VANCOUVER, B.C. - Massive cuts to the Insurance Corp. of B.C. (ICBC) will have a minimal effect on the Crown Corporation's commercial vehicle affairs, according to an ICBC spokesman.Although the provi...
VANCOUVER, B.C. – Massive cuts to the Insurance Corp. of B.C. (ICBC) will have a minimal effect on the Crown Corporation’s commercial vehicle affairs, according to an ICBC spokesman.
Although the province’s Liberal government has demanded Crown Corporations overhaul their operations to become more efficient, truckers are being told to expect the same level of service they have come to expect.
“We’re taking efforts to include the cutbacks in a way that reduces the effect as much as possible,” says ICBC spokesman, Rick Caulfield.
Random roadside inspections, National Safety Code (NSC) audits, International Roadcheck, Operation Air Brake and the Focused Inspection Team Program will all continue to operate.
The only difference will be that there are fewer enforcement officers to carry out these services.
“There is a reduction in the commercial transport inspection force but just exactly how that’s going to play out is still being sorted out and we’re making sure that adjustments to programs because of those staff reductions will be made to provide excellent service in a cost-effective manner,” says Caulfield. “Even despite that reduction in CTI (commercial transport inspector) staff, those (safety) programs are going to be maintained.”
Recently, Richmond city officials have raised concerns over possible cuts to the Road Safety Improvement Program, which doles out about $1.1 million toward traffic safety audits and infrastructure improvement studies.
Truck News readers have also voiced their displeasure over the cuts. In fact, one trucker recently complained that “ICBC is no longer concerned with truck safety, just compliance with their NSC requirements.”
However, B.C. Trucking Association (BCTA) president, Paul Landry says the association’s membership is, for the most part, supportive of ICBC.
“So far, it really hasn’t had a direct impact on us,” says Landry. “A very small percentage of those positions (affected by ICBC’s staff reductions) would involve on-the-road enforcement and we haven’t really noticed any changes.”
In fact, the province’s trucking industry seems to be taking even the recent premium hikes of eight to 14 per cent in stride.
“After six years of a rate freeze increase, carriers are probably doing fairly well in comparison to companies having to deal with private-sector companies elsewhere in North America who are facing 50 per cent to 100 per cent increases,” says Landry. He advises fleets to increase their rates to compensate for the increase in insurance costs.
While rumors continue to swirl around the future role ICBC will play as the province’s only insurance provider, Landry says most trucking companies support the continuation of ICBC.
“They very much appreciate the stability that has been provided by the corporation over the last number of years,” says Landry. “B.C. carriers have very few advantages as a result of operating out of British Columbia and ICBC happens to be one of those advantages.”