Minister of state for transport, Steven Fletcher, told a gathering of Manitoba truckers that Canada’s transport regulations are under review with the goal of reducing the “regulatory burden” on the industry and streamlining rules from province to province.
Fletcher, who has been travelling across the country meeting trucking industry representatives about the issues they face, made a stop at the Manitoba Trucking Association annual conference in Winnipeg.
Fletcher, who is from Manitoba, noted that Transport Canada has a limited role in regulating trucking, but at the same time it is responsible for a number of issues affecting trucking, including hours of service and environmental regulations and ensuring that trucking safety rules remain consistent across the country.
“I can assure you that my government will continue to work to promote harmonization in trucking rules, coast-to-coast. The goal is clear, but getting there, as you know, can be more difficult.”
He said Transport Canada is working with the provinces and territories on Safety Rating Reciprocity and to establish National Safety Code standards in areas such as cargo securement, periodic motor vehicle inspections, and Electronic On-Board Recorders (EOBRs).
Fletcher said that based on the meetings with trucking associations across the country, he understands the importance of EOBRs, roll stability control and indemnification clauses in freight contracts to the industry.
He also identified the driver shortage as a major problem – “this could be a particular concern in the fast-growing Western provinces,” he said – and acknowledged that efficient, free-flowing cross-border trade with the U.S. is also vital to the health of the trucking industry.
“In the Canada – U.S. Beyond the Border Action Plan, the Government of Canada and the U.S. are bringing forward initiatives on border infrastructure, technology and security that will facilitate trade and travel between Canada and the U.S. These include the installation of border wait time measurement technology at key border crossings, improvements to trusted trader programs, and improved border crossing infrastructure.”
Based on a preliminary assessment of needs, Canada identified Emerson, Manitoba as one of the first five initial priority crossings, Fletcher announced, adding that he hopes to have more information to provide you in the near future on that project.
Before closing, Fletcher highlighted his government’s “commitment to streamlining regulations and reducing regulatory burden on Canadian businesses.”
“As part of this review, I have consulted with many stakeholders by correspondence and met with some by way of roundtable sessions and I have asked them to inform me of areas of regulation that they believe could be improved.”
He said he will be providing a final report to Minister Lebel this spring to provide an overview of Transport Canada’s regulatory framework and identify regulations that should be repealed or amended.