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Private Links: Big Returns From Small Investments

The summer of 2004 is winding down as I write this, and in retrospect the first three quarters of the year seem to have been a very busy and interesting time for trucking and in particular for members of the PMTC.

The summer of 2004 is winding down as I write this, and in retrospect the first three quarters of the year seem to have been a very busy and interesting time for trucking and in particular for members of the PMTC.

PMTC members had the opportunity in March to attend an in-depth seminar on two very important topics. Laura Williams and Christopher Andree from the labour law firm of Crawford Chondon & Andree, LLP explained the newly enacted Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (a.k.a. PIPEDA) and its effect on fleet operations, and discussed salient issues regarding the use of contract driver agencies.

While most people in the business were at least aware of PIPEDA, it took a seminar such as this to make sure that fleet operators clearly understood their responsibilities. Williams is an acknowledged expert on the subject and did a first class job of explaining the Act and in answering the questions posed by those in attendance.

Similarly, Andree who has spoken at a number of PMTC functions on labour law took us through a review of the way contracts for the supply of labour are viewed by the courts, and specifically what happens when the actual manner of operation differs from the way the contract is worded.

In other words, Chris pointed out that it is not enough to have a contract that meets the legal requirements of identifying responsibilities, but that the actual day-to-day operations must be able to withstand scrutiny.

When this is not the case, there can be a blurring of the lines of responsibility and that is when the client can unintentionally become the employer in the eyes of the law.

In June we held our annual conference, which featured some outstanding speakers and mini-seminars on developing an award winning driver team and on how Six Sigma works for fleet operators.

In both cases we had experienced fleet managers on board who took us beyond the theory and into the practical world of fleet operations.

These seminars, led by people who live with the daily activities of managing a fleet while at the same time implementing change, deliver practical, real-world experience that is invaluable.

The conference also gave us an opportunity to tour the John Deer Distribution Centre and see how state of the art inventory control and order picking blends with a most impressive private fleet operation to meet demanding delivery schedules.

Over the course of the year fleet managers have also had to deal with the uncertainty of incoming changes to hours of service in Canada and, more recently, a decision in the United States that overturned their newly enacted hours of service regime.

PMTC members have been kept up to date with these changes through our bulletins and our newsletters, and there have been many telephone discussions with individual members to explain the details.

We’re not finished with hours of service yet, and our members can count on being kept informed as work progresses.

Many members participated in our annual Private Fleet Compensation Survey, and described it as the “best ever.”

It is the only survey of its kind that concentrates on private fleets, and the results are sent only to participants.

If you want to take advantage of this free report next year contact the office to find out how to participate – you don’t even need to be a member.

Through our magazine and our newsletter, PMTC members have also received a host of informative articles written by other members – articles dealing with such diverse subjects as preparing your driver profiles for an audit, human resource management tips, rulings on drug and alcohol testing, managing vehicle records, and of course border crossing issues.

We value and nurture the help that members can give to one another through their association with the PMTC.

It’s a facet of this organization that sets it apart from many others.

The willingness of members to share information and to help each other is indeed a valuable benefit of membership.

So, if you’re a private fleet operator, or a supplier to fleets and you haven’t yet joined the PMTC you need to consider doing just that.

The benefits of membership are many and the investment is small. Call the office now and we’ll give you all the information you need to make the decision.

– The Private Motor Truck Council of Canada is the only national association dedicated to the private trucking community. This column presents opinions on trucking issues from the perspective of private carriers. Comments can be addressed to

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