TORONTO, Ont. – The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) has offered up a plan to help support growth in the economy while improving highway safety and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector for the newly appointed federal government.
The CTA submission was sent to the Federal Ministers of Transport, Environment, Finance, Infrastructure and Public Safety to highlight the areas where the industry can work together to achieve a common goal. The Alliance claims that if adopted, its recommendations would contribute to: growth in well-paying jobs, reducing congestion, infrastructure investment, spurring environmental technology and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, fostering international trade, considering the impact of legalizing marijuana on businesses.
“We believe that many of the policy directions we are recommending in our submission are consistent with the government’s platform of promoting economic growth and competitiveness and will help it achieve its stated election promises,” said CTA CEO David Bradley.
Concerning labour, the CTA said it called on government to rank trucking as a skilled occupation under the National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Bradley claimed this would not only help attract drivers to the driver-shortage plagued industry, but also create more jobs in Canada.
Currently, the government’s intention is to work with provinces and post-secondary institutions to develop or expand Pre-Apprenticeship Training Programs and provide up to $10 million per year to help young Canadians gain the skills they need to enter the trades. However, as long as trucking is deemed ‘unskilled,’ underemployed Canadians interested in the industry are unable to take advantage of these programs, the Alliance said.
Here, the Alliance is urging the federal government to work with provinces and municipalities in identifying strategic road-freight infrastructure investments so urban areas are able to accommodate efficient goods movement. The CTA applauds government’s view that transit funding is key to relieving congestion.
“Getting people out of their cars is a key part of the solution to relieving congestion, but there is consistently little attention being paid to goods movement strategies, nor does it address the fact we’re the only major industrialized country on the planet not to have a national highway policy,” said Bradley. “The recent problems at the Nipigon River Bridge in Ontario underscores the need for the federal government to provide dedicated support of roads and bridges.”
CTA is asking government rather than reducing the fuel tax, the tax should at least be dedicated to road/infrastructure spending. Former government never followed through on its promise to cut the fuel tax by 50%.
As the federal government gets closer to creating national GHG reduction targets, the CTA wants to ensure the significant contributions generated by the trucking industry through proposed mechanisms like carbon taxes or cap and trade systems, should be reinvested into the industry. As well, enhancing existing tax measures to generate more investments in the research, development and marketing of clean technology would also indicate to the industry the government is a willing partner in reducing carbon emissions from the road transport sector, the CTA said.
The CTA outlined here that it is important the federal government continue to pursue with the United States a modernization of the rules governing such things as the repositioning of foreign empty trailers. In addition, the CTA said Canada should audit the application of free trade agreements and protocols. For example, the US Animal and Plant Health Inspection Fees on all trucks going from Canada to the US, regardless of whether agricultural goods are being transported or not, is inconsistent with the United States’ obligations under GATT and NAFTA.
A Liberal government has people wondering what’s in store in terms of marijuana legalization.
Therefore, in developing the new laws governing marijuana use, CTA says government should take note of issues regarding its trade interests and obligations – particularly with the US, where Canadian truck drivers are subject to drug and alcohol use testing. CTA also wants the government to provide clarity on the obligations and rights of employees and employers in safety sensitive positions.
“By working with industry and the Canadian Trucking Alliance on many of the recommendations contained in this submission, we believe the federal government will be able to laying much of the groundwork towards realizing its commitments while ensuring a strong future for Canada,” said Bradley.