THE United Truckers Association (UTA) on Wednesday appealed to federal party leaders to commit to intervening into the Port of Vancouver’s looming Rolling Truck Age Program, which if implemented will negatively impact thousands of container truckers and their families.
The initiative is an undertaking allegedly designed to enforce stringent environmental requirements for port container drayage trucks to reduce emissions, in spite of the Port of Vancouver being responsible for just under 6.7 billion metric tonnes of CO2 as a result of their annual coal exports, the UTA said.
Further, the requirement to purchase a new truck is a huge post-COVID-19 expense that is punitive against container truckers due to the standard not being applied to any other category of commercial vehicles in BC, according to the UTA.
The UTA said it is looking for federal parties to examine the issue carefully before truck replacement is forced on the local industry on February 1, 2022.
UTA spokesperson Gagan Singh said: “There are two specific actions that we are looking for from the next federal government so that this program can be delayed to allow for further study. There is a history of the federal government stepping into labour-related issues with Port of Vancouver operations, and the UTA is looking for that precedent to once again be undertaken.”
In the 2005 Port of Vancouver labour disruption, where 1,200 drivers initiated a strike, the Government of Canada, under its jurisdiction to regulate federal undertakings, issued an Order-in-Council directing the Port Authority to implement a Memorandum of Agreement as a condition of licensing companies to operate on Port property.
Further, the UTA has a legal opinion that the Statutory Instruments Act also grants powers for revocations by Governor in Council.
Finally, the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities has the ability to study the newly proposed program in detail while hearing from impacted owner operators as potential witnesses, the UTA said.
After years of being told that the federal government could not do anything, the UTA said it is looking for bold leadership on such an important strategic issue directly related to the success of Canada’s supply chain.
“There are levers that the UTA knows is available to the federal government, and the party that can commit to looking into such actions will reap the benefits of a significant block of votes basing their decisions on this issue,” said Singh.