United Truckers Association questions BC government’s expenditure on truck parking, call it “electoral needs”

THE Government of B.C. announced $17 million for a new truck parking facility on Monday at a cost of $113,333 per parking spot, yet continues to grossly underfund the Office of the BC Container Trucking Commissioner (“OBCCTC”) over two years after its inception, said the United Truckers Association on Tuesday.
The OBCCTC, tasked with upholding the Container Trucking Act and Regulation, functions with a skeleton crew of a part time commissioner, and a deputy commissioner who only works in the office three days a week, and an administrator that has no decision-making powers. They also have two part-time auditors tasked with auditing 98 licensed companies that employ thousands of drivers, the UTA added.
To date, less than 50 per cent of the companies have been audited, and the local drayage industry is still rampant with cheating, illegal pay schemes and fraudulent activity, it alleged.
In spite of years of requests for change from the OBCCTC and the two ministers in charge of this file (Todd Stone and Peter Fassbender), there has been no action, according to Gagan Singh, UTA spokesperson.
“While this truck parking announcement serves the needs of the government’s electoral needs, it continues to show disdain for the thousands of our members who are facing financial collapse due to a system that is failing,” he said.
In their statement, the UTA said: “Aside from a lack of enforcement of the law, UTA members are suffering because of the current provincial regulations that prevent independent operator truckers from being able to work for more than one company at a time. For two years, the UTA has launched an aggressive campaign to make government and the OBCCTC aware of the hardship this rule imposes on small business owners, to no avail.
“In a show of unity against a regulatory environment that is completely ignoring the plight of container trucking drivers and owners, the United Truckers Association (“UTA”) and Unifor are coming together to hold a general informational meeting for both respective membership bases.”
Singh said that collectively, both UTA and Unifor members are facing the same obstacles with regards to payment from licensed companies, unlicensed off-dock companies who are operating outside of the law, and unreasonable and unfair treatment by the Port of Vancouver. The joint meeting will place a heavy emphasis on a political strategy for the provincial election campaign.
“If we cannot get the attention of elected officials in between elections, we certainly plan on making them aware of our dissatisfaction with the current system in the most public way possible,” said Singh. “Those candidates who have ignored our membership and our issues for the past two and a half years will face our members who are determined to have their voices heard in advance of the May 9 vote.”
The meeting will take place at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 2 at the Grand Taj Banquet Hall in Surrey.