OOIDA says Minister Should Consider Canadian Economy
Grain Valley, MO, Nov. 4, 2008 – The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has denounced Quebec’s transportation minister for a recent decision regarding speed limiters. Rather than waiting until all other Canadian provinces follow the position of Quebec, Minister Julie Boulet has gone back on her commitment and announced they will require all heavy-duty trucks operating in the province to have an enabled speed limiter set at a maximum of 105 km/h starting Jan. 1, 2009.
Executives at OOIDA believe the “changé l'esprit” does not fully consider all the economic implications.
On Dec. 13, 2007 during the article-by-article reading of Bill 42, Minister Boulet said that Quebec would not implement the speed limiter mandate until Transport Canada completed studies evaluating the effectiveness of speed limiters and all other provinces had agreed to similar mandates. Transport Canada completed and released its studies this past spring, but by no means conveyed a glowing evaluation of mandated speed limiters in Canada. In addition, Ontario is the only other province to pass a speed limiter mandate. All other provinces have expressed little or no interest in pursuing speed limiter legislation.
“Our members are furious,” said Rick Craig, OOIDA’s director of regulatory affairs. “Not only is Minister Boulet going back on her word, she is also disregarding the grim implications this decision will have on trade at a time when Canada and the U.S. can least afford it.”
Noting that trucks are exclusively responsible for moving 70 percent of goods and commerce in North America and 80 percent of freight related to cross-border trade, Craig said, “Considering that public officials throughout North America are scrambling to find ways to jump start their economies, Quebec’s decision makes absolutely no sense. If Minister Boulet follows through with this announcement, thousands of truckers throughout Canada and the U.S. will effectively be barred from operating in Quebec. That is a serious anti-competitive move that cannot go unchallenged.”
The trucking industry is among the hardest hit by the economic downturn in North America. According to a study produced by Avondale Partners, the United States alone has seen more than 2,500 trucking companies close up shop in the first three quarters of 2008, most of those being small and mid-sized trucking operations. Thousands more small companies with fleets of five or fewer trucks also terminated operations in that time frame, but were not tracked by the study. OOIDA contends that if Ontario and Quebec implement speed limiter mandates, many U.S. truckers will lose their routes and will not be able to compete in Quebec and Ontario. Small business truckers from those provinces and throughout Canada will also be placed at a major competitive disadvantage.
“It’s unbelievable that in an economic climate where people are struggling to maintain their livelihoods, Quebec has decided to ignore their commitment to wait on this mandate. They appear to be deliberately impacting trade. We will not sit idly by and let them put truckers out of business,” Craig stated.
“The large trucking corporations who are pushing for a speed limiter mandate well know it will not increase safety or benefit the environment as they’ve advertised. They’re in it for limiting competition and harming the little guy.”
OOIDA is prepared to file a Notice of Intent to Submit a Claim to Arbitration for breach of Canada’s obligations under the North American Free Trade Agreement upon implementation of the speed limiter mandate.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is the national trade association representing the interests of small-business trucking professionals and professional truck drivers. OOIDA was established in 1973 and is headquartered in the greater Kansas City, MO, area. The Association currently has more than 161,000 members from all 50 states and Canada.