Clarification of Ontario IFTA Filing Requirements During COVID-19
The Ontario Trucking Association received a response from the Ministry of Finance clarifying the requirements of paying fuel tax under the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) and the impact of the relief measures announced by the Government of Ontario last week amid the COVID-19 crisis.
“The five-month penalty-free and interest-free period applies to tax reporting and remittance deadlines occurring between April 1, 2020 and August 31, 2020. Unpaid, underpaid or late returns from previous deadlines are not included in the relief period. With the first and second quarter IFTA returns having due dates within this window (April 30, July 31), returns for those two periods filed by Ontario licensees will be eligible for this relief,” the minister stated.
“If it is possible to file on time and pay in full, licensees are encouraged to do so and we will continue to accommodate businesses that can file and pay on-time. However, relief will ensure that penalties and interest will not accrue if they are unable to file and/or pay on time. If a licensee misses their filing and/or payment deadline or submits an incomplete payment, no penalties or interest will apply during the April 1, 2020 – August 31, 2020 period.”
Ontario businesses are required to file any late returns or payments by the end of the relief period. The Ministry will continue to review what challenges businesses are experiencing in light of COVID-19 and develop rules around returning to normal accordingly. If there is a transition plan, or other changes to the relief period, it will be communicated to all tax clients before the relief period ends.
Further details regarding the Interest and Penalty Relief for Businesses can be found here.”
“The trucking industry recognizes that society is more than ever counting on the industry to deliver the essential products needed for everyday life. However, operating costs and fixed costs for things as equipment remain the same during this crisis as the industry faces dramatic reductions in revenues because of skyrocketing empty miles. The options and flexibility provided in these measures, therefore, are very much welcomed by OTA. The government is in sync with businesses on effective options that can provide immediate relief if needed,” said Geoff Wood, Senior VP, Policy, Ontario Trucking Association.
Trucker Support From Freight Management Association
The Freight Management Association of Canada is working with CTA in contacting the Canadian Chamber Commerce on the treatment of truck drivers. The chamber replied that they will be reaching out to their full network of member companies and to the provincial Chambers of Commerce.
FMA issued a statement recommending that shippers communicate to supervisors at loading and unloading sites that drivers are to be treated with courtesy and have access to washrooms and other facilities.
OTA: WSIB Payment Deferral
As part of Ontario’s fiscal update delivered on March 25th, there are measures which will run through the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) that allow for premium payments to be deferred for six months for all businesses in the province.
All employers covered by the WSIB’s workplace insurance are automatically eligible for the provisions of the relief package and can defer premium reporting and payments until August 31, 2020. Companies will not be required to opt in to receive this benefit and can simply withhold payments.
Additionally, the WSIB will cease interest accrual on all outstanding premium payments. They will not charge penalties during this six-month deferral period and have stated that there will be no negative consequences for businesses who defer premium reporting and payments. In the meantime, the WSIB will continue to fully cover workers at eligible workplaces.
“OTA would like to thank the Government of Ontario and the WSIB for this much needed relief” Said Jonathan Blackham, OTA’s Director of Policy and Public Affairs. “While trucking companies remain critical to the fight against COVID-19, moving medical supplies and other essential products, they are also facing tough economic conditions and dramatic reductions in cash flow. These measures will certainly help” added Blackham.
For more information, visit: https://www.wsib.ca/en/novel-coronavirus-covid-19-update
FMCSA: COVID-19 Drug and Alcohol Testing Guidance
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued a guidance document with recommended actions for FMCSA-regulated employers unable to conduct alcohol and drug testing due to COVID 19. This guidance is currently in effect until May 30, 2020.
You can view the guidance document here – https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/emergency/fmcsa-covid-19-drug-alcohol-testing-guidance
Manitoba Spring Load Restrictions & Public Insurance Updates
The Manitoba Trucking Associations reports the Manitoba government is easing 2020 Spring Road Restrictions to aid the transportation of essential commodities. Under normal conditions, spring weight restrictions are enforced on Manitoba’s surfaced roads during the spring. This protects roads from excessive damage by reducing the axle weights of heavy commercial vehicles during the period when roads are most at risk of weakening under spring rains and thawing.
Under the revised restrictions, a vehicle may transport essential commodities at normal loading on highways that are subject to Level 1 road restrictions. Additionally, essential commodities may be transported at normal loading on roads subject to Level 2 restrictions, under the following conditions:
• If the highway links two points on the vehicle’s itinerary that are less than 10 kilometres apart, or in any other case if the highway is the most direct route between a point on the itinerary and the nearest highway that is not subject to Level 2 road restrictions. A point on the itinerary means that the vehicle is picking up, or dropping off a load on that Level 2 restricted highway.
• If the essential commodities are transported between midnight and noon during the first 14 days of this restriction order, or at any time of the day after the 14th day.
Vehicles that are travelling empty to pick up essential commodities, or travelling empty after having delivered them, may travel at any time of the day at Level 1 weights on highways that are subject to Level 2 road restrictions, if they comply with the above-noted conditions.
As well, Manitoba Public Insurance is closing its Main Street Service Centre in Winnipeg, MB, effective today, March 31 to act as a COVID-19 Testing Centre for Manitobans. As a result, pick up and pay options for IRP credentials will not be available at the Main Street Service Centre until further notice. Upon receipt of your invoice, you can continue to pick up and pay for your IRP credentials at any Service Centre in Manitoba, excluding The Pas, Swan River, Bison Service Centre, Dauphin Service Centre and Main Street Service Centre. For more information, contact the IRP Prorate Office at [email protected] or 204-985-7775 or toll-free at 1-866-798-1185.