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. 

  • National Safety Code reform: We are working with Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement to adjust new carrier profile provincial medians and intervention thresholds and continued improvements.
  • WorkSafeBC Occupational Health & Safety Regulation: We opposed proposed amendments for steel storage racks, including regular inspection by qualified personnel and posting of installation instructions and rated capacity. As proposed, the amendments apply broadly to warehousing, repair shops and maintenance facilities, even storage rooms in office buildings.
  • WorkSafeBC Partners Program Policy: At the invitation of WorkSafeBC, we’re participating in pre-consultation involving the development of policy for the Partners Program (also known as the Certificate of Recognition Program).
  • Volvo recall: We confirmed with CVSE that if inspectors find a vehicle with the fault identified by Volvo Trucks for a recent recall, they will place the truck out of service without affecting the carrier’s NSC profile.

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:

  • High school commercial driver training: We're making progress with advocacy to allow grads from Commercial Driver Training Programs to obtain a Class 1 or 3 licence at 18. A CDT program proposed for the NorKam Trades & Technology Centre awaits the outcome. We have also completed a related CDT Program blueprint for other BC school districts/high schools.
  • Class 1 driver training: We're advocating for ICBC to establish a minimum curriculum and access to student loans/grants for trainees.
  • IDRIVE (Immigrant Driver Readiness–Industry Validation & Engagement) tools: We completed Phase 2 pilot and are now working to provide the individual tools for assessing employability of applicants for truck driving jobs.
  • Provincial Nominee Program: BCTA is participating in pre-consultations regarding possible changes to this program.

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. 

  • Electronic logging devices: In preparation for US and potential Canadian regulations, BCTA scheduled a panel session with carriers, device suppliers and US government representatives on April 6, 2016, to help members understand requirements and the transition from paper logs for tracking hours of service. We provided notes and the US presentation from the meeting in a two-part Special Bulletin for members.
  • BC Red Tape Reduction Consultation: Among other recommendations, we asked for automatic credits for Multijurisdictional Vehicle Tax refunds.  Thanks to one of our suggestions, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastrucutre now accepts approval requests as “Non-reducible load, details to come” in the Extraordinary Load Approval Process, allowing the carrier to provide commodity details before approval is issued.
  • ICBC driver abstracts: We informed ICBC of member concerns on its decision to no longer service bulk abstract driver requests for companies with fewer than 20 drivers. Though unsuccessful, we gained an option to send an abstract directly to an employer as part of the online process.
  • OnRouteBC: Convinced the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to upgrade to its online permit system, including new routing functionality and the ability for municipalities to link route information, such as height and width restrictions, bridge weight limits, and construction projects and detours, to the provincial system. Expected to be available this summer.
  • Overload amendment tolerances: Convinced MoTI to implement tolerances to reduce the wait times for reissuing similar permits.
  • Project Cargo Initiative: We continue to work with other stakeholders for new 125 metric tonne corridors between Metro Vancouver and Prince Rupert and the BC-AB border for break-bulk, overweight and oversize project cargo. 
  • On-board weighing systems: Thanks to our input, the Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement branch is addressing challenges carriers experience in obtaining certified weigh-scale slips as proof of laden weights when applying for permit fee refunds and, in some cases, purchasing permits. Members had the chance to discuss on-board weighing systems with CVSE at a BCTA workshop on February 26, 2016.
  • Municipal OS-OW vehicle permits: We're working to create a one-stop-shop for provincial and municipal permits.
  • “60-foot” semi-trailers: We've begun preliminary discussions for use of “60-foot” semi-trailers under BC’s Long Combination Vehicle Program.

 

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:

  • Highway (winter) maintenance standard: MoTI allowed BCTA to comment on the standard. We made 19 recommendations, many of which MoTI says will be addressed in contract renewals over the next two years.
  • Rest areas: We led the creation of a communications plan for MoTI’s survey about rest areas in BC for commercial truck drivers with the ministry’s social media team and SafetyDriven – the Trucking Safety Council of BC. By the end of the survey period, 574 respondents had completed the survey, a completion rate of 68 percent. 
  • Box Canyon brake check expansion: MoTI has announced funding to expand the Box Canyon brake check to accommodate 70 trucks (up from 6), build new washrooms, and lengthen acceleration and deceleration lanes, with a new chain-off area at the top of the Coquihalla Summit.
  • Sicamous roundabout: MoTI agreed to make design modifications to a proposed roundabout located south of the intersection of Highway 97A and Highway 1 to ensure the route can accommodate all vehicle combinations expected to use it. Nevertheless, we continue to advocate for conventional signalized intersections on numbered provincial highways instead and particularly on major OS-OW vehicle corridors. 
  • George Massey Tunnel replacement: Supported a 10-lane bridge to replace the George Massey Tunnel, with recommendations on construction contract conditions, communications and planning.
  • TransLink Goods Movement Strategy: Starting in 2015, TransLink engaged BCTA and a few other stakeholders in pre-consultation. BCTA’s recommendations were supported by the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority and the Greater Vancouver Gateway Council, resulting in major changes and a delay in public consultation.
  • Fraser River Trade Area Multi-Modal Transportation Study: BCTA was one of three 3 industry organizations invited to participate in this study by MoTI.
  • Pattullo Bridge & related New Westminster truck movements: We convinced TransLink to forego major reconstruction and a truck ban for a shorter rehab project. New Westminster officials continue to consult with us on the impact of construction projects and to work on solutions to balance the needs of truck traffic with concerns of residents and businesses.
  • Granville Street Bridge: The City of Vancouver designated the Granville Street Bridge a “limited-use” truck route for straight trucks of up to three axles thanks partly to BCTA advocacy in response to anticipated traffic disruption caused by the Burrard Corridor Infrastructure Upgrade downtown. The designation is a permanent change that also applies to motor coaches. 

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. 

  • BC Climate Leadership Plan: Recommended strategies for the trucking industry to assist in meeting BC’s GHG emissions targets, focusing on financial incentives and removal of regulatory barriers. Our participation includes submissions and meetings over the past 6 months with senior government and elected officials.
  • BC spill preparedness & response: We sit on an Advisory Committee at the invitation of the Minister of Environment, one of about 20 industry sector representatives. We are emphasizing the limited risk of spills from trucks and that existing regulations should allow carriers exemption from paying for a proposed Preparedness and Response Organization. Work on this issue is ongoing with regulations anticipated in 2017.

Taxes and Fees

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

  • Multi-jurisdictional vehicle tax: Our request for immediate refunds for fleets temporarily unlicensing a prorate vehicle requires a regulatory change now being considered by the Ministry of Finance.
  • Mobility Pricing Position Outreach Campaign: BCTA developed a position on mobility pricing and funding for transportation in the Lower Mainland and went public with it in December 2015. Since then, we've had extensive media coverage, interviews, meetings with government officials and invitations to speak about our recommendations at the Surrey and Langley Chambers of Commerce.

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:

  • In-transit movements: During the partial closure of Ontario’s Nipigon River Bridge, CTA convinced US Customs and Border Protection to allow commercial vehicles to temporarily ship Canadian domestic goods in-transit at select ports of entry. This allowance was a precursor to a pilot test for the US In-Transit Manifest Program, scheduled to begin in late May at three border ports including Blaine, WA.
  • Commercial truck online payment: CTA convinced CBP to pilot test this option at Buffalo, Detroit and El Paso, to allow carriers, drivers or their agents to pay for single crossings prior to arrival.
  • WA State Workers’ Compensation: BCTA prevented retaliatory legislation in Washington to require BC carriers to register for and pay premiums to its workers’ compensation system by convincing WorkSafeBC to rescind similar requirements for US carriers operating in BC.

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:

  • Environmental standard for trucks: We gained a concession for lower-cost diesel oxidation catalyst rather than diesel particulate filter retrofits following a Vancouver Fraser Port Authority mistake relaying requirements.
  • Global Container Terminals Flex Appointment Service: We opposed GCT’s new Flex-Appointment fee schedule due to lack of transparency and GCT’s inability to demonstrate it will apply the fee correctly. Transport Canada supported our call for marine terminals to share information about reservation fees.
  • Truck licence renewal: Our submission and recommendations were acknowledged in the BC Container Trucking Commissioner’s report; our call for transparency resulted in VFPA sharing information on truck licence fees and other related charges and related Port expenses for 2015, with projections for 2016.

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.

  • 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.