CTA Senior Vice President Stephen Laskowski appeared in Ottawa this week before the Senate Standing Committee on Banking Trade and Commerce to provide insight on how indispensable the trucking industry is to the well-being of Canada’s economy and competitiveness.
“Trucking is a derived demand industry. As such, it’s a leading indicator of economic activity in Canada. If you want to measure the health of the economy, checking the pulse of trucking is a good bet,” said Laskowski, who explained that while conditions are currently sluggish, the longer-term outlook for the trucking industry is for continued growth and an even larger share of total transportation sector output.
Laskowski discussed a number of issues impacting inter-provincial trade. Among them:
The rules governing the equipment and drivers engaged in inter-provincial trade vary among each province. While in some cases differing regulations are appropriate, says Laskowski, often they can constitute barriers to fair competition and effective trade. Harmonization in these cases is essential, Laskowski, told the committee. He pointed to two main examples:
The National Safety Code: Laskowski reiterated CTA’s long-held view that the National Safety Code (NSC) is “neither national nor is it a code.” After nearly three decades, many of the NSC standards – such as driver hours of service, carrier safety ratings, driver medicals and trip inspections – have still not been uniformly adopted and/or enforced by the provincial governments. With upcoming regulations such as electronic logging devices, nothing appears to be changing. Laskowski said the current policy development system is in need of a review and encouraged the committee to look into improving communication among governments at various levels and breaking down “political silos” to resolve these harmonization issues.
Weighs and Dimensions: Truck weights and dimensions standards also fall under provincial jurisdiction by which provinces and territories are signatories to a national MOU. While on balance the MoU has been positive for industry productivity, it has created configuration differences between jurisdictions adding needless complexity to conducting inter-provincial business, explained Laskowski, who added current MOU standards have been slow to evolve and have not fully accommodated new technologies and add-on devices that are proven to improve fuel economy and reduce air contaminants and GHG emissions, such as: New Generation single tires, natural gas fuel tanks, aerodynamic boat-tails and 6×2 axle technology.
“CTA would welcome any recommendations by the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce that would improve the development of inter-provincial trucking regulations and, in turn, the industry’s productivity and environmental footprint.”
The committee was very supportive of CTA submission and enquired about the types of solutions the trucking industry would like to see in the Committee’s final report, including linking federal money for provincial infrastructure projects to compliance with National Safety Code items and allowance of vehicle components contained in Environment Canada’s upcoming GHG regulation.