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NATIONAL


Laskowski named CTA President

The transition to new leadership at the Canadian Trucking Alliance moved one step closer as Stephen Laskowski, previously announced as successor to David Bradley when the latter steps down at the end of 2017, was officially named president of the Alliance at the CTA annual board meeting in Arizona in April.

Laskowski had served as CTA’s senior vice president for the past several years.

“This announcement is the next step in the process that was launched last fall,” said Bradley, who will retain the CEO title until the end of his tenure.

Gene Orlick, CTA chairman and president of Orlick Transport in Calgary, says the Alliance’s succession plan is going smoothly.

“We are fortunate to have someone like Stephen, with his experience and drive, already in the fold and ready to step up and assume responsibility for leading CTA into the future.”

 

Trades and Transportation Corridors Initiative
Canada’s federal government unveiled its 2017 federal budget on March 22 and it outlined its plan to establish what it calls a trade and transportation corridors initiative.

According to the 280-page document, the initiative will include, among other things, a national trade corridors fund, a trade and transportation information system, and measures to enable the modernization of the country’s transportation system.

The national trade corridors fund was created “to address urgent capacity restraints and freight bottlenecks at major ports of entry and to better connect the rail and highway infrastructure” according to the budget. It is set to target marine ports and busy corridors around the GTA. The budget outlines $2 billion over 11 years to the fund with an additional $5 billion to be provided through the Canada Infrastructure Bank to address trade/transportation priorities. Ultimately the fund will look at ways to improve flow of supplies, unlock development in Canada’s territories, and create more middle class jobs.

In addition, the budget proposed $50 million over 11 years to Transport Canada to create a trade and transportation information system and an open data portal to help move goods across the supply chains more efficiently, to get to the consumer faster.

As far as modernizing Canada’s transportation system, the government vowed it would update and create regulations for “the safe adoption of connected and autonomous vehicles.”

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Let government know you want fix to recurrent border blackouts
Since January 1, 2017, there have been about 30 outages of CBSA’s EDI/portal systems due to an antiquated computer system. Despite CBSA’s best efforts to mitigate these incidents, the system crashes keep happening with no easily attainable solution in sight. Meanwhile, trucking companies, their drivers, as well as customers are being significantly impacted by these outages.

CTA has created a messaging campaign that will allows carriers to send a form email each time the system goes down, reminding the ministers from Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, International Trade, Finance and the Treasury Board how system outages are hurting our industry and weakening cross-border commerce. The email urges the ministries responsible for the border to increase support to CBSA and fix these recurrent problems.

“The EDI/Portal outages are a significant threat to the financial health of our members and their customers,” said CTA President Stephen Laskowski. “The membership needs to remind these ministers their efforts in ensuring efficient trade, including upcoming negotiations with Washington on the future of NAFTA, will be greatly undermined if we don’t first deal with our internal border problems in our own backyard.”

The CTA letter campaign also reminds the ministers that CBSA staffing shortages at various commercial ports – a historic (and growing) problem – needs to be dealt with along with EDI/Portal Outages.
CTA is currently requesting that officials respond to the Alliance with short and long-term plans to fix these systems outages.

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Cantruck goes live with diesel price mapping tool
CTA has unveiled an exclusive online diesel price mapping tool for trucking industry members to look up and compare current wholesale diesel prices across Canada.

The interactive map – www.cantruck.ca/fueldata – is built on Google Maps’ API. It displays the weekly wholesale rack price by major Canadian city. Each point on the map also shows itemized federal and provincial taxes and also takes into account the relevant carbon tax/levy/system in the applicable province (BC, PQ, ON, AB).

Want even more fuel data? Hit the ‘view/compare’ button at the bottom of any city’s data window. You will be able to compare and view, in graph form, fuel prices between provinces and individual cities, with the option to calculate prices with all taxes/carbon in or out. You can also customize dates by filtering your search field with the interactive calendar.

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Weed in the Workplace
A commentary by Trucking HR Canada

Anticipation
Employers need to review their workplaces and identify situations or areas where impairment would be either problematic or dangerous. The legal regime currently provides protections to employees even in workplaces that are highly safety sensitive. This includes industries involving transportation or employing heavy machinery, hazardous materials or chemicals.

There are cases in which support the proposition that in the workplace, random drug or alcohol testing is not allowed in non-hazardous environments even where actual impairment exists. Termination for cause in these instances appears to require progressive discipline first. In hazardous environments, unless an employer can establish that the job site is safety sensitive and there is at least a general issue of drug use and impairment at work, the imposition of random testing and summary termination is problematic. Tests that provide evidence of drug usage, but do not establish actual impairment, often do not support termination for cause. Employers need to be aware of these issues and undertake appropriate reviews.

Preparation
In view of the limitations on employers, even where safety is an issue, policies and procedures must be created or enhanced to deal with dope-induced impairment.

Behaviours that will not be tolerated need to be listed. Clear disciplinary procedures need to be identified. By doing so, in the absence of situations where cause might exist, an employer may take preventative and remedial action, such as suspension or progressive discipline. Even in safety sensitive workplaces, employers should begin the work to create or strengthen infrastructures that will respond to these concerns. Most decisions have been in the unionized environment. They indicate that the more forgiving and supportive a drug policy is, the more likely it is that discipline and intrusive testing will be accepted. For instance, zero tolerance policies have been dealt with more harshly by arbitrators than those that offer other options before discipline is imposed.

Education
All staff must be kept advised of the development or modification of any policy and they should be aware of its contents. This can be done by means of general meeting or information bulletins on internal websites. Employers must keep on top of the inevitable legal changes that will occur as the legal landscape evolves. The failure to do so will be costly, particularly if a policy or procedure is inadequate or wrong. Huge penalties or damage awards could prove catastrophic, not to mention the negative impact on a company’s reputation. Where fair and clearly worded policies exist, the courts and tribunals tend to be more disposed to render favourable decisions.

The road ahead will be bumpy. If companies carefully develop a road map, there will be fewer blind alleys and detours on the journey for employers and human resource professionals to negotiate.

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