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Transport Canada, Provinces & Territories Introduce Potential Supply Chain Flexibility During Fight Against COVID-19

Transport Canada, the Provinces and Territories, through the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA), have approved an hours of service exemption for federally regulated carriers related to the fight against COVID-19.

Termed the Essential Freight Transport Exemption, the hours of service exemption is designed solely to assist federally regulated motor carriers (known as extra-provincial carriers) and their drivers engaged in the transport of essential supplies and equipment in direct assistance to the emergency relief efforts during the response to COVID-19 in Canada.  Exemption proposals for provincially regulated carriers may also be forthcoming from the provinces.

The exemption for federally regulated carriers provides temporary relief from the scheduling provisions contained in the hours of service regulations. All other elements of the hours of service regulations remain in place, including the requirements for fatigue management and monitoring, as well as the need to compete daily logbooks and maintain records. The exemption will be available until April 30 or before if it is no longer deemed necessary by Transport Canada.

While the commodity and products list eligible for the exemption in Canada is identical to the declaration issued by the US Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there are additional administrative requirements not contained US declaration. These administrative requirements will apply to all drivers and carriers operating in Canada (regardless of domicile). In order to be eligible to use the Essential Freight Transport Exemption the following criteria will apply, among others:

  • That the carrier must notify the hours of service director in their base jurisdiction that they want to utilize the exemption (individual jurisdictions to designate contact in their specific communications to industry);
  • That the carrier must list all drivers and vehicles to participate under the exemption;
    • That a copy of the exemption must be carried in every vehicle operating under the exemption;
  • That the driver must indicate in the remarks section of their daily log if they are operating under the exemption on that day;
  • That a carrier cannot have a “conditional” or “unsatisfactory” safety rating;
  • That the driver or carrier cannot be under an out-of-service order;

A full copy of the Essential Freight Transport exemption can be obtained by clicking here – Signed – EN Essential Freight Transport Exemption_public – and here for FR – Signed – FR Essential Freight Transport Exemption_public 

Provincially regulated carriers are strongly encouraged to review the specific hours of service exemption options within their home jurisdictions if those options become available. At this time, CTA expects its members will be using this measure only in very rare or limited circumstances.

Carriers with further questions about the exemptions should contact their provincial trucking association.

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