ANCASTER, Ont. - The group that was for almost 30 years considered by many in the the trucking industry to be the preeminent voice of Canadian owner/operators on a wide range of issues has fallen sile...
ANCASTER, Ont. – The group that was for almost 30 years considered by many in the the trucking industry to be the preeminent voice of Canadian owner/operators on a wide range of issues has fallen silent.
The COM-CAR Owner-Operators Association closed its doors for good on Jan. 24, with Joanne Joosse saying that she just no longer has the physical or emotional stamina to keep the association running. She kept the association running as a “tribute” to her husband Art, who founded the association in 1976. Art Joosse died of cancer in 2000.
“I want this to be a tribute to Art. I really wanted to keep this alive,” she says, but says that promises of support that never materialized and a hoped-for merger that collapsed last September finally took their toll. “I physically and emotionally can’t do this. Not when the financial support is gone.”
She says financial support for the association dried up following her husband’s death and although she’s not bitter about that because she knows that Art Joosse was the driving force of COM-CAR, she just can’t go on.
“I’m certainly unhappy with the decision that I’ve had to make. I feel that I’ve left owner/operators in the lurch,” she says.
In a letter sent earlier this month to COM-CAR members, Joosse thanked everyone who supported her “personally and professionally” since the death of her husband, and reassured members that she has been told that COM-CAR members who receive special fuel pricing from Ultramar because of their association membership, will continue to do so.
COM-CAR was founded in 1976 by Art Joosse, a Hamilton-Wentworth school teacher who got into trucking part-time during university to supplement his income. Joosse started COM-CAR after he was approached by a group of Laidlaw owner/operators who were organized as the Laidlaw Owner-Operators Association.
COM-CAR and Joosse were a founding member of the Canadian Trucking Human Resources Council (CTHRC), and the association was often called upon by both federal and provincial governments to speak on behalf of O/Os on a wide range of issues – more than any other organization. Joosse sat on numerous committees, both provincially and federally.
“I think that just the fact that owner/operators had an organization they could call on for support was very important,” she says, but adds that COM-CAR lost a lot of its drive following the death of its founder.