Blue Water Bridge Going Cashless
OTA was contacted by the Federal Bridge Corporation representing the Blue Water Bridge (BWB) crossing in Ontario, regarding changes the bridge will be implementing involving the temporary removal of cash collection processes for trucks moving northbound on Thursday. BWB will be implementing the same cashless policy for southbound trucks starting on Saturday.
The removal of cash collection is due to COVID-19 concerns and reduced access to banking services. BWB has stated that credit and debit card transactions will still be permitted, along with continued payment via commercial account card holders. BWB officials have indicated that cash transactions make up roughly 15% of the transactions completed at the bridge and have been in steady decline in the past few years.
BWB officials in tandem with the Michigan Department of Transportation have prepared communications on the changes here: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/MIDOT/bulletins/2834ccb
OTA is unsure at this time whether similar measures will be taken at other ports of entry moving forward.
FMCSA Enforcement Guidance on Expired Licences Acknowledges Canadian Extensions
On March 24, FMCSA issued Enforcement guidance with respect to expiring drivers licences and other credentials that have been affected by the COVID-19 situation.
Specifically the notice states, “This Notice of Enforcement Policy, effective from March 24, 2020 to June 30, 2020, provides needed relief from specified FMCSRs for CLP holders, CDL holders, and non-CDL drivers and motor carriers using those drivers. This Notice of Enforcement Policy applies to all CLP holders, CDL holders, and non-CDL drivers whose license was issued for less than the maximum period established by 49 CFR 383.25 and 383.73 and was valid on February 29, 2020 and expired on or after March 1, 2020.”
Of important note for Canadian trucking operations is that the issue of expired licences and credentials issued by Canadian jurisdictions is also specifically mentioned (see below)
In accordance with 49 CFR 383.23(a)(1) and 391.41(a)(1)(i), FMCSA also continues to recognize the validity of commercial driver’s licenses issued by Canadian Provinces and Territories and Licencias Federales de Conductor issued by the United Mexican States, in accordance with 49 CFR part 383, when such jurisdictions issue a similar notice or declaration extending the validity date of the medical examination and certification and/orvalidity of the corresponding commercial driver’s license due to interruption to government service resulting from COVID-19.
Full details of the FMCSA’s notice is below:
CTA members are also encouraged review ongoing updates provided by the CCMTA who has been working with provinces and territories to provide an updated list with respect to credentialing extensions amongst Canadian jurisdictions. The most up to date information will be maintained on CCMTA’s website and updated daily at 4 pm. Please click here for details https://www.ccmta.ca/en/
CTA Confirms Passport Renewals Will Continue for Truck Drivers
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, urgent processing will continue for truckers who need their passport renewed.
All passport applicants residing in Canada requiring urgent service are directed to fill out an online service request (e-form) or call the Service Canada Passport Call Centre at 1-800-567-6868.
The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) has confirmed that due to their critical role in the national supply chain, truck drivers are eligible for this urgent service should it be needed.
CTA: Further Review of Federal Fiscal Announcements
Yesterday, the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance announced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). This will provide $2,000 a month for up to 4 months to Canadians who are not receiving a paycheque due to COVID-19. To make it simpler for people applying , they have combined two measures previously announced (the Emergency Care Benefit and the Emergency Support Benefit) – the CERB means Canadian workers, entrepreneurs small business owners will also have some support. The Application Portal will be launched in early April. This benefit applies to employees, entrepreneurs, small business owners – and will apply to those that have lost their job, or are not being paid because they have to stay home to self-isolate, to watch kids because of school closures, or to care for someone who is sick. To learn more about the benefit, please read the News Release.
OTHER SUPPORT MEASURES ANNOUNCED TO DATE:
- Provide additional flexibility to support businesses as necessary through EDC, BDC, Farm Credit Canada and the Canada Account.
- Support the mortgage financing market in Canada through enhancements to the CMHC.
- Increase the Canada Child Benefit by $300 per child for the 2019-20 benefit year. Qualifying parents will receive the extra amount as part of their May payment.
- Provide a temporary wage subsidy for three months to eligible small employers. Eligible employers include those eligible for the small business deduction, unincorporated employers, certain partnerships, non-profit organizations and charities.
- Provide a special payment under the GST credit to low and modest income families.
- Help prevent shortages of patented drugs or medical devices.
- Increasing the protection of Canadians’ savings by providing the Minister of Finance with the flexibility to increase the CDIC’s deposit insurance limit.
- Support provinces and territories with a COVID-19 Response Fund including one-time funding of $500 million through the Canada Health Transfer.
- Introduce a pause on the repayments of Canada Student Loans for six months.
- Reduce the minimum RRIF withdrawal to help protect seniors’ retirement savings.
CVSA Postpones International Roadcheck:
Roadcheck scheduled for May 5-7, International Roadcheck is the only enforcement initiative that has been postponed. Operation Safe Driver Week is still scheduled for July 12-18 and Brake Safety Week is still set for Aug. 23-29.
Lake Louise Hotel Offers Discount Rates to Passing Truckers
From Channin Liedtke at the Lake Louise Inn:
“Hello! I was driving on the Trans Canada Highway this morning and it was just me and trucks and I was thinking about how thankful I am for the work that they’re doing right now. Our hotel in Lake Louise has lots of availability and I imagine truckers are going to be working even harder these days than they do normally. Rest is important and their work is essential. I wanted to connect and see if you think a rate between 60 and 70 per night with free parking and a room with a kitchen would be helpful to truckers as they’re passing through Lake Louise from now through until at least the end of April.
For info contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 403-522-3791.
NJ Turnpike Cashless Tolls: For those using cash, invoices will be sent with detailed expaination of the process. Essentially, since they can’t tell when the truck gets onto the Turnpike they are going to charge a median price. In most cases the bill would be less than actualtoll but there may be some cases where the bill is higher. If this is the case (higher amount) there will be a phone number on invoice to call and it will be reduced.From PANYNJ: Due to the emergency orders related to COVID-19 in New Jersey and New York, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will move to collect tolls exclusively by electronic means and suspend cash toll collection at the George Washington Bridge Upper Level. Toll Supervisors will no longer accept cash payment for Specials (i.e., oversized and overweight vehicles), instead an invoice will be sent to customers in the mail. This change is temporary and will last as long as the Executive Orders remain in effect.“Essential Employee Form Letter” (optional) – For your drivers if they would like a letter in their cab indicating that they are “essential”. The use of this or any other similar type letter is NOT required, but it may come in handy for a driver especially when dealing with law enforcement personnel not familiar with industry practices and trying to enforce something like a local “shelter-in-place” declaration.COVID19.nj.gov – provides all NJ Information during PandemicATA Covid-19 Hub – national and state info