Canada strengthens vehicle safety standards

The Government of Canada has announced important safety regulations requiring new vehicles in Canada to include shoulder belts in the rear centre seat.

“Ensuring the safety of Canadian families is very important to our government. That’s why our government is enhancing vehicle safety standards to better protect the travelling public,” said Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. “Making shoulder belts mandatory in the rear centre seat will reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on our roads.”

The amendments to the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations include a significant update to Standard 208, Occupant Restraint Systems in Frontal Impact. In addition to introducing a mandatory requirement for lap and shoulder seat belts in the rear centre seat, these amendments will make vehicles safer by:

  • Requiring vehicle safety testing using female and child-sized dummies, in addition to the male testing dummies that were previously required;
  • Improving air bag deployment testing; and
  • Increasing the vehicle test speed to better protect occupants involved in serious frontal crashes.

“While Health Canada’s regulations make child car seats in Canada among the safest in world, the improved safety standards announced today represent good news for all Canadian consumers and their families,” said Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health.

“The government is to be commended for its commitment to ensuring that Canada’s regulatory framework keeps pace with industry safety practices and technologies for the benefit of Canadians, and for their commitment to aligning Canadian safety regulations with major global standards,” said David Adams, President of the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers of Canada.

Manufacturers have until September 1, 2015 to comply with the new requirements of Standard 208.  Older vehicles will not be required to be retrofitted.

These new requirements will improve vehicle safety and bring Canadian Safety Standards more closely aligned with those of the United States.  This harmonization will facilitate cross-border trade in new vehicles and encourage long-term economic growth. These regulatory changes are among the commitments of the Canada-United States Regulatory Cooperation Council announced by Prime Minister Harper and President Obama in February 2011.