In a letter this week to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) provided feedback to a series of committee meetings looking into Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Requirements and Animal Transport.
The ELD regulatory change lead by Transport Canada and the provincial and territorial governments contained in the Commercial Vehicle Drivers Hours of Service Regulations was implemented in all jurisdictions for federally regulated carriers earlier this year, after a five-year transition.
During the committee hearings livestock industry representatives discussed the need for more flexibility in managing animal welfare, truck driver hours of service requirements, loading/unloading operations and unforeseen emergencies.
“CTA does not support exemptions to the hours-of-service regulations or from the mandated ELD requirements under Transport Canada regulations. They are not necessary. The hours-of-service rules have not changed, just the means of how they are tracked for compliance,” said Geoff Wood, CTA senior VP, Policy.
Prior to the implementation of the ELD regulation, which started in 2017, CTA met with livestock carriers to assess if animal welfare rules and truck driver hours-of-service rules could not co-exist. There were no operational challenges identified, other than the purchasers of truck transportation services are the ones having issues with hours-of-service provisions being applied to their current and future trucking partners.
ELDs make roads safer, provide a better and more efficient working environment for professional truck drivers and eliminate non-compliance with the hours-of-service regulations. The safety of truck drivers and those who share the road with them is critical. Third party certified ELDs and the existing hours-of-service regulations governed by Transport Canada do that. The regulations also have emergency provisions already built into them (76.1 of the regulations) which allow drivers to reach a safe location if there are unforeseen and extenuating circumstances encountered while enroute.
“None of the so-called disruptions to the supply chain anticipated by detractors at the start of the ELD process ever materialized, in any sector – at least not to those that were complying with the hours-of-service regulations,” Wood said.
Transport Canada already has extensive application and review processes for industry sectors seeking a temporary exemption from a specific provision of the hours-of-service rules. These exemptions are only granted based on the public interest and include terms and conditions that are intended to maintain an equivalent level of safety.
The Alliance believes there are opportunities to work with governments, livestock transporters and the supply chain to add clarity to guidance on how existing emergency provisions in the regulations can be used and address the need for more truck rest areas. CTA is open to further discussions with all parties to consider additional facilities along Canada’s national highway system (NHS) to address animal rest, feed & water facilities. CTA believes it is more responsible to address the greater need for more serviced rest areas and animal facilities as well as clarifications on how to use existing emergency provisions in the regulations than a dilution of the hours-of-service rules.
To address the issues associated with loading and unloading – which are a business-to-business relationship issue – CTA pointed out that all other sectors in the trucking industry adapted and started planning for the transition to ELDs over six years ago. Instructional materials developed by CTA in 2016-17 (video EN/FR and infographics EN/FR) were distributed to the industry as examples of how the trucking industry and its supply chain partners can work together.
CTA will continue to advocate for safer roads, hold governments accountable for the enforcement of all laws and a level-regulatory playing field in the trucking industry and will work with all like-minded stakeholders for the betterment of the industry.