US and Canadian operating authorities an overview


Ontario introduces New Entrant Education and Evaluation Program for new truck and bus operators.

If you are just starting your company or looking to expand it is likely you need operating authorities and other permits. Both Canada and the United States have several authorities and additional permits/registrations, finding out exactly what you need can be time-consuming. That is where we come in. We help you along the way and give you the right start that you need to become a success.  With our other value added products and services like driver training and selectionACE / ACI eManifest submission servicesHOS monitoring and e-logs you can be sure your company will get the best chance of success.

National Safety Code NSC or CVOR for Canada

The National Safety Code registration is the common name used within Canada for an operating authority. For Canadian carriers, you file for this in your home province, and it follows you from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific coast. The province of Ontario calls this number a CVOR and Quebec calls this an NIR. To apply for your NSC number in Alberta all new carriers need to complete the Pre-Entry Program for New National Safety Code Carriers.

For US based carriers who want to operate in the Provinces of Quebec or Ontario, you will have to file for a CVOR number and NIR number as applicable.

DOT numbers and MC numbers for the United States

Interstate carriers in the United States and carriers based in Canada wishing to enter the United States will be required to obtain a DOT number. For-Hire Carriers will additionally be required to obtain a Motor Carrier Number which is your US Operating Authority. Those carriers requiring an MC number will have to provide proof of insurance and file a BOC-3.

Motor carrier numbers are being phased out and will be replaced in at some point in 2017 or later with a new registration system using only your DOT number.

International Registration Plan or IRP

If you plan on leaving your home province, you will be required to obtain International Registration Plan. This is your plates. IRP plates are purchased annually, and fees are calculated based on prorated mileage and weight.  Some provinces and states might additionally charge taxes along with the plate fee.

In 2015 the IRP program changed the way they allocated jurisdictions.   They did away with having carriers request what states/provinces they wanted access to on their applications.  Instead, all carriers will automatically have all states/provinces on their CAB cards.  Fees will now be calculated on actual mileages, and there will no longer be any estimated fees or mileages used.  This means carriers pay only for those jurisdictions they actual travel to.

Carriers are reminded that even though you may see all jurisdictions, you are still required to fulfill all other regulatory requirements.  For example, Canadian-based carriers must still obtain DOT numbers, operating authorities,  etc. before entering the United States.

International Fuel Tax Registration or IFTA

Interstate carriers will also be required to get International Fuel Tax Registration. IFTA fuel taxes are payable every quarter and reported to your base state. Additionally, the states of New York, New Mexico, Kentucky, and Oregon require additional mileage tax registration and reporting. Oregon requires a bond for all new carriers and require monthly reporting.


BOC-3 is an Agent of Process. BOC stands for a Blanket Of Coverage.  An Agent of Process is a legal firm authorized to receive and forward legal documents in case of a legal proceeding in a given state.  This is a US requirement.

Unified Carrier Registration or UCR

All entities with an active DOT number including brokers must file an annual Unified Carrier Registration (UCR). Fees are based on the size of the fleet. UCR replaced the former Single State Authority.  This must be renewed annually.

Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (form 2290)

All commercial motor vehicles over 55,000 lbs that operate on US public highways must have proof of payment of the HVUT.  Fees are based on the weight of the vehicle and are prorated based on the first date of use.  Fees are transferable as long as proof of payment is retained with the vehicle.  Canadian vehicles operating in the United States must also comply.

Hazmat, tobacco, alcohol and other regulated products

Carriers wishing to haul Hazardous Materials, tobacco, alcohol and other regulated products may have to apply for specific permits and licenses.

Carriers wishing to haul Hazmat in the United States must register with the Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration annually. Additionally, some states require additional registrations.

Tobacco and alcohol registrations differ from state to state, some require permits, reports, and or registrations based on commodity or pick up and or delivery.

Drug and Alcohol Programs

All carriers operating in the United States must provide Drug and Alcohol testing to all their drivers. Drivers can not be dispatched on new hire until a pass Drug and Alcohol test is returned to the carrier. All drivers must be maintained within a random drug pool.

Canadian carriers DO NOT ever dispatch a new driver into the US until you obtain a passed Drug and Alcohol test back from your service provider!

The FMCSA New Entrant Safety Assurance Program

The FMCSA New Entrant Safety Assurance Program applies to all new carriers starting operations as an Interstate Carrier in the United States. Carriers WILL BE audited within the first 18 months of operations. Carriers MUST pass this audit to obtain their permanent operating authority. Auditors will examine all files, log books and other documents and records to ensure the carrier is complying with all safety regulations.

Obtaining your operating authorities

PSTC’s professional staff is here to help guide you through getting your operating authorities and beyond. With our full line of products and services, you can rest assured that your company can obtain an excellent safety rating and keep it.

PSTC is always available to answer any questions you may have on this or any other subject; please feel free to contact us.

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