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First Ministers Talk ELDs, Equalize Single Tire Weights, Remove Trade Barriers

The Canadian Trucking Alliance is applauding the announcement by the First Ministers Conference in Montreal to remove internal trade barriers for the trucking industry, specifically the agreement on weight parity between dual tires and new generation, wide-based single tires on heavy truck configurations in Canada.

The joint communique issued by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade Dominic LeBlanc and the provincial and territorial first ministers will commit provinces and territories to align their regulations allowing the same weight on single tires as on dual tires.  Following an update to the National Memorandum of Understanding on Vehicle Weights and Dimensions (MoU) and to regulations in non-complying provinces and territories, this will allow movement of single tire-equipped trucks and trailers in support of the Canadian supply chain when operating on highway networks designated by each province.

The MoU was first implemented in 1988 and is an agreement between the federal government and all provinces and territories to promote Canadian harmonization of weights and dimensions of heavy vehicles.  Since that time, the MoU has been expanded to include more vehicle configurations and regularly updated by the Council of Ministers of Transportation based on recommendations of a national Task Force.

“CTA and its provincial association partners have been advocating for these changes since 2008 and we are grateful for efforts by all levels of government to move forward on this issue,” said CTA’s Geoff Wood, Sr. VP, Policy. “This is truly a show of support for the Canadian trucking industry and the supply chain. We are looking forward to the MoU update and necessary regulation changes to operationalize this key announcement.”

Wide single tires have many benefits to Canadian fleets specifically, including, reduced weights that improves vehicle productivity, GHG reduction, and increased traction in winter conditions. The change also effectively ends the competitive advantage of cross-border US trucking fleets over Canadian carriers that operated in both the Canadian domestic markets and into the United States. The change allows one tire spec for both domestic and international operations without weight penalties.

“This is true progress and shows how government-industry collaboration can support our industry,” says Wood.  “It also opens the door for further positive discussions for some provincial trucking associations to work with provincial government representatives to review and expand the highway network on which these tires can be used.”

Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) were also among the main items discussed by the First Ministers Conference during the session on removing internal trade barriers in truck transportation in Canada.

“CTA applauds the First Ministers for agreeing to move forward cooperatively on this issue. By introducing this technology in unison and with urgency for federally and provincially regulated truck operations, governments are levelling the playing field and enhancing highway safety across Canada. It is important all governments approach ELDs as a priority to have regulations in place by January 2020 to align closely with the US ,” said Wood.

ELDs, which electronically monitor truck driver hours of service compliance, were introduced in the United States in 2015 and will be required on all trucks operating in the US by the end of 2019.  Canadian proposals to follow suit with the US were introduced in late 2017 and federal and provincial governments are working towards introducing similar requirements in Canada.

CTA would like to see this regulation implemented as soon as possible (January 2020) and believes the addition of third-party certification of the ELD technology and the elimination grandfathering provisions for outdated non-ELD electronic technology will go a long way towards aligning our regulations with the US and providing enhanced legitimacy to hours of service compliance in Canada.

“In addition to the first ministers, Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau and members of the Council of Ministers Responsible for Transportation and Highway Safety should be commended for their efforts to date on this file,” added Wood. “Hours of service regulations are the common denominator by which all trucking activity takes place and the movement towards ELDs in Canada is a huge leap forward for business competitiveness making our roads safer.”

In a statement the government said it is committed to developing “harmonized standards in the trucking sector, building on federal investments in the National Trade and Transportation Corridors initiative. Federal, provincial and territorial governments will work together on an accelerated basis to harmonize standards for wide-base tires, ELDs and size and weight restrictions.”

For full details on the Communique, please click here.

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