Opinion

James Menzies

The top 25 stories in 25 years

by James Menzies

Since its inception, Truck News has been a trusted source of information for all-things trucking. The publication has broken many big stories throughout the years and has helped truckers learn about and understand changes that affect them. I've pored through 25 years of back issues and assembled this list of the 25 most significant news stories to be covered by Truck News. It's nearly impossible to compile a list of this nature that everyone agrees on, so take the rankings with a grain of salt. Not everyone will agree on where each of the following news stories should fit in, but enjoy the stroll through memory lane and if you feel compelled to discuss any of these events in more detail, feel free to add your two cents!

Truck News

CSR opposes LCBO deposits

by Truck News

CSR:Corporations Supporting Recycling has recently issued two news releases expressing opposition to, and concern about, the Province of Ontario's decision to place LCBO wine and liquor containers on deposit, starting in the New Year. Details about the new deposit program are explained in recent news items in Headline News at the website for Solid Waste & Recycling magazine: www.solidwastemag.com CSR says that the deposit system will harm the blue box curbside recycling programs and investment in glass recycling infrastructure. The CSR's point of view differs from that of various other organizations, including those that represent the interests of municipalities (Association of Municipaities of Ontario, or "AMO") and also the province's recycling coordinators (Association of Municipal Recycling Coordinators, or "AMRC") who administer the blue box progam. AMO and AMRC, as well as other entities like the Recycling Council of Ontario (RCO) and the Municipal Waste Integration Network (MWIN) have published formal position papers supporting the idea of placing LCBO containers on deposit. I've reproduced the CSR news releases below (click on the green link) so that readers may view them.

Truck News

The fight over papermill sludge

by Truck News

Here's an interesting development from the world of recycling, in this case the hauling of papermill sludge (a byproduct of paper recycling) and disposing of it on land. It's worth thinking about whether what you're hauling is a material or, sometimes, a waste. There was a public rally yesterday to protest the land application of papermill sludge at a site near Pelham, Ontario. The rally points up the fact that Ontario's Environment Minister Laurel Broten has not followed through with the full application of recommendations from an expert panel assigned to study appropriate handling and disposal of papermill sludge. A letter I received via email from activist Maureen Reilly outlines the position of people opposed to the casual land application of papermill sludge, who are calling for the implementation of the expert panel's recommendations. I've reproduced the letter below with minimal editing, and I've also cut and pasted two other things Maureen sent me: a Hansard transcript of an exchange in the legislature over this issue and also the expert panel's recommendations. Dear Guy: There was a big picket line in the rural community of Pelham, Ontario yesterday, as residents expressed their anger and concern about hundreds of truck loads of industrial papermill sludge dumped in their community. The Ministry of the Environment has failed to implement the recommendations of their own panel of scientists, physicians and experts as to how to manage this sludge material. The experts told the Minister to manage the material as a waste. Instead the material is dumped in rural communities with no waste permits whatsoever. Despite this, Laurel Broton, the Ontario Minister of the Environment, rose in the House to answer questions from Oppositon member Peter Kormos, and lied to the Legislature. She said: "I think it’s important for the people of the community to understand what the expert panel did say. The government’s actions are exactly consistent with what the expert panel said. " OH REALLY? 1. The Expert Panel said that any proposed site to receive the Sound-Sorb material needed a hydrogeological assessment before the sludge arrived. It said a Site Specific Risk Assessment may also need to be undertaken. So where is the hydrogeological assessment for Pelham? Where is the Site Specific Risk Assessment for Pelham? 2. The Expert Panel said the sludge needed to be managed as a waste under a Certificate of Approval. So where is the Certificate of Approval for the site? Why is the sludge hauled by trucks with no waste licence? 3. The Expert Panel said the sludge needed to be composted before it was brought to the site. In fact uncomposted sludge is being brought to the site...so it is not consistent with the recommendations of the Expert Panel. 4. The Minister suggested that the sludge at Pelham had been tested for 90 chemical and bacterial parameters. But the Ontario Minsitry of the Environment refused to provide any test results on the sludge at the Pelham site, and it is not clear that any testing was done at the site. The tests referred to by the Minister are not the same sludge as at the Pelham site. This sludge comes from Abitibi Thorold, a completely different facility than the tests provided to the Expert Panel which were from Atlantic Packaging in Scarborough and Whitby. And since Sound-Sorb is may contain any liquid, industrial or hazardous waste there is no telling what hazardous waste material is being brought to any particular site. Conclusion: The minister should publicly apologize to the Legislature for lying. And the minister should be forced to read aloud the true recommendations of the Expert Panel in the Legislature and immediately implement them. Hansard and expert panel recommendations are pasted below.

Julia Kuzeljevich

Trucking needs a baby boom

by Julia Kuzeljevich

I’ve been reading a lot of articles lately about something that has suddenly gotten put on the radar: the fact that in many industrialized countries, seniors will soon outnumber the younger, working-age population. In Canada, for example, (according to a Statistics Canada report released late last year), by the year 2015, there will be more people over the age of 65 than under the age of 15. That would be a first in the history of Canada’s population statistics, said the stats agency. Indeed, a worrying trend has emerged in the country: Canada’s fertility rates (the amount of births per woman) are declining dramatically. We essentially are no longer replacing deaths with enough births. The trucking industry has been well aware of such dire predictions for ages. Truckers already constitute, again according to Statistics Canada, an older work force whose average age in 2004 was 42 (45 for the self-employed truckers). Even more worrisome, only 5 % of truck drivers were under 25 in 2004, compared with 15 % in the labour force as a whole, says ‘the Man’s’ Stats division. And trucking will have to compete with many other industries for scarce employee resources. You can’t exactly offshore the profession either! Now demographics don’t happen overnight, but I think the sudden panic was probably encouraged by the fact that in 2006, the oldest Baby Boomers (encompassing those born from 1946 to 1964), turn 60. This wouldn’t normally be problematic because their generation is, as we all know, immortal, but now all sorts of queries and questions are coming out about what shall we all do? There’s no one left to work!