FAQ – Traffic Authority and Winter Parking

Frequently Asked Questions Traffic Authority and the Winter Parking Ban

What is a Traffic Authority?
A Traffic Authority (TA) is a person, or a role, created under section 86 of the provincial Motor Vehicles Act (MVA).  There is a Provincial Traffic Authority, responsible for for “provincial highways and highways within a city or town” and also Traffic Authorities for a “city or town.” (MVA s86 10 & 11)


What power does the TA have?
The Nova Scotia provincial Motor Vehicles Act creates TAs to regulate parking, signage on streets, traffic signals, and all matters related to roads, highways, and trails.   The municipal council has limited power to control parking metres and signs (s 153)
Who hires them?
The TA for a city or town is hired by the city or town it represents under section 82 (6) The council of a city or town may, from time to time, appoint the city or town manager, the chief of police, or some other official of the city or town, to be the traffic authority for the city or town.

Who does the TA work for?
The TA works to enforce the MVA without political interference.  The council has no way to direct the TA beyond refusing to fund projects proposed by the TA and taking direct control of meter and signed parking under section 153.

HOWEVER, the TA is a “City Manager” as per section 82 (6) (see above).  In HRM’s case, Ken Reashor is not simply the untouchable and undirectable Traffic Authority.

He is also the HRM Director of Transportation and Public Works, a director of one of the city’s biggest departments, and in that capacity reports to the CAO of HRM, Wayne Ansty.   Banning parking all winter makes TPW’s life easier, as this department plows the roads.  http://www.halifax.ca/TPW/index.html

Who fires them?
The Minister responsible for the MVA is Bill Estebrooks.  He has the authority to remove the TA under the act.  MVA 82 (10) If it is made to appear to the Minister that the traffic authority of a city or town is not carrying out his duties or performing his functions under this Act, the Minister, by letter to the mayor or clerk of the city or town, may cancel the appointment of the traffic authority.

What if HRM just doesn’t appoint a Traffic Authority, or stops paying the current one?
As attractive as it is to just stop paying the HRM’s TA, if he quits the Minister can simple appoint a replacement (82 (9)) or the Provincial TA would take over responsibility for HRM. (82 (10)).

What authority does the Traffic Authority have to ban parking?
Section 202 (1) of the MVA gives the TA power to act in the case of “emergencies or special conditions.”   Section 202 (2) specifically gives power to prohibit or restrict parking between Nov 15 and April 15. The proclamation of the parking ban is made under this section.  http://www.halifax.ca/snow/documents/2010ParkingBan.PDF

There is a growing question about whether this section allows declaration of special conditions regardless of actual weather or conditions.

Can anyone who is actually elected stop the parking ban?
The Minister, Bill Estebrooks, has the power to cancel the proclaimation MVA 202 (4) A copy of any regulations made under this Section shall be immediately forwarded to the Provincial Traffic Authority and shall be subject to cancellation at any time by the Minister.