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May 2016

Q&A with The 2015–2016 CCMTA Chair

Paul Arsenault is the 2015–2016 CCMTA Chair and Deputy Registrar of Motor Vehicles and Director of Special Projects with Nova Scotia’s Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.

How did you get into the motor vehicle industry?

After I graduated from engineering school, I began working for the government in the lab for highway materials. I worked there for about 15–20 years. I also was involved in some organizational transformations and change management work. When a director’s position in highway safety opened up, I applied—because once in a while you have to change your career and try different things—and I got the job. I’ve been a part of the motor vehicle industry ever since.

Tell me about some of the work you’ve done in the motor vehicle industry.

Nova Scotia is a very small jurisdiction, and over the past 20 years we put forward a lot of legislation regarding road safety, including impaired driving and the graduated driver’s license system (GDLS). We have some of the best practices for those programs implemented in our province, so we’re pleased with that.

Another thing that comes to mind is our collaboration with AAMVA, and the implementation of post-9/11 driver’s licenses and identification cards. A joint CCMTA/AAMVA group worked on the new standards, which subsequently were adopted by both organizations. I always look back at that as a great example of our two countries working together to create a standard set of rules, and it is something we need to keep doing.

What are some important issues you’re focusing on in your jurisdiction?

One thing is driver’s license reciprocity. We certainly want to make sure that when Canadians move to U.S. jurisdictions, or vice versa, that it’s a seamless process of exchanging a driver’s license (DL). We need to be responsible to our citizens and be able to make sure they don’t need to go through unnecessary hoops. When you look at the eligibility standards for a DL, most states and provinces have similar requirements, so we can share information with each other and make getting a new DL as simple as possible.

You presented at AAMVA’s 2015 Annual International Conference. Could you tell me more about that?

The presentation focused on CCMTA. It was important to share with AAMVA what the structure of CCMTA is, how we operate, what the key issues we’re dealing with are—which are very similar to AAMVA’s. It was a great way for us to get out in front of AAMVA members, and I think that helped people understand a little more about our organization.

I hear you also coach baseball.

I started coaching many years ago when a good friend asked me to take over his team as he was going to a hockey camp, and I’ve been in baseball ever since. Baseball in Canada is obviously not as popular as hockey, but with the Toronto Blue Jays’ success, it is growing day by day. I coach a U-21 team that is coming down to Connecticut later this year—I’m excited that we’ll get to play some good competition. I also coach the Saint Mary’s University team in Halifax.

I grew up a Boston Red Sox fan because we have a lot of relatives in the United States, and we would go down every summer and see games at Fenway Park. My allegiance has shifted, though, because the Blue Jays are building themselves as Canada’s team.