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What constitutes commercial transport operation?

I was presented with an inquiry by a Dad, sad with the results of his young son’s adventure at energetic enterprise. With the blessing and pride of his family, the young man ventured out with a pickup truck full of snow removal equipment to make a few dollars. His net effort was soon smothered by local enforcement stopping the young gentleman and rewarding him with a $450 violation for having his truck registered as a private vehicle, when in fact it should be registered as a commercial vehicle for carrying the implements of the young man’s trade. I am not certain about the protection of public safety by ticketing this venture, rather the public would be safer with clear sidewalk, but them’s the rules. I wonder how we can distinguish the greater good.

Excerpts from Edmonton City website


Business licences are location-specific and you usually need a separate licence for each location from which you operate. Some exemptions to this rule are people who sell their product in a public market, exhibition hall, or are travelling or temporary sales people (i.e. door-to-door).

For businesses that hire subcontractors, the subcontractors must have their own business licences.


Licences must be renewed annually. A renewal notice/bill will be sent to the address on your licence one month before your licence expires.

The renewal fee must be paid by the date listed on the notice otherwise your licence will expire and you will have to stop your business operations until you get a new licence.

Moving or Selling the Business

If you change your operations or move your business to a new location, you will need to have your account reviewed to determine if a new development permit or business licence category is required.

Licences are non-transferable. If you sell or close down your business, please contact our office.

Having a business licence lets the public know that the business is legitimate, complies with local laws and regulations, and is conducting business activities in appropriate locations.



The difference between a commercial vehicle and a private personal vehicle.

You have to make a decision at the DMV about whether your vehicle is going to be used strictly for personal use, or if your vehicle is going to be used for commerce. Will you make money (or compensation) from the use of your vehicle, whether transporting goods, or transporting passengers. So in a strict sense, if you offer to pick up groceries for the neighbor, and the neighbor pays you with a six pack of beer for the service, that is business. If your neighbour needs a ride to the doctor and repays you with a gift certificate to a nice restaurant, that is commerce. If your companion and you decide to paint houses and need a truck to bring the paint and ladders, that is commerce because you would like to be paid for that service and you need the vehicle to bring the supplies.

You could solve this issue by transporting your supplies by some means other than licensed vehicles on a public roadway. A wheelbarrow to carry the paint, a bicycle to deliver the pizza, your feet to push the lawnmower, or have a legitimate cargo hauler transport your goods to you. But at the end of the game, provide a service or good for compensation, likely requires a business license in most jurisdictions. So much for the industrious little lemonade stand; does your five year old have a license?


Commercial Transportation

I looked for a definition of a commercial vehicle.


RSA 2000 Section 1 Chapter T-6 14 TRAFFIC SAFETY ACT


1(1) In this Act,

(h) “commercial vehicle” means a vehicle operated on a highway by or on behalf of a person for the purpose of providing transportation but does not include a private passenger vehicle;


 (jj) “private passenger vehicle” means a vehicle used solely for personal transportation, including the carriage of goods intended for the use or enjoyment of the owner of the vehicle or members of the owner’s household, but

(ii) not including, in respect of a person’s business, work or employment, the carriage of passengers or of goods, except for sample cases or display goods that are conveyed by a salesperson and that are not for delivery or resale;


RSA 2000 Section 1 Chapter T-6 14 TRAFFIC SAFETY ACT


In Summary, the officer is correct about the use of a truck to carry the implements of the worker’s trade. It should be licensed commercially with a Alberta Class 2 or 3 licence plate, depending upon radius of operation. We can only hope for leniency by the court to soften this unfortunate situation.

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