WINNIPEG, Man. – Canada’s transport regulations are under review and the person in charge of overseeing that review, minister of state for transport Steven Fletcher, would like to see fewer of them in the future.
“We are trying to reduce the regulatory burden on business,” Fletcher told Manitoba Trucking Association’s Annual General Meeting here this morning. “The final report should be ready this spring and we are identifying regulations that should be repealed or amended.”
However, Fletcher said his discussions with the trucking industry have resulted in suggestions for more regulation rather than less because the industry would like the government to push ahead on legislation on a number of fronts, including electronic onboard recorders to streamline hours of service reporting and bobtails that improve aerodynamics on trailers.
“It goes against my grain. You guys are not helping me out very much,” Fletcher joked about the call for additional regulations. “All these things are good but if you do have any regulations that you want to get rid of, that’s how I win the Ottawa game.”
Steve Ashton, Manitoba’s long-serving minister of infrastructure and transport, also spoke at the well-attended Annual General Meeting and said he shared Fletcher’s zeal for looking at burdensome legislation. His focus has been on improving harmonization.
“When you are operating within four different Western provinces with different regulations, it’s your worst possible nightmare,” Ashton acknowledged.
Ashton said his ministry has made “significant progress” in working with the Saskatchewan government to harmonize spring thaw restrictions and RTAC legislation. Manitoba also recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the three other Western provinces promoting consistency in the regulations concerning LCVs.
“We are making significant progress. But more needs to be done,” Ashton said.
He also congratulated the Manitoba Trucking Association for continuing to raise the issue of harmonization, explaining that often legislation remains unchallenged because it has simply been in the books a long time.
“Shouldn’t it be possible to challenge that?” Ashton said.
In his annual report, MTA president Norman Blagden, pointed out the association is seeking a national MoU for tri-drive tractors. Such tractors are allowed in Ontario and points west by permit or regulation and from Quebec east they are allowed only for heavy hauls.
“The MTA would like to see a national MoU for trucks of this type that will allow them to operate nationally, under the same standard from coast to coast. As part of the MoU, we expect that tri-drive tractors will be able to haul tridem or tandem trailers. This will be of particular benefit to those who transport liquid bulk, dry bulk and raw products and materials, such as logs,” Blagden states in his report.
MTA is also working for a standard set of rules for low beds and double-drop trailers. Both of these types of equipment were given little consideration when RTAC standards were developed and as a result are subject to a variety of different rules across Canada.
“As the equipment and machinery being transported by these types of trailers continues to grow,” it is imperative to the MTA that this issue be addressed,” Blagden states.