Ottawa Truckers Rally on Champlain Bridge

OTTAWA — A dozen Ottawa-based dump trucks are expected to block part of the Champlain Bridge this morning, protesting their anger over what they say is an uneven playing field between Ontario truckers and Quebec truckers when it comes to working in each other’s provinces.

Today’s rally is meant to bring attention to the issue, Ron Barr, president of the Greater Ottawa Truckers Association (GOTA) told the Ottawa Citizen. A line of a dozen dump trucks will block the middle lane on the Champlian Bridge for 30 minutes. “Our focus is not to disrupt or upset the community,” he said in an interview with the Citizen.

According to GOTA, Quebec truckers have been taking the majority of municipal work in Ottawa, leaving Ontario-based companies struggling in their own province. It’s not as easy for Ontarians to work in Quebec, Barr said.

“They come over here, they take our work, and then they leave,” Barr told Today’s Trucking in January. “They don’t buy gas, they don’t employ, and they don’t do the 101 things that an Ontarian would do to benefit the taxbase for Ottawa, which is starving for revenue.”

He said that all they want is for Ottawa to protect its own, just as the City of Gatineau does.

A couple of Ontario politicians are on Barr’s side, too. Carleton-Mississippi Mills MPP Jack MacLaren has tabled a private member’s bill at Queen’s Park titled the Fairness is a Two-Way Street Act. That bill would block Quebec contractors from Ontario jobs until Quebec loosened restrictions that block Ontario workers.

On the municipal level, Ottawa City Councilor Rick Chiarelli is working on a new policy that would ban Quebec-based construction firms from bidding on city contracts.

For the full Ottawa Citizen story, click here.

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