OBAC chides MTO for “mean-spirited” tickets

The Owner-Operator’s Business Association of Canada (OBAC) has called upon Peter Hurst, Director of Ontario’s Carrier Safety and Enforcement Branch, to withdraw all non-safety-related violations written during a recent enforcement blitz. The Ontario Ministry of Transportation had set a trap, according to OBAC, to nab truckers headed to the Rodeo du Camion truck show in Quebec.

MTO inspectors were positioned at the Temiskaming Square Mall, and at various points along Highway 65 east of New Liskeard — the only route available to truckers heading into Quebec. OBAC believes the “mean-spirited” blitz unfairly targeted truckers en route to the world-famous weekend truck race and show & shine contest.

“This certainly looks like targeted enforcement to me,” says OBAC Interim Executive Director, Leo Van Tuyl in a press release. “It seems the chance to take a closer look at 500-600 trucks passing the location over a short period of time proved too good an opportunity for MTO to pass up.”

One driver who spoke with Today’s Trucking’s sister publication highwaySTAR at the show accused the MTO of parachuting inspectors from other jurisdictions for the weekend event. The driver for North Bay, Ont.-based Smith’s Markets, said he recognized the enforcement officials who ticketed him as the same ones who work at the scale in North Bay.

OBAC condemned the issuing of tickets of an administrative nature, such as failing to complete a pre-trip inspection report, or failing to maintain a logbook, as “a cash grab at best, and at worst, pure and simple harassment of truckers by MTO.” In a letter, Van Tuyl also asked Hurst to withdraw non-safety related tickets, saying, “While OBAC supports MTO’s efforts to maintain Ontario’s superior highway safety record, it’s a bitter pill to swallow when truckers are singled out for an enforcement action on a weekend when it’s widely known these men and women are heading off to a weekend of well-deserved recreation and relaxation.”

Other than that, OBAC says it is having a good summer on the recruiting front. The group says it has signed close to 100 new members at the four truck shows it visited over the summer, and continues to get positive responses from the owner-operators and drivers who have been filling out the group’s summer survey.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told that OBAC is just what the owner-operator community needs right now,” Van Tuyl said. “There’s a lot going on where the voice of the owner-operator needs to be heard, like the Transport Worker Identity Card issue, and the Hazmat ID card in particular. We’re working on a proposal right now, and we’re also developing some relationships with industry suppliers that will prove quite beneficial to our members.”

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