TORONTO, Ont. — As Today’s Trucking continues its coverage of Covid-19 and the impact on trucking, this page will be updated with links to related resources and news.
1. Government offices are closing. What if my licence or registration is about to expire?
Provinces and territories across Canada have rolled out a series of changes to driver and vehicle licensing procedures and deadlines against a backdrop of Covid-19. But the specific strategies vary from one jurisdiction to the next.
For the complete list, visit www.ccmta.ca.
2. What can truck drivers expect when crossing the border?
The Canada-U.S. border has been tightened in the fight against the Covid-19 virus, but remains open for the business of trucking between the two countries.
Loads of cargo have been deemed an “essential service“, while other traffic is restricted until at least June 21.
Truck drivers who show no signs of Covid-19 are not required to self-isolate themselves for 14 days just because they crossed the border. They will, however, need to enter a 14-day quarantine if they display signs of the virus.
Border officers are now asking drivers specific questions about whether anyone has been exposed to Covid-19. And U.S.-bound truck drivers that have returned from a known international “hot spot” for the virus in the preceding 14 days will be denied entry.
As of midnight on April 15, border-crossing drivers have also been required to wear non-medical face masks.
Here in Canada, B.C. requires anyone arriving from outside the province to complete a self-isolation plan. And New Brunswick has introduced a voluntary program to screen one in six truck drivers who cross the border at Saint-Jacques, N.B.
3. How can truck drivers protect themselves from the virus?
Covid-19 can remain viable for hours or days, depending on the surface involved. In other words, just about anything that is touched during the course of a workday will require regular cleanings. Steering wheels. Door handles. Gladhands. You name it.
Equipment editor Jim Park has compiled a series of recommendations to help keep cabs clean, ranging from general practices to the choice of cleaning solutions.
Transport Canada is also recommending the use of masks when working close to others, wearing gloves when pumping fuel, and which cleaning products to use. The details are here.
4. What’s happening to scheduled trucking industry events?
Several trucking-related trade shows, conferences and events have been canceled or postponed as crowd sizes are limited in the name of public health.
Truck World, Newcom Media’s national trade show serving Canada’s trucking industry, has been rescheduled to Sept. 24-26.
Canadian industry associations to cancel annual events have included the British Columbia Trucking Association, Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, and Quebec Trucking Association.
The Private Motor Truck Council of Canada has rescheduled its annual meeting to Sept. 8-10 in Niagara Falls. And the Alberta Motor Transport Association has opted to host a fall AGM and one-day conference on Oct. 23. The Ontario Trucking Association’s executive conference is still scheduled for Nov. 11-12.
Trucking HR Canada’s Women with Drive conference went on as scheduled in Toronto on March 12 — complete with bottles of hand sanitizer on every table — but a reception that was planned for the end of the day was canceled, with organizers also citing Covid-19 concerns.
5. What can fleets do to help keep people safe?
The business of trucking continues, even as other workplaces are temporarily shutting down.
But there are still steps to follow to protect those who remain on the job — ranging from the regular cleaning of equipment, to personal hygiene practices, and establishing Covid-19-specific policies and procedures.
Looking for other Covid-19 guidance and free resources for your business? Try these links:
Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety: Understanding Covid-19
Canadian Trucking Alliance Covid-19 tip sheet
World Health Organization: Getting your workplace ready for Covid:19
Government of Canada: Resources for Canadian businesses
Government of Canada: Risk-informed decision-making guidelines
Government of Canada: Preventing Covid-19 in the workplace
Canada Post: Practicing social distancing
Trucking HR Canada: Covid-19 resource guide for trucking and logistics
Canadian Urban Transit Association: Guidance for the Public Transit Industry
International Association of Public Transport: Management of Covid-19 guidelines for public transport operators
Mental Health Commission of Canada: Choosing information sources for mental wellbeing
6. Is it even possible for dispatchers and operations teams to work from home?
The freight has to move when the freight has to move. But some trucking industry workplaces had already established flexible hours that could also be used to support the “social distancing” that will help in the fight against Covid-19.
“Transportation has a stigma that, ‘You’re a dispatcher, you have to work in the office. You’re a planner, you have to work in the office.’ That’s not the case,” Challenger Motor Freight HR manager Randi Butcher said, during a presentation at Trucking HR Canada’s Women with Drive conference.
The focus is on ensuring work is completed.
One for Freight operations teams have also proven they can successfully dispatch equipment from afar, said Stephanie Carruth, who supports research and development at the fleet.
7. Is there any hours-of-service relief for those hauling emergency supplies?
Canada has introduced an Essential Freight Transport Exemption for federally regulated carriers and drivers who are moving essential Covid-19 supplies and equipment as part of the emergency relief effort.
The rules still require drivers to maintain logs, and carriers using the exemption must follow a list of criteria such as notifying an hours of service director where they plan to use the exemption, identifying all the drivers and vehicles that will use it, and including a copy of the exemption in every vehicle. Drivers who are using the exemption will need to note that in the remarks section of a daily log.
Eligible items for the exemption are medical supplies and equipment, food, sanitary supplies, equipment and supplies for temporary housing and quarantine facilities, medical personnel, and persons for transport for medical, isolation, or quarantine purposes.
The exemption is scheduled to be in place until at least April 30. But all other aspects of hours-of-service regulations remain in place.
Several provinces have unveiled similar relief within their jurisdictions.
The U.S. had previously issued a national emergency declaration to provide hours-of-service (HOS) relief to interstate truck drivers moving emergency supplies in response to the Covid-19 outbreak. It’s the first time the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued such nationwide relief.
8. Is there any more flexibility in scheduling deliveries?
Ontario and British Columbia have both announced they are postponing municipal noise bylaws and other local delivery restrictions to allow for off-peak deliveries.
The City of Toronto was one of the first jurisdictions to exempt retail businesses from the community’s noise bylaws to facilitate 24-hour deliveries in the midst of its response to Covid-19.
The need for the added flexibility had been raised by the Retail Council of Canada.
Ontario, meanwhile, has also eased the restrictions to operate Long Combination Vehicles (LCVs) before and after long weekends.
9. Will truck stops remain open?
Truck stops across North America are keeping their doors open, but many have adjusted everything from available dining services to cleaning protocols in the fight against Covid-19.
Looking for a location with open doors? Several directories have been compiled here.
10. Can foreign workers employed as truck drivers continue to cross the border?
Truck drivers who are foreign workers and need to cross the Canada-U.S. border during their shipments will be allowed to return to Canada, Today’s Trucking has confirmed, following questions raised by the Quebec Trucking Association.
The news has been confirmed by the office of Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, and clarified by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Grey areas like these have been a particular concern as Canada and the U.S. restricts non-essential travel between the two countries. But trade and commerce continues.
11. Will out-of-country medical insurance cover truck drivers if they get Covid-19 while driving in the U.S.?
Canada’s truck drivers have been assured they will be covered by life and health insurers’ out-of-country medical coverage if they are infected with the Covid-19 virus while in the U.S.
“With restrictions to non-essential travel beginning in the coming days, Canada’s insurers want to be clear that commercial truckers will not lose their group out-of-country medical coverage due to recent travel restrictions,” said Stephen Frank, president and CEO of the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association. “The commercial trucking industry is providing crucial services to support Canadians with goods at all times, but particularly now.”
12. How are customs programs like FAST affected?
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have postponed all FAST interviews scheduled between March 19 and June 1.
Carriers and drivers can log into their Trusted Traveler Program (TTP) System account to reschedule appointments.
“CBSA has also clarified that FAST members who have submitted an application for membership renewal prior to the expiry date on their card will maintain their membership and remain in active status for 18 months beyond the expiry date and will be allowed to access FAST designated lanes,” the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) reports.
Trusted traders who are members in Customs Self-Assessment (CSA) and Partners in Protection (PIP) who are up for re-validation will also maintain their trusted status as long as they continue to comply with program requirements, the alliance adds.
13. What can I use to wipe down surfaces?
Everything that’s touched has to be cleaned in the fight against Covid-19, but what will actually work?
Health Canada has published a list of cleaning products found to be effective. Another option is a mixture of one part bleach to nine parts water. Click here for details.
14. What if I can’t complete my drug or alcohol testing?
Cross-border truck drivers continue to operate under drug and alcohol testing requirements, but the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has offered some extra guidance in the case of disruptions.
“If you are unable to conduct DOT drug or alcohol training or testing due to Covid-19-related supply shortages, facility closures, state or locally imposed quarantine requirements, or other impediments, you are to continue to comply with existing applicable DOT agency requirements to document why a test was not completed,” it said in a statement.
That guidance is in effect until May 30.
15. Where can fleet managers get information on Covid-19 labor issues?
Covid-19 has introduced several new issues when it comes to managing fleet employees. Are you eligible for the federal emergency response benefit? And how would you deal with a work refusal?
The Canadian Trucking Alliance has compiled a list of contacts to answer several related questions. Visit http://ontruck.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/CTA-Covid-19-Labour-Resources_public.pdf .
16. Could the B.C. government really take control of the province’s supply chain?
Canada’s westernmost province has established the power to take control of the supply chain under powers of the Emergency Program Act, as it looks to maintain essential goods and services.
A new Provincial Supply Chain Coordination Unit would coordinate the distribution of goods and services “in partnership with industry”. Although details about how that would work have yet to be released.
The province could also identify and take control of warehouses and other facilities to gather supplies and resources if needed.
17. Where can I find more Covid-19 information?
Each provincial and territorial government is publishing Covid-19 updates on a regular basis. The links are below.
Newfoundland and Labrador
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