specific essential supplies and equipment, in direct assistance to forest fire suppression efforts in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan or Ontario.

Under a federal exemption, extra-provincial carriers providing supporting the fire fighting suppression efforts in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Ontario are exempt from the provisions set out in sections 24 to 29 of the Commercial Vehicle Drivers Hours of Service Regulation.

Carriers utilizing this exemption must notify in writing the provincial hours of service director of the base jurisdiction of its intention to operate under this exemption. Driver and vehicle information must be provided.

For details on this exemption and notification requirements, contact the Central Permits Office at 1-800-662-7138 or [email protected].


Permitting and Approvals monitors, controls and issues safety permits for commercial carriers.

Safety permits are those issued by the Registrar for exemptions to federal and provincial safety laws (for example, hours of service or record keeping requirements).

The Government of Alberta recently updated regulations in an effort to improve efficiency for the commercial transportation industry. The updated regulations, which come into effect on January 1, 2021, will reduce the number of permits industry must obtain, saving time and money while maintaining safety of Alberta highways. The regulation changes include new vehicles added to regulation, increased weight and dimensions for specific vehicles and updated definitions, as outlined in the Revised Exemption and Dimension Permits chart (PDF, 130 KB). See the Weight and dimensions regulations page for more information on required permits.

Before you apply

Before applying for a safety permit, you should review the sample permit conditions carefully to ensure that the permit you’re applying for meets your business needs. You should also ensure you are in compliance with all permit conditions.

Sample permit conditions

Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC)

CAODC member carriers may gain some exemptions to Commercial Vehicle Inspection Program (CVIP) annual inspections, dangerous goods training and documentation, and drivers' licence requirements.

Municipal Firefighting Vehicle

Municipalities with firefighting vehicles may gain some exemptions to CVIP annual inspections, retention of records at locations other than their principal place of business, and requirement to obtain annual driver abstracts.

Water Well Drilling Rig Exemption

Water Well member carriers may gain some exemptions to CVIP annual inspections, drivers' hours of service and reduced vehicle registration fees.

Oil Well Service Vehicle Cycle Exemption

Allows drivers an exemption from federal hours of service cycle requirements.

The Oil Well Service Vehicle Cycle Exemption Permit applies only to Alberta-plated National Safety Code (NSC) vehicles. Jurisdictions in which the permit can be utilized include Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Northwest Territories and Yukon. For more information about using the permit in different jurisdictions, please contact Carrier & Vehicle Safety.

Federal and Provincial Extended Drivers' Hours of Service

Allows drivers a maximum 2 hour exemption from daily and work shift hours of service requirements when they follow a regular itinerary, deliver perishable goods or respond to an immediate public need.

How to apply online

Safety permit applications are available online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through Transportation Online Services.

The following documents can help with your online application:

Existing account

  1. Go to Online Services and login with your username and password.
  2. Go to the 'My Account' link and request to add the 'Carrier & Vehicle Safety Permits' service to the account options.
  3. Pay the permit fees.
  4. This service addition may take one or 2 business days to process.

New accounts

Carriers that do not have access to Online Services must register for an account.

  1. Go to the Online Services page and select 'Register' under the 'Need a User ID?' link.
  2. Follow the instructions provided.
  3. Pay the permit fees.
  4. Registration may take up to 3 business days to process.
  5. Information related to the login ID and password will be emailed to the account holder following finalization of the registration.

Please direct any questions related to account options, service additions or registration problems to Carrier & Vehicle Safety.

Permit fees

A non-refundable application fee of $55 is required for all permit applications.

CAODC and water well permits are $100, which are issued every 5 years.

Government agencies and Partners in Compliance (PIC) carriers are exempt from all application fees.

Online applications must be paid by Visa, MasterCard, American Express or 'On-Account' (if you possess a valid account in our system).

For credit card payments processed online, the applicant enters their cardholder data through a secure payment page powered by TD Merchant Services.

Benefits of the Online Permit System

  • Shortens carrier wait time.
  • Automatic email notification regarding application status.
  • Official permit document with attachments can be emailed directly to the carrier.
  • Online applications can be 'copied' for easy renewals.
  • Electronic records of a carrier's permits can be reviewed at any time.
  • Applicable fees are waived for PIC carriers and government agencies.

After you apply

Once you submit your application, it is automatically sent to Carrier & Vehicle Safety for review.

If the permit application is approved, you will receive an email notification that contains an official copy of the permit document(s) and receipt of payment.

If the application has been declined, you will receive an email notification with review comments.

Permit applications are reviewed and issued by Carrier & Vehicle Safety during office hours only (Monday to Friday from 8:15 am to 4:30 pm).

Permit application review process

The Registrar conducts a review for each permit application to determine eligibility. The review verifies:

  1. If the carrier maintains an 'Excellent' or 'Satisfactory' Safety Fitness Rating.
  2. If the carrier has a 'Satisfactory Unaudited' Safety Fitness Rating. In this case, the carrier may be issued a permit for a reduced permit term in order for the Registrar to evaluate the carrier's eligibility for the permit, and to assess the upgrade of their Safety Fitness Rating to 'Satisfactory'.
  3. If the carrier has a history of non-compliance to NSC regulatory requirements or other safety permits, and has an acceptable out of service rate and fatigue violation rate.

If a carrier meets the above requirements and there is no foreseen adverse impact on public safety, a permit may be issued.

To consider upgrading a Safety Fitness Rating, the carrier must:

  • have valid commercial vehicle registrations for the past 12 consecutive months
  • not be at any monitoring stage in the past 12 months for collisions, convictions or Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance inspections
  • receive an acceptable score on an Alberta NSC audit conducted in the last 24 months
  • not be subject to an ongoing investigation or audit

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