BCTA cites policy work and wins for 2016

KELOWNA, BC – The BC Trucking Association is citing a broad range of policy work and gains in the last year, affecting topics from safety to the regulatory environment and taxes.

“We’re good at it,” reports Louise Yako, president and Chief Executive Officer, in an annual status report and policy update. A third-party survey of governments and quasi-government contacts gave the group a 93% score for responsiveness, 76% for providing evidence-based information, and scores in the 80s for trustworthiness, fairness, transparency and timeliness.

In terms of safety, the group clarified how the National Safety Code Carrier Profiles record U.S. incident data including accidents, Out of Service declarations, and U.S. violation tickets, notices and orders. “We continued to oppose [updated] proposed steel storage rack Occupational Health and Safety Regulation amendments for needless inspection and installation by a ‘qualified’ person or professional engineer,” the annual status report reads. The association also protested a provision allowing owner-operators with National Safety Code violations to keep Port of Vancouver truck tags upon dismissal.

On the human resources front, the association is working with Trucking HR Canada on the “Describe and Deliver” campaign to encourage carriers to upgrade job descriptions and ads to help truck driving be recognized as a skilled occupation.

Expanded rest areas and truck parking helped to lead the way among infrastructure gains. The association has worked with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure BC on rest area and parking surveys. A site for commercial vehicle parking has since been announced for Highway 97C, and based on survey results the ministry has been promising upgrades to existing facilities, starting with the “Last Spike” rest area on Highway 1 and the facility on Highway 97 south of Williams Lake. When it came to the rehabilitation of the Pattullo Bridge, meanwhile, the group says it helped to reverse a ban on trucks with three or more axles. And a new Sicamous roundabout will accommodate all vehicle combinations.

In terms of vehicle weights and dimensions, the association says it gained an increase in B-train lengths to 27.5 meters from 25 meters, and boat tails can now be 1.52 meters compared to 0.61 meters, harmonizing with eight other provinces.

“We convinced [the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure] to allow permit applications across BC under policies for wheeler and platform trailers and manufactured homes, modular buildings, and houseboats for loads previously restricted to the Peace River region,” the report adds. BC Ferries has also clarified advance notice requirements for 0S-0W vehicles and initiated a review of pre-arrival notification triggers to more closely align with provincial term permit dimensions.

Working with ICBC, the association says it convinced the U.S. to update guidance for enforcement personnel, confirming a BC Class 5 licence with endorsement codes 18, 19 or 20 met U.S. medical certification requirements.

On the tax front, in a submission to the BC Commission on Tax Competitiveness, the BCTA supported replacing the provincial sales tax with a made-in-BC value-added tax in the long term, and exempting all taxes on capital expenditures from the Provincial Sales Tax in the short term.

“We strongly protested an ICBC policy change requiring carriers with fewer than 20 drivers to obtain driver abstracts directly from drivers. ICBC responded to mitigate concerns by providing drivers the option to send an abstract directly to employers as part of the online request process and information flyers for distribution to drivers,” the report adds.

Meanwhile, the association continues to call for improvements to the Port of Vancouver Truck Licensing System and issues related to marine terminals. “Our call for transparency resulted in the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority sharing information on port expenses and other costs intended to be captured by truck licence fees and other related charges,” the report says. The group also opposed Global Container Terminals’ new Flex-Appointment fee schedule because of a lack of confidence that the fee would be applied appropriately.

“BCTA was a key voice in convincing the Ministry of Environment to reduce the scope of the first phase of BC’s Spill Response Regime regulations to liquid petroleum products,” the association adds. “So far, we have gained a more-reasonable implementation schedule, elimination of spill response capability for a proposed industry preparedness and response organization, and more-appropriate standards for the trucking sector.”

John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking, trucknews.com, TruckTech, Transport Routier, Inside Logistics, Solid Waste & Recycling, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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