The Ontario Trucking Association this week filed its pre-budget submission, drawing again the provincial government’s attention toward longstanding industry issues like Driver Inc. enforcement, environmental sustainability and fair competition, enhanced highway safety and the worsening driver shortage.
OTA said the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) should be aware of the emerging business practice Driver Inc’ in Ontario whereas drivers incorporate and then ‘sell’ their driving services to the carrier without having any financial risk or owning any equipment.
OTA believes the WSIB should join CRA and ESDC in taking action against those who engage in Driver Inc.
OTA believes the trucking industry has and must continue to do its part to reduce both air pollutants and carbon emissions. Repealing the Cap and Trade system will now allow the OTA and the Government of Ontario to implement a cost effective and environmentally effective Made-in-Ontario plan, says the association.
OTA suggests the Government of Ontario consider several environmental measures that aim to strike a balance between the economy and environment, including: Anti-tampering provisions and roadside enforcement for heavy truck emissions control technology; support for continued deployment of Phase II Environment Canada regulations to reduce carbon emissions from heavy truck equipment; parallel federal changes to the accelerated cost allowances for tractor/truck capital; and developing a roadmap to identify suitable technologies and fuels along with an investment plan for accelerating green technologies.
Additionally, OTA urges the creation of truck rest areas with electric plugin capabilities to help improve highway safety and reduce overnight truck idling; expanded enforcement of the Ontario speed limiter regulation on all heavy trucks operating in Ontario; and the introduction of additional mechanical/visual inspections of environmental equipment to the annual safety inspection of commercial vehicles.
Among many ongoing safety initiatives, OTA believes that every new trucking company in Ontario should be required to have an audit within 24 months of starting operations (funded in part by the carrier) trucking companies must submit a safety evaluation of their operations.
OTA would like to initiate a review of the role and scope of facility insurance for heavy commercial trucking operations and its impact on industry safety and competitiveness.
Unlike most other provinces, the trucking industry does not have access to Ontario’s provincial nominee program. OTA is requesting that a pilot program be established immediately to allow qualified carriers to use the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) for the recruitment of qualified truck drivers. OTA would like to see the current pilot program conducted for select occupations in the agriculture and constructions sectors be extended to the trucking industry as well.
While such a program couldn’t solve the industry’s acute labour shortage completely, without access to the same immigration channels currently available to other trade sectors, the trucking industry’s labour supply will soon be reaching a crisis point, says OTA.