Following industry efforts led by the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA), Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) is considering finalizing exemptions from certain labour reforms for long-haul truck drivers, but a proposal on the table to exclude certain drivers and other key logistics workers could lead to disruptions in the supply chain and the economy, says the Alliance.
While CTA is applauding ESDCs proposal to congeal certain temporary exemptions into regulation for long-haul drivers (such as the requirement for employers to provide 96-hours’ written notice for schedules and 24-hours’ written notice for shift changes), ESDC is either questioning or currently proposing to exclude other key transportation workers, such as short haul/city drivers, material handlers/warehouse workers, dispatchers and mechanics – all of which play key roles in a continuous operations industry like trucking.
Without the exemptions, trucking companies and the shipping community would no longer be able to arrange for the carriage of goods with less than 96 hours’ notice to a trucking company or make adjustments to loads with less than 24 hours’ notice, directly impacting key trends and business models, like just-in-time inventory and production as well as dealing with unforeseen delays related to weather, road congestion or shipper facility delays.
Consequently, while CTA welcomes the proposed exemptions for long-haul drivers, the Alliance strongly questions the rationale for excluding other job classes ESDC already recognizes as essential in “continuous operations”. If a load is delayed by inclement weather, traffic disruptions, congestion or needs need to be adjusted by a customer, it will undoubtably impact both long-haul and short haul drivers as well as many other operations tied the load at pick-up and delivery points, such as dispatchers, material handlers, dock workers, and warehousing workers.
“Addressing just one out of the many vital classes of jobs tied to the loads is not sufficient to avoid potentially significant disruptions in the supply chain,” says CTA president Stephen Laskowski. “By exempting long-haul drivers, ESDC is essentially acknowledging the problems with some of these provisions and how they can negatively impact the trucking industry and related sectors. While we appreciate that consideration, neglecting other types of truck drivers and workers tied to the load’s composition, scheduling and delivery is highly problematic.”
Delays in the supply chain – such as weather, traffic, road collisions, delayed ferries, ships and planes, or customer-based adjustments – require carriers to constantly be flexible in their operations, this is particularly true when it comes to scheduling, said Jonathan Blackham, director, Public Affairs, CTA. “Highway drivers, city drivers, warehouse workers, dispatchers, and mechanics are all essential parts of a continuous operation and all need flexibility when it comes to scheduling. In many cases, trucks – whether they’re long-haul or city – would simply be left sitting idle if they couldn’t be loaded, unloaded, repaired, or if routes and timing couldn’t be adjusted with the help of dispatchers.”
CTA is asking all members of the supply chain to implore the government to maintain the exclusions for all “continuous operations” including highway drivers, city drivers, material handlers/warehouse workers, shippers and receivers, dispatchers and mechanics.
“CTA is only requesting exemptions for job-classes that ESDC already considers to be part of a continuous operation and already provides special consideration for in other regulations,” said Blackham. “The industry recognizes that work life balance is a priority and is not seeking an exemption for the many job classes that fall outside those involved in continuous operations – only those that absolutely need this scheduling flexibility.”
Throughout the process, ESDC has indicated they will consider exemptions all job-classes for which a well-reasoned case can be made. This willingness was also present in a recent industry roundtable discussion on this matter. At this juncture, CTA is calling on the supply chain to reaffirm to ESDC that these exemptions are important.
Interested carriers, shippers, and other concerned organization can click here to learn how they can help: CTA Call to Action-Key Scheduling and Shift NoticeV2_public