OTTAWA, Ont. – Canada’s trucking industry appears to have secured a reprieve from wide-reaching changes to the Canada Labour Code, which took effect Sept. 1, but many questions remain.
A need to give federally regulated workers 96 hours of written notice about work schedules — and 24 hours’ notice about shift changes — exempts truck drivers, courier drivers, material handlers, warehouse workers, and shipper-receivers, according to the Interpretations, Policies and Guidelines used by enforcement teams.
The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) expects that it will be business as usual until further notice, and says it’s working with Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to address outstanding concerns affecting other job titles.
“CTA supports modern labor standards. However, the alliance has always held the position that any new standards that come into place must make sense for the industry and the customers we serve,” said alliance president Stephen Laskowski.
Other changes to the Labour Code include the right to refuse overtime due to family obligations, a 30-minute break for every five hours of work, and a minimum eight-hour break between work shifts.
It isn’t the only business group to sound the alarm about the impact the scheduling changes could have.
“The federal government is trying to apply a one-size-fits-all, 9-5 business model to industries where that just doesn’t work,” said Dan Kelly, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).
“Our trucking members in particular have been clear that these labor standard changes will be devastating. They are facing significant labor shortages and are doing what they can to attract and retain qualified workers. Business owners already know that a good work-life balance is essential to keeping their employees.”
The new rules also introduce more red tape for businesses that operate across provincial borders, potentially precluding them from making one-day and same-day deliveries, the CFIB says.
The Canadian Trucking Alliance has also been looking to have trucking removed from a requirement to refuse overtime for certain personal responsibilities, but said this may be less of a concern when those responsibilities are more clearly defined.
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