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Old 02-01-2019, 01:35 AM   #1
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Taking an air brake equipped bus into Canada

Over the years the discussion comes up about taking a bus into Canada that has air brakes.


I have had conversations with the RCMP and two different commercial vehicle inspectors to find out definitively what the requirement is in Canada to drive an air brake equipped vehicle.


Whether you are crossing from Detroit to Windsor or Sweetgrass to Coutts when you get on the Canadian side of the border if your vehicle has air brakes the driver has to have what the Canadians call the "Q". On Canadian driver's licenses one of the endorsements is the "Q" endorsement which means you can drive a vehicle with air brakes.


Many times when you go into the Port of Entry, part of entering ;into Canada is to show your driver's license. If your license does not have the equivalent of the "Q" endorsement you will be turned back.



If you should get through the Port of Entry you will pass a Commercial Vehicle Inspection station within a few miles. The sign will be out saying all air brake equipped vehicles must stop. Even though you are driving a private not-for-hire vehicle, if it has air brakes you are required to stop. If your driver does not have the equivalent of the "Q" you will be red flagged until a driver with the correct endorsement can drive your vehicle back to the border.


If you should get past the Port of Entry and the Commercial Vehicle Inspection station any RCMP officer has the right to stop you to check for your "Q" endorsement. If you do not have the "Q" endorsement he has the right to issue a citation and to red flag your bus until a driver with the "Q" endorsement shows up to drive your bus.


While the weigh masters in the provinces east of Alberta might not be too persnikety about the "Q" endorsement I can tell you that the RCMP and the weight cops are extremely persnikety in Alberta and British Columbia. Because of the relatively narrow and steep roads that have a lot of twists and turn (relative to US Interstate Highways) the incidences of air brake equipped moho's getting into trouble is too high for them to let you pass.


So it is my considered opinion, after chatting with more than a couple of weigh masters and RCMP officers, that if you don't have the "Q" endorsement or equivalent then you better not try to drive your air brake equipped bus into Canada. And especially not into British Columbia or Alberta.
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Old 02-01-2019, 05:59 AM   #2
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Ontario is a "Z"


Air Brake (z) Endorsement Program
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Old 02-01-2019, 07:20 AM   #3
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So how does a US citizen with meet this requirement? CDL?
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Old 02-01-2019, 07:24 AM   #4
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Our friend and priestess Sandi took her bus up to BC. All the way from Florida. No tags, no air brake endorsement. They let her in without incident. Not saying they'll be like that for everyone but she's the only person I know who's driven their bus to Canada.
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Old 02-01-2019, 08:16 AM   #5
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Another point, I think the US CDLs only list an air brake 'endorsement' if you aren't qualified to drive with them. At least that is how it is here in NH.
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Old 02-01-2019, 10:21 AM   #6
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Makes it a challenge for folks from states, like Washington, that don't offer an air brake endorsement for non-commercial licenses.
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Old 02-01-2019, 10:41 AM   #7
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I think one of the bigger concerns about air brakes in Canada is making sure drivers know how air brakes are supposed to work and how to make adjustments to the brakes while on the road - I was stopped one time driving a 30,000 LB bucket truck and didn't have my air ticket - the only thing that saved me from being fined is that I had set up the brakes properly just before I left home - I wasn't allowed to drive any further and had to call a friend with an air ticket, but at least I wasn't dinged with a big fine
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Old 02-01-2019, 11:05 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
Makes it a challenge for folks from states, like Washington, that don't offer an air brake endorsement for non-commercial licenses.

That's exactly what I was thinking. Indiana doesn't have an air-brake endorsement for non-commerical DL either. Therefore, on paper, the only way to meet said Canadian requirement is a full-up CDL. I knew we all kinda operated in a "gray area", but wow....


Guess I won't be RV'ing in Canada any time soon.... Pity....
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Old 02-01-2019, 01:11 PM   #9
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That's exactly what I was thinking. Indiana doesn't have an air-brake endorsement for non-commerical DL either. Therefore, on paper, the only way to meet said Canadian requirement is a full-up CDL. I knew we all kinda operated in a "gray area", but wow....


Guess I won't be RV'ing in Canada any time soon.... Pity....
I have done my share of RVing in Canada. All done

Crossing the border has become such a pain that I have to have a strong motivation to subject myself to it.

Plenty to see in the US and Mexico
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