Trucking makes everything possible, from here to tomorrow.
This is the message of the Manitoba Trucking Association’s (MTA) new public relations campaign, set to officially launch in 2019. With “movement” as the main theme, the MTA has begun to unveil its message on our website and YouTube channel. The message is a powerful one, and we hope with this campaign the MTA will get the public thinking about how profoundly their lives are impacted by trucking.
For those of us in the trucking industry, this comes as no surprise. Anyone who has worked in our industry – as a driver, dispatcher, technician, or sales – knows the numbers: 95% of goods in Manitoba are shipped by truck, trucking contributes more than $2 billion to Manitoba’s GDP, and it employs (directly and indirectly) approximately 4.6% of the provincial labor force. But outside of trucking, who knows these numbers?
That’s why the trucking industry isn’t the intended audience of the MTA’s new campaign; the general public is. Too often the attention our industry gets from the media isn’t for the good news stories. They say any publicity is good publicity, but I think trucking might be the exception to that rule. Generally, we are an invisible industry, except for when we make the news. Then all of the good, safe, on-time work we have done becomes irrelevant. We want the general public to see that we are a safe industry, and that what they do, for work or pleasure, relies on us to do our jobs right.
John Erik Albrechtsen, president of the MTA, agrees. One of his beliefs about how the trucking industry can achieve some of its goals is to get the public on board.
An example of this is mandatory entry level training, or MELT. Currently, Ontario is the only province with such a program for the trucking industry in place. In Manitoba, the trucking association has been advocating for a driver training standard for years, even going so far as to develop a program with MPI, the provincial driving insurer. This program, Manitoba Entry Level Professional Truck Driver Training, trained drivers through a six-week course plus mentorship, meaning it took two full years before commercial drivers were qualified and on the road alone. While a new, equally popular program has been developed to replace the original, there remains no provincially legislated training standard in Manitoba.
However, due to last year’s tragic accident in Humboldt, public will toward a commercial driving training changed. Alberta announced a new standard, as did Saskatchewan. In Manitoba, the government claims to be moving toward implementing one, however, as of this writing, the MTA has not received any definitive answers from anyone in the provincial government. With public will providing the fuel for provincial governments to get this done, the trucking industry in some provinces is gaining the training standard for which it has long advocated, and the MTA wants to ensure that Manitoba becomes one of those provinces.
So, why should anyone care about trucking? Trucking makes everything possible, from here to tomorrow.
Terry Shaw oversees the planning and priorities of the MTA, is the lead for political liaison and relations with all levels of government, media relations, and acts as a spokesperson for the industry. He is a member of several MTA committees and represents the association through his involvement with Trucking HR Canada, the Manitoba Employers Council, and the Winnipeg and Manitoba Chambers of Commerce. Terry also engages on national issues as a regional vice-president of the Canadian Trucking Alliance, of which he is a board and executive member.