TORONTO, Ont. — Bill Insell, a professional driver with an Ontario A/Z licence that appears to have expired, has some major concerns about running into the US.
The driver called Truck News recently to say that despite assurances from the province that driver licence expirations have been waived pending the resolution of a work stoppage at DriveTest, he’s doubtful that other jurisdictions will respect the extension.
But according to the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA), border guards have been notified about the Ontario situation and drivers with seemingly expired A/Z licences should not be turned away. Still, some carriers have reportedly refused to send drivers with what would be expired licences on cross-border runs, just in case.
In response to communications from OTA, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has notified officers at all ports of entry that FAST drivers will be allowed to cross with expired driver’s licences until Dec. 31.
For non-FAST drivers, OTA members have been armed with a letter from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation explaining that the province is continuing to allow drivers to operate with expired licences. However, CBSA says FAST-approved drivers will not need to show the letter.
“CBSA has assured OTA that no FAST driver with an expired license will be required to show the MTO letter at the border,” said OTA’s Jennifer Fox. “Obviously we would have liked to see all drivers addressed in this announcement and we will continue to pursue this matter.”
The OTA said US Customs officers have also been notified of the Ontario situation and it’s believed that they will honour the CBSA policy. OTA says it hasn’t received reports of any drivers being turned away at the border due to an expired licence.
“These are challenging times for the carrier community; they cannot afford to lose a customer over a load refused at the border. OTA is appreciative that the three government agencies involved in the issue, CBP, CBSA and MTO are working together to deal with this matter,” added Fox.
As the strike drags on, truckers operating outside Ontario should consider carrying a letter from MTO explaining the circumstances behind the DriveTest strike. The OTA, meanwhile, is asking its members to notify the association of any instances where a driver is turned away at the border with the following information: the port of entry where the incident occurred; the date; time; and whether it was Canada or US Customs that refused the driver entry.
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