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GOTA expands into Toronto

OTTAWA, Ont. - The Greater Ottawa Truckers Association will have to start thinking about a name change if its latest venture proves successful.The GOTA opened a new office in Cannington, Ont. (just no...

OTTAWA, Ont. – The Greater Ottawa Truckers Association will have to start thinking about a name change if its latest venture proves successful.

The GOTA opened a new office in Cannington, Ont. (just north of Port Perry, Ont.) in November to serve as the organization’s Greater Toronto chapter.

Founded in 1965, the GOTA has approximately 600 owner/operator members involved almost exclusively in aggregate hauling. The Greater Toronto chapter joins the association’s existing chapters in northern Ontario and Cornwall.

Right now the new office is comprised of dedicated phone and fax lines in district manager Bill Blundell’s home, but he stresses this arrangement is only temporary.

“Once we get the membership up, we will move to a permanent office somewhere central to the region but east of the city, like Markham or Stouffville,” Blundell says.

And getting new members is Blundell’s sole objective at the moment, he says. The GOTA held three separate “information sessions” in and around Toronto in January – in Brampton, Barrie and Oshawa – to fill the region’s aggregate haulers in on what the association is all about.

Membership runs $400 per year for a one-truck operation, and $500 per year for six or more trucks. For that, Blundell says, members get access to deals on parts, insurance and health benefits plus a strong lobbying voice on political issues. The association’s charter also allows it to act as a representative for its members in contract negotiations.

So far, Blundell insists the response to the GOTA’s GTA chapter has been great.

“The drivers I have spoken to are all for it. I think they understand that it has been a problem all along that there has been no voice for the truckers in this industry,” he says. “We have people who don’t know anything about what we do telling us what our costs and rates should be. Those old attitudes have got to change. Our goal is to take what the Ottawa association does and recreate it in the GTA.”

That could take some time. Over the course of its 35-year history, the GOTA has grown into a force to be reckoned with in the eastern Ontario trucking industry. According to Dwayne Mosley, association general manager, the GOTA claims some 95 per cent of the aggregate haulers and dump truck operators in the eastern part of the province. The association currently negotiates annual rates with local contractors and aggregate producers and also set up a one-of-a-kind snow removal deal with the City of Ottawa with guaranteed hours and a fuel surcharge. Members who were earning around $48 per hour in 1996, contends Mosley, now earn over $60 per hour.

“It’s not hard to do if you’ve got the numbers,” he explains. “We sit down every November with the companies and hammer out an agreement on rates.” n

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