TORONTO, Ont. – The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) has called on the federal government to broaden its oversight powers under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) to prevent tampering of mandatory emissions control devices in heavy trucks.
Pointing to oversight powers in the US’s Clean Air Act, the CTA’s submission outlined how the vast majority of the trucking industry complies with the environmental rules, but also the industry’s frustration with the negative impact environmental control devices have on equipment reliability and driver wellbeing.
“In the US there are significant fines and legal consequences for the manufactures, sellers and installers of aftermarket devices and services designed to circumvent emission controls,” senior vice-president Stephen Laskowski explained during the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development meeting. “In Canada, no such powers exist under CEPA after the vehicle is sold to the consumer. This fact – coupled with spotty or non-existent provincial regulations and enforcement to prevent sales and installation of emissions control defeat devices – means that we now find ourselves in a situation where harmful environmental, and unfair business practices are allowed to continue, unchecked. This needs to be corrected.”
Not making excuses for those who attempt to bypass the emissions control systems, the CTA says volatile engine performance has forced many companies to add up to 20% more trucks to their fleet than was required to cover the vehicles put out of service due to emissions controls.
“This is obviously very frustrating for fleet owners, especially those who play by the rules and have to unfairly compete with carriers who have found aftermarket businesses that will disable the emissions control system,” said Laskowski. “Governments need to play a stronger role in not only cracking down on the tampering market, but also reducing demand for that market by correcting the reliability factor and offering carriers some recourse when new equipment doesn’t work properly.”
The CTA has recommended several measures to help rectify this issue, including the CEPA be amended to allow the federal government to enforce similar penalties as the US Clean Air Act for engine tampering; that Transport Canada and Environment Canada assist the CTA in championing for a tampering inspection; testing protocols be established for emission reduction qualifying technology and supporting wiring systems; ensure manufacturers and importers pay for repairs during a recall and that new vehicles perform reliably before being sold to the public; and look at a modified form of ‘limp mode’ technology.