Ontario

Truckers hoping to drive through change in Ontario’s north

TIMMINS, Ont. – The Ontario general election is well underway and getting a lot of air time, but no one would fault you if you hadn’t heard of the Northern Ontario Party (NOP), or its two truck-driving candidates. The party, as its name would suggest, is only located in northern Ontario and prides itself on having no whip or central campaign to force candidates to stay on a single message. That riding-first policy was part of what attracted Shawn Poirier and Gary Schaap to the smaller party. The two drivers each say the lack of party line to toe mean they get to focus on issues that matter to them and their potential constituents – concerns that are shared by those in the trucking industry.

Lack of parking affects driver health; survey needs respondents

TORONTO, ON – A lack of truck parking in Southern Ontario is affecting driver health according to the preliminary results of a survey on the issue. More than 1,000 drivers have responded to the survey on truck parking being conducted for the Ontario Ministry of Transportation to asses the needs of drivers, but the survey's adminstrator Ted Harvey is hoping for 2,000 more to answer questions before the Feb. 28 deadline.

Exemption for CBs extended

TORONTO, ON - Drivers in Ontario can hang onto their CB radios for a little while longer, thanks to a temporary reprieve from a law that would have permanently silenced the units in the new year. An Ontario Ministry of Transportation representative says CBs won't be taken out of cabs until January 1, 2021 - a three-year extension on the earlier January 1, 2018 deadline - to "allow for the development of more viable hands-free technologies." As the first jurisdiction to make the wired CB radio illegal in moving vehicles, Ontario said it was doing so because the devices were a dangerous distraction to drivers. The latest delay is on top of the five-year timeline that was originally introduced to come up with alternatives. The continued exemption will allow the radios to be used by roadside assistance and service vehicles, taxis, street cars, delivery and courier vehicles, and drivers of construction or commercial motor vehicles. It applies to radios mounted on dashboards or worn on clothing. After the new exemption expires, the radios will be off limits for everyone except law enforcement officers, firefighters, and provincial offenses officers.

Final touches on green rebate program unveiled

TORONTO, ON - The final details on Ontario's Green Commercial Vehicle Program (GCVP) are now available from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. GCVP provides rebates to fleets and owners for the purchase of environmentally-friendly and fuel-saving vehicles and technologies purchased after Sept. 1, 2017, including up to 50% of the incremental cost of a new electric truck, or an electric auxiliary power unit (APU). The program championed by groups like the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) aims to make it more affordable for businesses reduce their carbon footprint while helping the province meet its goals under the Climate Change Action Plan to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 37% below 1990 levels by 2030. OTA president Stephen Laskowski says after two years working on the project the group is delighted to see GCVP implemented. "[Ontario Transportation] Minister Del Duca has once again shown leadership by reinvesting carbon fees paid by our industry back into our sector, so that our industry can continue on the path of environmental advancement in Ontario," he said.

BYD to open Ontario plant

TORONTO, ON - Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer BYD Co. says it is planning to open its first assembly plant in Ontario. A Government of Ontario delegation that included Premier Kathleen Wynne and Michael Chan, Minister of International Trade visited the company's headquarters in Shenzhen, China at the beginning of December on a mission to talk trade and tax credits. BYD says it will open the plant to conduct final assembly operations on short-range vehicles in the next 12 months, due in part to the investments the government is making in infrastructure to support electric vehicles in the next decade.

OTA releases five-point safety action plan

TORONTO, ON - The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) released a five-point action plan for improving truck safety this morning. The plan aims to work with law enforcement officials to assure the public that safety on the roads is the top priority of fleets owners, drivers, and other members of the industry, after a recent string of crashes involving commercial motor vehicles on Ontario highways had Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Commissioner Vince Hawkes calling trucks "missiles."

Ontario announces tools for winter roads

TORONTO, ON - The Ontario government is offering support to drivers trying to navigate winter roads this year. Today Ontario Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca announced expansions to two digital tools for drivers to help them plan safe routes through snowy conditions. The website Track My Plow now covers all 20 of the province's winter maintenance contract areas, allowing drivers to see the location of plows on highways during and after a storm, and use roadways that have been cleared.

New auto carrier regs come to Ontario

TORONTO, ON - The Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) and the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) have announced a "made-in-Canada" approach to harmonizing regulations for Stinger-Steer auto carriers. Earlier this week MTO launched the Extended Stinger-Steer Auto Carrier (ESSAC) Special Vehicle Configuration Permit Program. Carriers and other industry groups have been asking for an overhaul to the Ontario regulations surrounding the auto carriers since the passage of the FAST act in the U.S. in 2015 changed regulations to things like length, and front and rear load overhang limits south of the border.