TORONTO, Ont. — The Ontario Trucking Association continues to lead the pack when it comes to Canada’s most effective trade associations, says OTA and Canadian Trucking Alliance president David Bradley, citing its “strong and supportive membership, the ability to work productively and cooperatively with government and other stakeholders while remaining firm in terms of what members believe in and a dedicated staff which is driven to produce something good from uncertain outcomes.” Bradley made the comments during his annual report at the OTA annual general meeting in Toronto yesterday.
“We continue to put points on the board,” said Bradley, who citing numerous key decisions that OTA played a leading role in over the past year. Among the decisions mentioned: changes to the driver’s licence renewal process for drivers over 65 years of age; an agreement on construction of the new bridge at Windsor-Detroit; the ability to use automatic transmissions for Class A road tests; a five-year extension of the exemption for CB radios from the province’s distracted driving laws; expansion of the Ontario LCV program; an extension of the tractor-wheelbase for SPIF vehicles; and a moderation in the anticipated increases in WSIB premiums for the coming year.
“It means we are always busy juggling lots of issues, but our persistence has paid off again,” he said.
Bradley also mentioned how the group juggles work with the CTA, which Bradley and the OTA staff also manage on a day-to-day basis. “OTA members are also members of CTA and as an industry that crosses borders, CTA plays a vital role on behalf of the industry,” he said.
Bradley pointed to the 12 of the 27 measures contained in the “historic” Canada-US Perimeter Vision Action Plan and the work CTA did on the new GHG/fuel efficiency standards for heavy trucks, as well as the introduction of proposed manufacturing standards for boat-tails as “prime examples of CTA’s effectiveness as the industry’s advocate.” He also cited CTA’s work from the alliance’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on the Driver Shortage; the introduction of a new partnership to combat cargo crime; an industry retirement savings program and a sleep apnea testing and treatment program as evidence CTA is at the leading edge of operational and legislative issues significantly impacting the industry.
“Between OTA and CTA our reach extends from the community level – take the role we played in diffusing the calls for a truck ban on Dawson Rd. in Thunder Bay, for example – to the North America level, such as the input we were able to bring to the debate in the United States over how to account for accidents in CSA and the support we were able to lend to the Canadian negotiators on the perimeter security agreement,” said Bradley. “Our efforts are recognized internationally as well, from the interest the European Commission has shown our Blue Ribbon Task Force report, to the calls we have received from the Australian Trucking Association about our sleep apnea program.”
However, he cautioned no organization should ever be totally satisfied with its performance or rest on its laurels. “There is still much work to be done on so many issues and we, like the industry we represent, must be dynamic and willing to change to find new and better ways to remain effective and to provide added value to the membership,” he said. “That is why we push to attract the ‘next generation’ of industry leaders into the association and onto our board. We want to make sure that the strong, vibrant industry leadership that has been a hallmark of OTA’s success is there in five, 10, and 20 years’ time.”
Bradley said that many of the association’s products, services and events are also undergoing an overhaul. GroupHealth Global, the providers of OTA’s group benefits program, has just launched a new product specifically aimed at smaller-sized carriers. The association will also be offering more than 80 webinars over the next year; and in addition to revamping and relocating the OTA convention, two new networking events – a Spring Social and Golf Tournament and a Motorcycle/Car Rally – are being planned.
“Social media will also continue to play an ever-more-important role in how we do what we do,” said Bradley. He said that OTA now has more than 1,000 followers on Twitter and its video blogs are attracting ever-increasing audiences on YouTube and elsewhere. An OTA Livestock Transporters video highlighting industry best practices, for example, has had more than 1,600 views. “You either embrace change or you fade away,” said Bradley. “We intend to stay ahead of the curve.”