Advocacy

Representing our members is the most important service the BC Trucking Association provides. With their input, we deal with federal, provincial and municipal government representatives to promote regulations and policies that are necessary, effective, fair, enforced consistently, and don’t impose unreasonable financial or administrative burdens on motor carriers.

And we’re good at it.  We recently completed a third-party survey of 110 government and quasi-government BCTA contacts representing 39 organizations. According to their feedback, BCTA scored between 93% (for responsiveness) and 76% (for providing evidence-based information and recommendations), with percentages in the mid-to-high 80s for questions to do with trustworthiness, fairness, transparency, and timeliness. In fact, 87% of respondents could not name another organization that is more effective than BCTA.

We work to build those relationships, and we operate with integrity on behalf of our members.  

BCTA Initiatives to Date

For more details on initiatives by year, please see our collection of Annual Status Reports in the sidebar.

Safety

Safety is always BCTA’s highest priority. Not only is it right for the industry to follow safe practices in properly maintaining its vehicles and hiring safe drivers, it’s also good business. 

  • Highway 5 winter challenges: Informed the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and the responsible maintenance contractor of member concerns of poor maintenance between the North Thompson River Bridge and Blue River, causing the ministry and maintenance contractor to acknowledge and improve service to that area.
  • Highway maintenance contracts: MoTI reported that because new contracts are performance based, the Service Area 11 contractor adopted some BCTA recommendations voluntarily, in order to meet bare pavement requirements more quickly, including more regular and pre-event highway patrols, investing in newer, larger equipment and using Automated Vehicle Locator Systems in all plows. These specifications will also inform new contracts coming up for renewal.
  • Bulk National Safety Code abstract requests: In February 2016, ICBC implemented a new online process for individuals to request an NSC abstract and discontinued bulk requests from companies with fewer than 20 drivers. BCTA objected and followed up in early 2017 when there was enough evidence to show the negative impact on small carriers. In response, ICBC reduced the minimum number for a bulk request from 20 to 5 in March 2017.
  • Safety rest areas: The provincial government continues to act on BCTA recommendations for more truck parking and safety rest areas, most recently announcing a new truck parking facility for the north side of Highway 17, below and just east of the Port Mann Bridge, with room for up to 150 trucks, washrooms and showers, fencing, lighting, and other security measures for a mix of long- and short-term parking.
  • NSC certificate cancellations: BCTA is pursuing a more stringent process with ICBC requiring immediate cancellation of insurance for any vehicles associated with an NSC certificate cancelled by Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement. We asked for clarification of the current process and recommended more urgent communications with brokers providing coverage to the carrier in question, as well as outreach to CVSE officers to ensure enforcement on the road. CVSE is reviewing our request.
  • Lane markings on BC highways: MoTI has committed to investing in more durable lane marking applications for Highways 1, 3, 5, 14, 16 and 97 (high build paint for thicker application and premium glass bead for areas needing improved reflectivity).
  • Steel storage racks: Thanks to our advocacy, WorkSafeBC elected to clarify proposed new requirements for steel storage racks, specifically to better define the qualifications required by a person who installs, inspects or removes them. In their original form, the requirements implied participation by a professional engineer. 
  • Sharing the Road Safely with Trucks: BCTA is an active participant in public safety campaign (now in the planning stages) aimed at educating passenger car drivers on how to drive safely around heavy trucks.

Human Resources

The trucking industry relies on skilled, trained and qualified people – and lots of them. BCTA works to assist employers to attract, retain and train workers to be safe, knowledgeable and productive. Some examples:

  • Impending cannabis legislation: Following a member survey about the challenges cannabis represents for industry workplaces, the Canadian Truckign Alliance and Trucking HR Canada are developing tools and resources to help carriers address potential medical or recreational use by employees.
  • High school commercial driver training: BCTA continues to work with School District #73 (Kamloops/Thompson) to gain support from ICBC for licensing program graduates. The final two hurdles involve ICBC reviewing the CDT curriculum to ensure that it qualifies for a reduction in the three-year timeframe to achieve a full Class 5 (i.e., complete the Graduated Licensing Program) and modifications to ICBC’s driver licensing system for this change.

BCTA's Industry Human Resources Strategic Plan

BCTA is pursuing the initiatives noted above (and continuing to pursue others) as part of ongoing effort to meet goals we first defined in our Industry Human Resources Strategic Plan in 2006, in response to a 2005 estimate that Canada would need 37,500 new drivers annually (4,500 of those in BC). At the time, BCTA members were already experiencing difficulty finding qualified professional drivers to seat their trucks, and a Conference Board of Canada report released early in 2013 confirmed these projections for 2020 and beyond.

Based on research undertaken in 2006, the HR Plan focuses on five areas: Communications and Promotion; Attraction, Recruitment and Retention; Truck Driver Training and Financing; Commercial Driving Licensing; and Strategic Plan Oversight and Renewal (inclusion of this last priority ensures that BCTA continues to revisit and refine the HR Plan over the long term). For a list of the strategies in each area, related activities we’ve completed, and those still underway, please see our Industry Human Resources Strategic Plan Status Update.

Red Tape & Regulations

The motor carrier industry is highly regulated. BCTA monitors whether regulations or policies make sense and are consistently applied, and, as appropriate, provides support for compliance. We’re also always on the lookout for red tape and ways eliminate or reduce it for labour, time and cost savings. 

  • Permit system: Based on BCTA advocacy, MoTI announced plans to move some of the more low-risk permits into regulation.
  • Letters of authorization: We influenced an increase in the term for which LOAs are valid, from one year to five years, for oversized and overweight trucks operating within the Reducible Load Overweight Permitting Policy, reducing the need for repeated review of LOA requests.
  • Wheel-on/drum on brake inspections: Following a BCTA request for clarification, CVSE published a bulletin to explain that the onus is on inspectors to decide when it is necessary to remove brake drums during an inspection, with corrections to come in the BC Vehicle Inspection Manual.
  • Wage recovery & appeal process: For federally regulated employers, BCTA supported CTA in communications with Employment and Social Development Canada regarding the process for wage-related complaints or audits, particularly regarding non-compliance. CTA shared the five main actions comprising the Labour Program’s response to most cases, as well as the issuance of payment orders and employer appeals.
  • Long wheelbase tractors: In January, we met a longer-term advocacy goal when BC finally allowed the use of long wheelbase, tandem-drive tractors with one or two semi-trailers, increasing the wheelbase up to 7.2 m with one semi-trailer and up to 6.8 m with two semi-trailers (B-train only), with required reductions in the wheelbase of each semi-trailer. There’s room now for emissions control equipment and larger sleeper berths.
  • Non-Road Diesel Engine Emission Regulation Bylaw: We surveyed members to address proposed changes (including removing the provision for low-use registration and a deadline change) for those who use these engines in Metro Vancouver (including for reefers, auxiliary power units, and power take off units with a power rating of 25 horsepower or more).
  • WorkSafeBC assessable payroll: In an effort to provide “clarification,” WorkSafeBC had inadvertently made distinguishing between a contractor (i.e., owner-operator) and an employee, more confusing. BCTA, with the help of the Employers’ Forum, were able to influence WorkSafeBC to retain some of the guidance it had proposed changing in its Assessment Manual.
  • Electronic logging devices: Because of member input at a BCTA panel session in February, CVSE issued guidelines for the use of paper logs to record hours of service at the same time a carrier is testing or training a commercial driver to use an electronic recording device (two logs to be allowed for no more than 14 days).
  • Canadian Free Trade Agreement: Effective July 1, 2017, this Agreement includes the creation of a Regulatory Reconciliation and Cooperation Table. BCTA, along with other trucking associations, has long advocated regulatory harmonization for the industry.

 

Infrastructure

Safe, well-maintained, efficient and accessible infrastructure is crucial for the trucking industry - and for BC's economy. Some recent infrastructure-related BCTA initiatives include the following:

  • Brunette Interchange, Coquitlam/New Westminster: We recommended separating the main crossing of Highway 1 into two separate corridors for local vs regional and provincial traffic and that all height clearances throughout the project should be at least 5.5 m, and preferably 6 m, to accommodate oversize-overweight vehicles.
  • Transportation south of the Fraser: BCTA continues to be consulted with other stakeholders to define specific priorities for provincial infrastructure in this area of the Lower Mainland, including traffic congestion, highway safety and port traffic, among others.
  • Environmental approval of George Massey Tunnel Replacement Bridge: Key findings supporting the certificate included two points from BCTA submissions: the project would improve efficiency (reduce idling) and reduce greenhouse gas emissions as a result; and should include a traffic management plan and establish a transportation working group for Highway 99.
  • Six-laning Highway 1, Langley: The Province committed to widening Highway 1 between 216 and 264 Streets, extending six laning for another 8 km beyond the stretch between 202 and 216 Streets, a top priority for BCTA members. The project includes replacement of an overpass and rail crossing, including height increases to remove obstructions for overheight vehicles.
  • TransLink Goods Movement Strategy: TransLink is in the process of finalizing its first Goods Movement Strategy, which was greatly influenced by BCTA input, including the creation of the Greater Vancouver Urban Freight Council of which BCTA is an inaugural member. Other priorities, including measuring traffic efficiency and reliability, development of major road performance standards, and a commitment to monitor traffic congestion with a view to reducing it, reflect BCTA input.
  • Vancouver Gateway: We conveyed members’ Top 5 gateway infrastructure projects for federal funding to the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, including six-laning Highway 91; Brunette Interchange upgrades and road/rail grade separation and crossing closures; the Highway 17 interchange at Plywood Road and Grace Road; the Portside Road overpass and upgrade; and four-laning Blundell Road.
  • BC on the Move: MoTI continues to meet commitments related to BCTA’s transportation priorities, including four-laning Highway 97 at South Taylor Hill south of Fort St. John and portions of the highway north of Cache Creek and south of Williams Lake as well as an additional passing lane on Highway 3 west of Fernie.

Environment

BCTA identifies and supports practical options for reducing fuel consumption and smog and greenhouse gas emissions, ranging from regulatory changes that encourage more efficient practices to technological solutions (and opposes those that don’t make sense), as well as for upcoming rules governing hazardous materials spills from trucks. 

  • New generation wide-base single tire pilot project: Based on BCTA advocacy, MoTI announced plans for a pilot to authorize controlled use of NGWBSTs, which will only be available to BCTA members. The ministry will monitor and assess the pavement conditions along main routes to ensure that the new tires aren’t damaging the road.
  • Smart lift axles: MoTI committed to work with BCTA to test fuel-efficient, “smart” lift axles on trailers, in alignment with long-term BCTA environmental policies.
  • Heavy-duty tires: Through CTA, Transport Canada asked members provide input on tire requirements, following a proposal by Environment and Climate Change Canada to further reduce GHG emissions from heavy-duty vehicles, including via the use of low rolling resistance tires.
  • Heavy Truck GHG Regulations: CTA provided comments on a Clean Fuel Standard discussion paper to Environment and Climate Change Canada, maintaining the position that any mandate must consider accepted, market-proven technologies that complement Canadian operating conditions and standards.
  • Spill Preparedness and Response: BCTA continues to work with six other industry associations to develop a program that will satisfy the provincial government’s concerns related to industry preparedness to address spills and improved communications in the event of a spill so that regulation will not ultimately be required.

Taxes and Fees

The industry can’t escape taxes and fees, but amounts should be fair and their administration and collection should be simple. 

  • Federal excise tax refund: BCTA supported a campaign by the Canadian Trucking Alliance to convince the federal government to retain the excise tax refund for diesel used to generate electricity from temperature-controlled trailers, power take-off units, auxiliary power units, and in-cab heaters. Although the campaign did not succeed, it achieved notice in a report by the opposition to the Finance Committee, specifically regarding anti-idling devices.

Cross Border

We provide timely information on US or Canadian requirements and initiatives and find solutions for challenges that may arise on either side of the border, often in cooperation with the Canadian Trucking Alliance.  For example:

  • US order banning foreign nationals: CTA and BCTA kept members informed about a US ban on nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries, including details from the federal government.
  • Team Canada coalition: At the recommendation of CTA, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce called a meeting of 20 national business associations in January to discuss strategies and a common approach to deal with the Trump administration in the US and potential trade issues.
  • eManifest Release Notification System: CTA worked with the Canada Border Services Agency regarding issues related to the deployment of eManifest system updates on in March 2017 without sufficient warning that affected RNS and eManifest notices, providing guidance to members for changes and assistance for those receiving Administrative Monetary Penalty System fines related to the change.
  • AMPS penalties: CTA launched a survey about AMPS and enforcement in reaction to input from carriers that full enforcement of the system was proving onerous even for carriers that are highly compliant with Advanced Commercial Information system requirements. Based on results of the survey, CTA is advocating a system based on volumetrics, where carriers’ frequency of crossing the border and high compliance rates must be a factor in the issuance of penalties but is also considering other policy options.
  • Cabotage: In response to input from BCTA, CVSE has been working with CBSA to develop guidance for CVSE staff to better recognize cabotage as well as a process to involve CBSA where further investigation or enforcement is required.

Intermodal

BCTA closely monitors issues related to the Port of Vancouver, a major economic driver for the province.  We provide support to drayage members through frequent information updates about the BC Container Trucking Act, regulations, and periodic government announcements and by organizing member-only meetings with the Trucking Commissioner. In addition, we made submissions on the following:

  • Deltaport & Vanterm issues: Responding to BCTA requests from November 2016, Global Container Terminals adjusted its policy to allow at least 72 hours notification about Saturday gate cancellation, so companies can obtain new reservations for the following week and, for unexpected gate closures (due to weather or other conditions), proposed a transparent amendment for adjusting reservations based on the length of the delay.
  • Financial transparency of the Truck Licensing System. At BCTA’s request, VFPA released information and provided detail on the costs it attributes to the TLS. 
  • Wait-time penalty payments: VFPA finally collected and released outstanding 2016 wait-time data from terminal operators and issued related payments to Truck Licensing System carriers in February 2017, for distribution to owner-operators, and, thanks to BCTA advocacy, promised to provide these payments monthly going forward.
  • Truck tag system: In March, BCTA provided a list of member recommendations for reforming the current truck tag system to the Office of the BC Container Trucking Commissioner, promoting fewer restrictions for both carriers and independent operators, including on the management of truck tags and truck licence and tag allocation, among others. We also generally recommended economic deregulation of the Port of Vancouver, a long-held BCTA policy, including eliminating the TLS.
  • 2014 Joint Action Plan: BCTA is promoting a review to the federal government and others, citing numerous changes at the Port of Vancouver and unintended consequences influencing the effectiveness the Plan, especially given the power of marine terminals over the reservations system and the lack of any performance standard for servicing container trucking companies. Some of these have now been addressed, but we continue to support an overall review.

Motor Coach Initiatives

BCTA represents the vast majority of private sector motor coach companies operating in the province and works on national issues jointly with Motor Coach Canada. For example:

  • BC Motor Coach Safety Review: Organized a meeting with members at CVSE’s request to convey industry best practices for incorporation in the final report for the Review, expected later this year.
  • Potable Water Regulations for Common Carriers: A member survey indicated most members would not be affected by modernization of these regulations, but we still worked with MCC to inform the responsible federal agency.

 

BC Ferries

We monitor issues related to ferry services closely, since decisions made regarding everything from scheduling to rates can affect motor carriers that depend on BC Ferries to operate.

  • Ferry service levels:  We provided feedback on service levels for commercial vehicles between Horseshoe Bay and Langdale and Horseshoe Bay and Bowen Island. 
  • Drop Trailer Service: Following our submission during a public consultation about this service, we were invited to make a second submission to the BC Ferries Commissioner, along with only 7 others, to comment on issues of concern.
  • Contingency planning: BC Ferries followed up on a 2014 BCTA request by supplying a contingency plan to the Commissioner to ensure sufficient service for carriers during a scheduled 2016 upgrade to Spirit Class vessels.