A delegation of the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) Executive Committee and Manitoulin Transport hosted Minister Todd Smith, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, along with his parliamentary assistant MPP Donna Skelly in North Bay to discuss important issues affecting northern Ontario carrier members.
“OTA and Manitoulin Transport appreciate the opportunity Minister Smith and MPP Skelly provided to explain the issues that matter to the Ontario trucking industry serving the many northern Ontario communities and businesses,” said Don Goodwill, president, Manitoulin Group of Companies. “By addressing red tape and open-for-businesses issues in trucking, we are going to make Ontario and its many successful local businesses that rely on efficient and safe trucking services stronger and primed for growth.”
The agenda focused on the Doug Ford Government’s first budget announcing the trucking industry will now have access to the Ontario Immigration Nominee Program through the In-Demand Skills Stream. The OTA fleets in attendance explained how the driver shortage is a threat to the Ontario economy and how the nominee program, with focus on trucking, will benefit all sectors, especially in northern Ontario.
“The shortage is being felt in all parts of Ontario, but here in the north it may be even more acute,” said Gord Grant, President, Grant’s Transport. “Sectors like mining, forestry, wood products and agri-foods rely on trucking services to move their freight. If our industry does not have professional drivers, these northern industries will face some significant challenges in getting product to market. The budget announcement was a good first step in addressing these challenges.”
The OTA delegation also discussed issues related to winter highway maintenance in Northern Ontario, the threat of Driver Inc to small businesses and methods to improve supply chain efficiencies. OTA also participated in various site visits, along with the North Bay Chamber of Commerce, with Minister Smith to highlight the importance of the trucking industry to the economy.
The OTA Executive delegation consisted of OTA Chair David Carruth; Vice Chair Wendell Erb ; Gord Grant, OTA Executive Member; and Stephen Laskowski, OTA president. Also in attendance were Scott Daniels, North Bay terminal manager, Titanium Transportation; and Katie Erb, account manager, Erb Transport; as well as OTA’s Marco Beghetto and Jonathan Blackham.
OTA would like to thank OTA member Manitoulin Transport for hosting the event and Trailcon Leasing for the OTA-wrapped trailer.