The Private Motor Truck Council of Canada (PMTC) welcomes the opportunity to work with the National Supply Chain Task Force and is thankful for the partnership and chance to work together to make Canada’s supply chain stronger.
The PMTC is the only national Canadian association dedicated to representing the views and interest of Canada’s private and dedicated fleets. This segment of the Canadian trucking industry represents roughly 50% of the Class 8 trucks on Canada’s highways today, and more than 70% of Canada’s smaller urban deliver vehicles (Classes 7 and below).
We feel it is important that this unique portion of the industry is represented on the task force with their perspectives.
The pandemic, along with recent severe weather events, such as the floods and wildfires in B.C., show not only how critical our supply chain is, but also how fragile. The nation’s critical needs rely on the men and women who work in the supply chain, as well as the infrastructure that is required to efficiently move the freight and supply the services that are required for our daily lives.
Canada is one of the greatest nations in the world and must move forward with supply chain efficiencies and improvements that are warranted for the G7 country that we are.
The PMTC and its members have highlighted a number of areas to the Task Force that we feel will help improve the country’s supply chain.
FAST card enrollment centers on the Canadian side of the border must be re-opened. These centers have been closed since March 2020, and with a current backlog of more than 11,000 applications, access to FAST-approved drivers is hampering cross-border trade.
More investment is required for border infrastructure; both in physical infrastructure to help improve traffic flow, as well as increased and ongoing investment for hardware and software to streamline Customs clearance.
More redundancy in key cross-country infrastructure is needed. Specific areas of need include twinning of Hwy. 185 in Quebec to New Brunswick to improve flow and open up a full LCV network from Ontario to the Maritimes.
Twinning of the Trans-Canada through Northern Ontario will provide an alternative route should another disaster like the Nipigon bridge failure – which severed east-west trade for several weeks in 2016 – occur. This would also open up the LCV network to Northern Ontario and the possibility of expanding to the western provinces.
Twinning all of Hwy. 1 through the Prairies and through B.C. will provide both redundancy and improved safety and traffic flow.
A national design standard for the Trans-Canada Highway must be followed when these highways are built, expanded, or repaired. Included in this should be publicly funded parking facilities with access to clean and safe washrooms for commercial drivers. A lack of adequate and safe parking has existed for years and needs to be addressed with jurisdictions working together on a national strategy.
Regulatory harmonization from coast to coast to coast is required to reduce costs and improve efficiencies for the trucking industry – especially more options for weights and dimensions as well as a national approach for funding and weight credits for fuel-efficient vehicles.
Work must be done to have the driving profession declared a skilled trade and open up more consistent funding to allow potential new drivers access to funds for training opportunities.
We must work with the U.S. to have the land border vaccine mandate for essential workers removed for both countries. This mandate has removed more than 15% of the cross-border workforce at a time when we already have a severe shortage of drivers.
More coordination of jurisdictional regulations is needed. Inconsistencies in regulations and enforcement from one jurisdiction to another reduces efficiency and increases burdens and cost to the industry. It also leads to some carriers who don’t have safety and compliance at the top of their priorities to go jurisdiction shopping to find the one with the least stringent regulations to register their fleet within.
Improved programs are needed for accessing foreign workers for the transportation industry, with a path to permanent residency, complete with better oversight of current immigration polices and a trusted partner program where only proven safe carriers with a plan to integrate the new immigrants into their fleet and community are approved.
We also require a strategy for fueling/charging infrastructure for alternative-fueled vehicles.
Additional emphasis is needed to reduce congestion in Canada’s worst bottleneck areas (Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, etc.)
Working with jurisdictions to remove by-laws, where possible, that restrict nighttime deliveries is also needed.
The PMTC looks forward to working with the Task Force and to further discussion and consultations as we move forward.
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