David Carruth, president & CEO of One for Freight, handed the reigns of the OTA chairmanship this week to Wendell Erb, but not before reflecting on a whirlwind two-year term of proud achievements and extraordinary challenges.
“It has certainly been an eventful couple of years,” Carruth said this week after naming Erb the latest chairman at the OTA’s virtual board meeting. “I’m extremely proud of everything we have accomplished as an association, provincially and nationally, during these trying times. In fact, it’s quite remarkable what we have achieved on behalf of the industry under these unprecedented circumstances.”
Carruth commended OTA staff and president Stephen Laskowski for steering the industry through the COVID-19 pandemic – by keeping trucks moving as an essential service; ensuring facilities remained open and drivers were treated fairly; and elevating the role of the trucking industry in the minds of policy makers and politicians at the highest levels – while also remaining laser focused on pre-pandemic policy objectives and projects.
Specifically, Carruth highlighted a few of the many provincial achievements during his term, despite the hurdles and detours posed by the pandemic:
- Working with the Ontario Government to seriously crack down on Driver Inc. and other level-playing-field issues. Through the WSIB, Ontario become the first province to levy major fines for Driver Inc-related violations;
- Ontario announces policy for enforcing truck emissions rules while eliminating the use of delete kits and emissions tampering in the province;
- At the behest of OTA and a coalition of stakeholders, the Facility Association underwent a major modernization to eliminate fraud and bring fairness back to the commercial insurance market;
- Over the past two years, OTA and CTA have driven a series of public relations efforts such as #ThankaTrucker, the Cost of Compliance awareness campaign for shippers; and the upcoming social media industry image/career promotion campaign.
“The industry is made up of predominantly compliant, professional companies; yet there a few – albeit growing – number of non-compliant carriers who need to be identified and made to play by the same rules,” said Carruth of the OTA’s specific efforts to stamp put Driver Inc.
Carruth said he is also particularly proud of how he helped solidify OTA’s structure and mandate around his and Laskowski’s vision for a more collaborative, diverse association that was more strategically aligned to the Canadian Trucking Alliance’s and other provincial association’s common goals.
As he announced Erb as the next chair , Carruth also thanked the past chairs in “putting the association where it is today” as well as Team OTA for their invaluable and continuous support for the association.
“My time as chair has allowed me to gain a more holistic understanding of our industry as a whole,” said Carruth. “COVID-19 has shown how valuable the trucking industry is to the success of the supply chain, the economy and the everyday lives of Ontarians. I’m proud of how our industry and association performed when it was needed most.”