TORONTO, Ont. – From east to west, Canadians are gearing up to recognize the more than 400,000 individuals who keep the country moving by contributing their time and energy to trucking operations.
This year National Trucking Week is slated for Sept. 11 to 18, and provincial associations are preparing to recognize those who work in the industry.
“If we don’t recognize them, who will?” asked Ralph Boyd, president of the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association. “I think we have an obligation to recognize the workers within our industry. Being a driver is a stressful job – you’re fighting traffic, you’re fighting the weather, meeting deadlines, dealing with shippers and dealing with your own company – this is a time to come out of the office and get out there and gladhand with the driving community.”
According to Boyd, National Trucking Week is an excellent opportunity for management to think outside of the box and come up with some creative ideas to recognize their co-workers.
“Last year, Sunbury Transport took an innovative approach to National Trucking Week. They hired a company to do free truck washes at a nearby truck stop, so they not only recognized their own workers but others as well,” said Boyd.
The Atlantic provinces have participated in their Driver Appreciation Day, held in conjunction with National Trucking Week, for a number of years now and this year will be no different, said Boyd.
“The APTA is actually the innovator in Canada for this type of event,” said Boyd. “We were the first association to host such an event, and this year’s Driver Appreciation Day will be held Sept. 14 and 15.”
The 24-hour event will be held at the Big Stop in Salisbury, N.B. and will see approximately 500 drivers stop by to enjoy nutritious snacks and a goodie bag full of information about hours of service, fuel calculators, idling, health and well-being and the like, as well as participate in a draw for prizes.
“Our purpose for being there will be to thank the drivers for the job they are doing,” Boyd said. “And we usually have a very strong representation from carriers and distributors. It’s good because it’s outside the normal course of business.”
Over the years, said Boyd, more and more companies are picking up on the idea of National Trucking Week and the APTA encourages members to look at past successes to acquire ideas to implement this year.
This year, the APTA is looking to establish a bigger promotional campaign for National Trucking Week and accompanying events.
“We are working on a publicity thing here in the Atlantic region and so we are working with one of our sister associations and we may try to do a little more advertising for the whole thing,” said Boyd.
Boyd would also like to eventually expand their efforts and create a Driver Appreciation Day at more truck stops throughout the region.
“We’d like to be in more locations, but it all comes down to volunteers, because everybody has schedules to work around. So it is a challenge, but it’s always fun,” he added.
In Ontario, National Trucking Week will be commemorated by the annual newspaper supplement in the Globe and Mail put out by the Ontario Trucking Association, as well as a public safety campaign.
“We are going to be giving away road safety videos about how to share the road with a truck, and they will be given to the first 1,000 people who contact the OTA after the announcements are made through the media. It has been very popular in the past with the motoring public,” said OTA communications manager Rebecka Torn.
This year, the OTA will be using an “Avoid my blind spot” poster in a billboard campaign to run through September. The association will also be giving away posters and buttons to mark National Trucking Week.
Educating the public is part of National Trucking Week, said Torn. The supplement will cover such topics as why trucking is a vital part of the province, and why trucks are a cleaner and greener mode of transportation, an update on the borders, safety tips, a profile of a driver who will talk about life on the road and some general info about the economic significance of the trucking industry, she added.
Out west, Kim Royal of the Alberta Motor Transport Association agreed National Trucking Week is not only a way to recognize those in the industry, but also an opportunity to show outsiders what it’s all about.
“When you think about the importance of the truck industry to the welfare of all Canadians, it is important that we are all aware of that contribution,” said Royal.
“The average individual doesn’t think much about what trucking means to them. They have no concept that without trucks they wouldn’t be able to buy clothes, food, or anything they can touch for that matter. Instead their perception is that there is a truck beside me on the road and I’m worried.”
National Trucking Week is a good way to promote the industry and get information out so that trucks don’t seem quite so scary to passenger car drivers on the road, Royal said.
The AMTA celebrated National Trucking Week by holding a pancake breakfast Aug. 5 at the Balzac Scales for drivers and members, he added.
“We’ve been planning the breakfast with the Alberta Inspection Services but couldn’t coordinate dates, so it’s a driver appreciation breakfast held prior to National Trucking Week,” said Royal.
“We will, however, be hosting the National Professional Truck Driving Championships in Lethbridge Sept. 17, which lands during National Trucking Week, and is a fun way to celebrate trucking.”
All associations are encouraging their members to participate in National Trucking Week festivities.
For help generating celebration ideas, visit www.cantruck.org and click on the NTW (National Trucking Week) logo.