In the latter half of 2020, the Province of Ontario announced a policy change that would introduce a license restriction for newly licensed AZ drivers who were trained exclusively on automatic transmissions. The policy change which was originally set to come into force this month has been extended for up to 12 months. The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) has no objections to this extension.
For some time now, the majority of the tractor-trailer market – and much of OTA’s membership which moves the lion’s share of the province’s domestic and export destined freight – is made up of trucks spec’d with automatic transmissions. Based on feedback from fleets and truck manufacturers, over 90% of the sales in the tractor trailer market are automatic transmissions and have been for some time. Based on these sales figures and the general movement of the industry towards automatic transmissions, newly minted AZ drivers should not find it a challenge to their employment status to find a fleet with automatic transmissions. Based on this market based and operational reality, the impact of the MTO policy change, and its associated implementation date change, is expected to have an extremely limited to no impact on the OTA carrier membership.
Both before and throughout the pandemic, OTA has been working in a collaborative and productive fashion with MTO and the Government of Ontario on the development and implementation of significant policy changes within our sector, relating to competitive positioning, environmental and on-road safety performance, and focusing on issues such as: implementing an electronic logging device mandate (ELD) for provincial and federal carriers; enforcement on delete kits and emissions tampering; SPIF enforcement; heavy-towing utilization on major highways; truck and driver license/permit renewals; heavy truck parking and restroom access and; WSIB/Driver Inc enforcement among others.
By focusing on these issue areas, OTA expects the Government of Ontario will continue to make significant progress towards increasing road safety and supporting businesses in our sector that strive to run compliant, safe, and competitive businesses.