BY DAVE EARLE
BC Trucking Association President and CEO
FOR over two decades our nation has earmarked the first week in September for celebrating the contributions of the women and men in the Canadian trucking industry. Although the past 18 months have certainly had their challenges, we must celebrate the fact that professional drivers, who were tested to the pandemic limits, embraced a much-deserved moment in the spotlight. National Trucking Week 2021 will be one to remember as a sincere appreciation for truck drivers has grown out of the realization that our country cannot function without this critical link of the supply chain.
Throughout the early days of the pandemic, drivers dealt with many COVID-19 related challenges on the road. With limited or no access to facilities, and having to adapt to new protocols and procedures, our industry worked around numerous obstacles to deliver goods as efficiently as possible. Truck drivers didn’t skip a beat as they delivered British Columbians their quality of life, but they didn’t do it alone. The supply chain we all rely on would have collapsed without the combined effort that went into supporting our industry and its work. Individuals, communities, and businesses rallied together to provide facilities, food trucks, and encouragement to drivers. This touching display of support was both generous and crucial.
British Columbians have continued to experience hardship and adversity outside the pandemic. Most recently, wildfires moving through communities have challenged our notions of physical safety and the confirmation of the residential school tragedy forced us to confront our devastating shared history. But if the past year and a half has taught us anything, it’s that we can achieve more by moving forward together. When we work together, we can accomplish great things- and if there’s one thing that the trucking sector is known for, it’s our commitment to working with our customers and communities to go above and beyond.
Our gratitude goes to the first responders who have been battling the fires day and night and to the individuals, businesses, and charities who have been collecting and organizing relief supplies and services. We’re also thankful for the BCTA members who year after year volunteer their services to deliver emergency supplies into fire zones and evacuation centres, and who will be there to help communities move forward and rebuild after the destruction.
Moving forward means making progress, and as we head into fall, we hope that the focus on truth and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples only grows stronger. Our industry has marked the tragedy of residential schools with public demonstrations of support in the interior and the coast, and together, on September 30th, we will acknowledge and reflect upon the atrocities that occurred. Transformative change is needed, and we must share responsibility for listening to and speaking the truth so we may all move collectively toward reconciliation.
As we look to the future, exciting times lie ahead. The race to bring low- and zero-emission commercial vehicles to our highways is transforming our industry. For those who have ever considered a career in trucking, now is the time; emerging technologies are transforming the nature of work in our sector, creating new and exciting career opportunities. This year, significant strides have been made toward improving road safety. With the upcoming implementation of mandatory entry-level commercial vehicle training in BC and the federal electronic logging device mandate, we’re looking forward to working with our members to ensure they have the support they and their drivers need to be safe and successful.
To the dedicated women and men who drive our nation forward, thank you for your commitment to your work. By sharing resources, knowledge, and perspectives our industry will emerge stronger than ever, and we’ll continue to face challenges head on by moving forward together. This National Trucking Week, we encourage everyone to show their appreciation for the hard work Canada’s professional truck drivers and industry workers do each and every day to deliver the essential goods and services we rely on. Happy National Trucking Week from the BC Trucking Association!