Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
Transport and Communications
Issue 2 - Evidence - March 14, 2001
OTTAWA, Wednesday, March 14, 2001
The Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications, to which was referred Bill S-3,
to amend the Motor Vehicle Transport Act, 1987, and to make consequential amendments to other
acts, met this day at 5:30 p.m. to give consideration to the bill.
Senator Lise Bacon (Chairman) in the Chair.
The Chairman: We are meeting on the study of Bill S-3, an act to amend the Motor Vehicle
Transport Act of 1987 and to make consequential amendments to other acts.
Our first witness is Mr. Bob Evans. Welcome, and please proceed.
Mr. Bob Evans, Executive Director, Canadians for Responsible and Safe Highways: I had a
spectacular arrival that was totally unintended. I managed to trip over a piece of sidewalk in front of
the building that was a bit uneven, and I went head over heels.
CRASH is very pleased to be invited to provide input to Bill S-3. CRASH is a national association
working to ensure that public views and concerns are considered when governments develop,
implement and enforce policies affecting trucking safety.
Trucking safety is about people. It is not about trucks, and I think we should not lose sight of that fact.
In a typical year in Canada, almost 600 people are killed and 12,000 injured in some 40,000 truck
crashes. Those are totally unacceptable statistics.
Trucking is important to the economy. However, trucks are so heavy, and there are so many of them
that it is essential that they be operated on the roads as safely as possible.
We at CRASH have a major concern with the Motor Vehicle Transport Act, or MVTA, that we know
is shared with trucking business associations and others. I refer to the failure to achieve a consistent
National Safety Code. Public safety is at stake, yet in too many respects the provinces continue to go
their own separate ways. I propose not to elaborate here on the nature and apparent explanations for
this phenomenon, not because it is unimportant -- it is certainly is very important -- but because I
expect that others will be addressing this aspect at some length. Permit me simply to add that uneven
enforcement by provinces, and lack of federal direction is creating unnecessary administrative
burdens, allowing unsafe practices and creating barriers to trade. If we cannot agree on trucking
safety standards amongst ourselves, how can we expect to regulate in any meaningful way the safety
of trucking operations within Canada on the part of our NAFTA partners?
With your indulgence, I want to quickly highlight the recommendations made on behalf of CRASH
in our detailed brief to this committee, and then move to what we view as a particularly urgent matter
relating to regulations made under the MVTA; regulations relating to hours of service.
Senator Forrestall: Could you give us a page reference?
Mr. Evans: I am not working from the brief, senator.
It is the position of CRASH that the federal government should use its constitutional authority to
regulate interprovincial trucking. That is certainly not what is happening now. Beyond that, we have
in our detailed brief the following specific recommendations for amendments to the bill. There are
First, that the reference to consultation with industry on safety standards, which now refers to that
between government and industry, should be broadened to cover not only industry but also safety
organizations, truck and bus driver unions, owner-operator organizations, scientists and the general
The Chairman: The proposed amendments are on page 11, honourable senators.
Mr. Evans: That is right, thank you.
Second, we recommend that the minister be required to table an annual report on National Safety
Code conformance, together with relevant collision statistics. We note that this was previously a
requirement, and as we understand it, in the new bill, it is proposed not to continue the annual
Third, the bill should ensure that the federal government has sufficient flexibility and responsibility
to regulate the different aspects of truck and bus safety. After reading the bill, we wondered whether
some of the suggested powers were too narrowly focused. The power is there for the government to
conduct audits and other things, but what about the rest? That is a major concern that we have.
That is all I would like to say about the National Safety Code generally. However, I will now speak to
the major concerns of my organization relating to the limitation of commercial vehicle operator
hours of service. This regulation is, of course, under the current MVTA, section 3. The federal
government, working in conjunction with the provinces through the Canadian Council of Motor
Transport Administrators, has proposed revised workload limits for truck drivers. The key elements
of those proposals are: a 14-hour driving shift, and on alternate days up to a 16-hour driving shift, and
a work week that can be from 84 to 96 hours long, and all of those hours can be driving time. These
proposals are supposed to be approved by the CCMTA's board of directors in June. The federal
government is then expected to reflect the same by revising its federal hours-of-service regulations
that apply to all carriers operating across provincial or national boundaries.
I note that my association participated in the work of the CCMTA project team charged with
developing the hours of service. The active membership on this committee consisted of
representatives from the federal and provincial governments, a large delegation representing the
various national and provincial trucking business associations and their allies, a few observers, a
representative from the Teamsters' Union, and a representative from CRASH. Only the Teamsters
and CRASH representatives spoke against the proposal, and both organizations can testify that our
concerns and suggestions on that project team were given pretty short shrift.
As well, I respond to suggestions made not only by some trucking interests but also by federal
government spokespersons that the new proposal for hours of service is somehow safe because it
calls for fewer hours in the week than truckers now work. It is argued that Canadian truck drivers can
now work 108 hours per week, so a mere 84- or 96-hour work week obviously would be safer. That is
a lot of nonsense. It is theoretically possible to work 108 hours in the first week of one of the
Canadian work cycles, which should never have been allowed. However, this is possible only on the
basis of working many fewer hours in the following week. A human being simply cannot work 108
hours per week, week after week, as some would apparently have us believe. After all, there are only
160 hours, total, in a week.
Frankly, Canadian drivers are not driving 108 hours each week. Most drivers today are working
within the "lesser cycles" -- 60 hours in seven days and 70 hours in eight days. That is a lot of driving
-- one and one half times the normal industrial shift per week. These drivers see that minimum cycle
-- "60 in seven" or "70 in eight" -- under the proposed regulation being eight, thereby allowing up
to 84 hours in a week. Since we are really not coming from the 108 hours, they will only be able to
work 84 hours.
Actually, truck drivers work hard putting in about 60 hours each week. Suddenly, they are seeing this
regulation wherein the most modest number appearing is now 84 hours per week, which represents a
40 per cent increase over the number in the current regulations.
I regret the fact that certain trucking spokespersons insist on referring to one cycle of the new
hours-of-service proposal as "70 hours in seven days", rather than "84 hours in seven days."The
teamsters know that a driver can be required to work 84 hours in seven days under the proposed
cycle. The Canadian Automobile Association, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
representatives and many others know that as well. Some of us might wonder if certain parties are
trying to hide reality.
The American Plan for Driver Work Limits, released in April 2000, has brought the whole matter of
Canadian regulation of trucker hours of work into sharp focus. That occurred five months after the
Canadian proposal for hours of work was locked up. In closing, I want you to compare the new
Canadian proposal for hours of service with the American proposal, and also to be aware of what is
happening in Europe.
I have a chart here that shows maximum hours per week. The Canadian proposal for a maximum
driving shift is 14 hours. In the United States, it is 12 hours of driving. That compares with 10 hours
of driving permitted in the United States right now. Many challenge that proposed increase. The
current number of hours permitted in Europe is nine.
There has been reference from a Transport Canada official to the fact that Canada has the longest
driving shift in the regulated world. Currently, that shift is 13 hours, and under the proposal it will
increase to 14 hours. As I mentioned, the Americans are at 10 hours, and increasing to 12 hours,
while in Western Europe it is nine hours, and I am not sure whether that may not be reduced.
The importance of the length of the driving shift is demonstrated by some research facts that I will
quote. There have been several major studies of accident risk after truck drivers drive a certain
number of hours. One study shows that the risk virtually doubles after eight hours of driving, based
on actual experience. Another study actually had 3.2 as the risk factor after driving more than nine
hours. When that eight or nine hour factor is exceeded, the risk of accident rises substantially.
Another American study showed that the risk increased by 6.2 if a driver exceeded nine hours. I do
not argue in favour of any particular statistic from those figures, but I would point out that there is a
significant increase, as suggested by the research, when the period of driving exceeds roughly eight
These numbers, by the way, were presented by Dr. Ellisa Bramer of the Insurance Institute of
Highway Safety, Alexandria, Virginia, at a conference that my association held in Toronto in
The next chart is "maximum hours per week." This is an area of major concern to us. The proposal
falls under a system called a 36-hour reset. That consists of five 14-hour driving days, with one day
off, and then the cycle repeats. However, the first of those five days is the seventh day in the week.
Seventy hours plus another fourteen hours adds up to 84 hours.The U.S. current shift is 60 hours in
seven days or 70 hours in eight days. The U.S. has proposed to move to 60 hours in seven days.
Therefore they are staying close to what they have now. Currently, Western Europe is at 56, and they
are moving to 48.
I had someone say to me, "When I saw 84 for Canada, I thought it was a mistake. I thought that you
had transposed the numbers and you meant 48, like they have in Europe." Honourable senators, we
do not mean 48 as in Europe; we are talking about 84.
The point I want to stress is that Canada is setting world records in terms of the number of hours we
require our truck drivers to work. There may be a good reason for that but, frankly, we have not heard
Another issue that is very important, and I sort of soft-pedalled it because it confuses the whole
subject, is the fact that truck drivers can, for many reasons, be under a great deal of pressure to cheat
on the number of hours they work. Many drivers are paid by the mile only when they are moving, so
they do not want to count their non-moving hours if they are unloading cargo or waiting at a border, et
There has been some research on whether truck drivers cheat. One of several studies in the United
States indicated that 73 per cent of truck drivers reported that they violated rules. Another study had
one-half of truck drivers in violation of regulations. We are not dealing with violations of log books
here, but the seriousness of the issue. In one study, almost one in five tractor-trailer drivers admitted
to falling asleep while driving during the past month.
I want to raise the issue of the violation of hours and the recording of hours. I do so because there is
another significant difference between the Canadian proposal and the American proposal. The
Americans are proposing to mandate electronic recorders. This is not exactly rocket science. We are
approaching the fiftieth anniversary of electronic recorders in railway locomotives. The Americans
are proposing to mandate electronic recorders to help make it more difficult to fudge the hours that
drivers are working. They are doing this to level the playing field and to bring back some honesty into
the system, to the extent that is possible. In Canada, we say we are studying the matter, but there is no
proposal for action in the new Canadian hours-of-work proposal.
I would like to make just one final observation. I suppose it is a bit of a plea. If it is inappropriate, I
apologize, but I hope it is not. For the last 15 months my association has been promised public
hearings into the hours-of-service proposal. Nothing has happened. After 15 months, you must
excuse me if I say that we wonder about the level of commitment of government, whether federal or
provincial, to really involve the public in decisions that clearly impact on their safety on the road. We
would certainly welcome any support that this committee can offer in this regard, especially if you
can provide any sort of endorsement, any support or any advice on the question of public hearings.
We hope that the hearings will deal explicitly with understanding why it is necessary that the
hours-of-service regulations in Canada must be different from those that are being proposed in the
United States. Perhaps there are some good reasons for that. However, let us offer Canadians a
chance to hear those reasons and a chance to question them.
With those remarks, I thank you very much for your patience and attention.
The Chairman: Thank you, Mr. Evans. You say that you were promised public hearings. Who
promised you public hearings?
Mr. Evans: That matter came up through CCMTA. Public hearings were promised by the
chairperson of the CCMTA hours-of-service committee, who was from Transport Canada. Various
provincial governments have said that there will be hearings. Part of the problem seems to be that the
federal government is saying, "There will be hearings. The provinces will hold them." The
provincial governments, the most obvious of which is Ontario, have been saying, "Yes, there will be
hearings, but the federal government will hold them." The bottom line, of course, is that no one holds
The Chairman: We have not made any promises.
Your membership, of what is that composed? Are they individual members?
Mr. Evans: We have 2,500 names on our mailing list. Our members are not members in the
conventional sense because we do not charge membership fees. Most members are members of the
general public. A growing number of our members are truck drivers. We do not represent truck
drivers in terms of trying to improve their working traditions, et cetera, because the last thing we
want to do is compete with legitimate organizations which do that, such as associations, operators,
unions, et cetera. However, many truck drivers who are concerned about safety issues have joined
our ranks. We also have a small but very important cadre of people who lost loved ones in accidents
involving large trucks. Let me tell you that they bring to the whole affair a perspective that is very
The Chairman: Do you receive your funding from individual members?
Mr. Evans: Yes, as well as unions and the Railway Association of Canada. We have approached
other corporate groups but they have declined. We tried the government, too.
The Chairman: Why do you think provincial structures should no longer regulate trucking, as is
presently the case? Do you feel that they cannot do it?
Mr. Evans: We are concerned about a race to the bottom. There are a number of reasons. We identify
with many of the concerns that have been expressed by the trucking associations, such as
unnecessary extra burdens including administrative and cost burdens, and so on. They have many
good reasons. We are also concerned, as I said, about the potential for a race to the bottom: for
example that provinces can compete with one another as to who has the most lax rules, and people
advertising "Locate your warehouse in our province because trucking costs will be lower because we
have more lax safety rules and, therefore, you will have lower shipping rates," et cetera.
Senator Forrestall: You were talking a moment ago about funding. My understanding is that you
have received a significant donation, if you will, from the railways; is that true? What is your total
budget and how much would come from the three principal sectors?
Mr. Evans: We have always said that the funding we receive from the railway association is
important. We do not talk about how much Mrs. Smith, Mr. Jones or anyone else gives us.
Senator Forrestall: Do you have an opinion as to whether or not, with this amendment, we will just
be perpetuating the problem that we have of the cart, if you will, being out in front of the horse, and
that we probably should have a national transportation safety code in place with these details worked
Mr. Evans: Frankly, we would like to see the federal government certainly have responsibility for
safety regulations concerning interprovincial trucking. We think the National Safety Code has not
worked. There are too many divisions. We really wonder how Canada can join with two other
countries in this respect when our own camp is in such disarray.
Senator Forrestall: I am asking those questions because the other day the minister and at least one
of his officials expressed concern about the lack of progress, or the rate of progress, toward a national
transportation safety code. We have been talking about it for almost as long as I have been around
here, and that is a few years. I ask the question on the basis that the minister would like to see more
done, and would like to see the code in place. I do not understand why it has not happened.
Since you are looking at it every day, have you light to shed on why we still do not have a national
transportation safety code? Bill S-3 is dealing with an amendment to the Motor Vehicle Transport
Act of 1987 and not, as it would seem to me that it should be, to amend the National Safety Code?
Mr. Evans: My response is that many of the provinces want to do their own thing. I get a sense that
Ontario likes to think at times that it is big enough that it should set the pattern. I get that feeling, on
occasion, about Alberta, et cetera, and so on -- I could point the finger at all the provinces, and
perhaps I should not.
The responsibility was passed down to the provinces, with all sorts of promises of pulling together, as
I understand it. Now that we have this power, we will all get in the same canoe, and all get the same
size paddles and row in the same direction. That simply has not happened.
I see us all caught up in the whole issue of federal-provincial relations. The federal government
wants to bring about perhaps a more uniform and effective national policy, but wants to do it without
unduly stepping on provincial responsibility, having passed its powers to the province. I see it as a
balancing act. That is the perception that I have.
Senator Forrestall: You suggested that you have a concern about the absence of public hearings. Is
this body competent to hold public hearings at a level that would satisfy your concerns? Your
concerns are widely shared. They are not closely held by CRASH. Could we do this kind of job in the
absence of it being undertaken by the Council of Ministers or any other competent group?
Mr. Evans: You are perhaps in a much better position to answer that than I am.
Senator Forrestall: Given that we have limited funds and do not have access to the type of
professional resource that could tell us something of driving safety, I am not suggesting that we
would, nor am I giving any undertaking, but would it help if this committee did travel with this
question? We could deal with the question of a national transportation safety code, because it seems
that without that in place, we do not have a vehicle to house the concerns that you have expressed in
Mr. Evans: The short answer to the question is "yes". We would like the national hearings to be
nation-wide, and we would like them to provide an opportunity for representatives of the public to
ask questions, as well as hear information.
Senator Forrestall: I will alert you that I will later take you back to your proposed amendments to
make sure I understand them.
Senator Callbeck: On page 3 you have a chart regarding the status of National Safety Code
implementation. Your last column gives the weight of trucks. My understanding is that in order to
adhere to the National Safety Code, there should be a 4,500-kilogram limit. Some provinces are
doing that, and other provinces are not.
It seems to me that the heavier trucks would appear to take a greater toll on the highways in terms of
accidents, deaths and repairs to the road. Do you have any statistics to support that? Would that not be
Mr. Evans: The heavier trucks, or the bigger trucks, are typically the tractor-trailers. Off the top of
my head, I would say that approximately two-thirds of the fatalities from trucking accidents are from
accidents involving big trucks that are tractor-trailers. Approximately one third of the fatalities are
from accidents involving straight trucks, which would be the trucks down closer to the
Senator Callbeck: I am amazed by the figures for Alberta.
Mr. Evans: Yes.
Senator Callbeck: Does that relationship of fatalities and big truck accidents show up more in
Alberta than in other provinces that have a 4,500-kilogram limit?
Mr. Evans: We did a safety report card two years ago. No one had ever done this before. We
compared trucking safety performance and trucking safety results, province by province. We looked
at fatalities per capita, for example. We found that Alberta had the worse results of any province.
This safety report was dated April 1999. In terms of truck driver fatalities, Alberta had more truck
drivers killed in big truck accidents than Ontario, although Ontario has three and one-half times as
many licensed truck drivers. The fatalities per capita involving large trucks in Alberta was at least 30
per cent higher than the national average.
Senator Callbeck: What were the results in Saskatchewan?
Mr. Evans: They were very close. Those are the two provinces that we failed.
Senator Callbeck: You have talked about several issues that you feel are pressing for the safety of
highways. The legislation talks about having safety certificates to licence vehicles. Are you satisfied
with the criteria that will be used for those, or are you advocating that some of these should be
Mr. Evans: Some of what?
Senator Callbeck: Some of these issues that you are talking about in here, or do you feel that, as it
stands, the bill is adequate?
Mr. Evans: My main concern is national consistency.
Senator Callbeck: It would be provided that this be carried through?
Mr. Evans: I am sorry, are you speaking of our three recommendations, for example?
Senator Callbeck: Basically, would you be happy with the bill if those three amendments were
made? Are those your major problems with the legislation?
Mr. Evans: We had an over-riding suggestion. We would like to see the federal government move
towards a constitutional authority to regulate interprovincial trucking. We start off with a broad level
and then we have three specific suggestions.
Senator Eyton: I wish to return to your proposed amendments. They seem to be modest indeed, as I
understand them. They call for greater consultation, which is a good thing. They call for an annual
report by the minister, which seems fine enough. They further ask for more precision relative to
My question is: Have these been discussed, and is anyone opposed to those amendments? I am not
talking about the elegance of the language. In principle, they seem to be amendments that would be
Mr. Evans: Other responses are not included in Bill S-3. Perhaps, for whatever reason, there was a
desire not to report to Parliament; I do not know.
Senator Eyton: Have these amendments been widely discussed with other parties?
Mr. Evans: Yes.
Senator Eyton: The challenge before us is that a national transportation safety code is an urgent
matter. The numbers are startling and concerning. I would like your comments on how you think we
should go about managing or prompting the development of an appropriate national transportation
safety code, and, thereafter, ensuring that it is adopted and enforced. It seems implicit that there is a
need for the federal government to take a stronger role if it is impossible to bring the provinces
together. The performance of the provinces seems uneven; lacking in uniformity.
My question is: What are your recommendations on how to develop a safety code on an urgent basis,
and how do you get it adopted and enforced within some reasonable time? It seems to take years and
years to reach any kind of a decision at all. What is your recommendation?
Mr. Evans: Our recommendation is that the federal government must bite the bullet here. You must
give yourselves the necessary authority and do it, even if it means stepping on some provincial toes.
You must look very carefully, line by line, at the critical areas where the federal government should
act to improve safety.
After so many years in which we have not been able to get everyone going the same way,
consultation, discussion and expressions of good intent have all been tried. I believe the federal
government must simply state that they have the responsibility for interprovincial trucking in these
areas, and that such and such will be done.
The area of medical standards for interprovincial truck drivers might be an easy area to start with.
The federal government currently has responsibility for hours of service and should retain that. I
think consideration should be given to moving on the whole area of truck size and weight standards.
We have a real mishmash here. Maybe that is the kind of thing, to some degree, that could be
negotiated with the provinces. If you say to the provinces that you intend to do it, then talk first about
what you will do, instead of simply saying, "Here are the new size and weight standards for
interprovincial truck movements."
I am starting, I fear, to feel like someone who is way over his head in terms of telling you what to do.
Senator Eyton: I find it hard to imagine why all those involved and interested in the industry are not
driving toward uniformity and consistency. It must be terribly complicated, more expensive and a
bad way of running things. There should be a core value that all would embrace, and then you could
proceed and do it in the right way.
Mr. Evans: It is a question of regionalization. Ours is an oil-patch province, and they happen to like
trucks this way, whereas the attitudes of other provinces have evolved in other ways.
Senator Maheu: Mr. Evans, you spoke in your presentation about accident or crash risk. Do you
have any facts? It is easy to talk about research and risk, but do you have figures on how bad the
accident risk is in actual fact?
Mr. Evans: I shall leave a copy of the document to which I referred This is our provincial
comparison. It was based on 1997 statistics. That was the last time that we undertook this type of
study. I think you will find it an interesting analysis of trucking safety results and trucking safety
programs in Canada. I will be pleased to leave that with you.
Senator Finestone: Our previous witnesses indicated that there used to be 16 guidelines or rules and
regulations under the Transportation Safety Act and that that has been revised to 15. The most
important one is number 14, which is like an overarching holding tank for all the issues that could
find commonality in a coordinated action of consent across all provinces.
It was their feeling that if the provinces individually respected these conditions, then the concerns
that I had expressed about the weight of the trucks, the hours of work, the differential in length and
weight of trucks with the United States would all be addressed. Our witnesses spoke about divesting
the federal authority to the provinces. I did not take favourably to that idea.
I now read in one of your notes -- and I think it is a key aspect -- that when we approved deregulation
of entry and exit controls in 1987, the Senate did so on the provision that a national safety code would
be implemented to prevent safety from being sacrificed to cut-throat economic competition. The
same note says that, in a sense, economic regulation was inseparable from safety regulations.
Would you say that the resolutions that you have put before us cover that particular concern?
Mr. Evans: The resolutions address that concern, in part. The most important requirement is that the
federal government take back some of this power.
Senator Finestone: Did you ever hear of the federal government taking back what they gave away?
They only pay the bills.
Mr. Evans: I concede.
Senator Finestone: In a sense, the worries you have expressed relate to issues that are outside of
what is supposed to be the intent of this bill. Is that assessment accurate?
Mr. Evans: We are concerned that the bill does not say or do certain things. For example, we are
concerned that the bill does not require an annual report, which we think is important.
Senator Finestone: An annual report to whom and by whom?
Mr. Evans: By Transport Canada on the National Safety Code to Parliament.
Senator Finestone: To Parliament through the minister?
Mr. Evans: Yes. We think the question of intent is important. There is reference in the bill to
government consultation with industry. We think it would be more respectful of reality and the rest of
us if it included government consultation with industry, safety organizations, truck and bus driver
unions, owner-operator organizations and the general public, or something to that effect.
Senator Finestone: Do you not believe that before drafting this bill the government held
consultations and focus groups on it?
Mr. Evans: We were not involved, although that may be because we were not aware of it. I am not
Senator Finestone: You are here to speak to the interests of truck drivers, so I presume that truck
drivers know your position and know that you are appearing here?
Mr. Evans: We do not represent truck drivers.
Senator Finestone: I did not say that you represent them, but you are here to speak to their issues and
the issues of the citizens of Canada. Therefore, I presume you spoke to some truck drivers. I have
spoken to truck drivers who have told me that they do not like driving such long hours.
You would not appear on this bill without speaking to them, would you?
Mr. Evans: No.
Senator Finestone: Is it your sense that, for the most part, truck drivers are on side with owners? Are
most trucks driven by their owners or are the drivers employed by companies?
Mr. Evans: There is a mix. There are truck drivers who work for hiring hall operations.
Senator Finestone: They are for hire?
Mr. Evans: Yes. There are service bureaux that provide drivers; there are truck drivers who do work
directly for carriers, some of whom are unionized and some of whom are not; and there are
Senator Finestone: Would you say that the economic interests of the "for hires" would outweigh the
economic well-being and the health of the drivers?
Mr. Evans: Truck drivers will very often tell you that they are making less money now than they
were making 20 years ago, and they are having to work longer hours. This is basically a result of
deregulation. Ease of entry into the trucking industry has squeezed everyone.
Senator Finestone: Would you say that is bottom-line profit?
Mr. Evans: Yes.
Senator Finestone: I do not mind bottom-line profit so long as it is not to the detriment of the person
making the profit.
Mr. Evans: They are being squeezed.
Senator Finestone: What does a truck driver earn?
Mr. Evans: Many truck drivers are making little more than minimum wage for the hours they
Senator Finestone: Little more than minimum wage?
Mr. Evans: That is right.
Senator Finestone: I have heard something very different. Do we know anything about the earning
power of drivers of big trucks?
The Chairman: Our other witnesses will have some figures. You can question them, Senator
Mr. Evans: Statistics Canada has statistics on truck drivers' earnings.
Senator Finestone: Interprovincial trucks cost a huge amount of capital. Owners want the operators
of such equipment to be responsible for taking care of those trucks. They will not pay them minimum
Mr. Evans: As you point out, there is a huge investment in a truck. In addition to paying for the truck,
they must pay for insurance and repairs, and we have heard about the difficulties caused by fuel
prices. That is what I am talking about. In a number of instances, what they take home for the hours
they work, which can be very long, is not much above minimum wage.
Senator Finestone: If there is no change to this legislation, will truckers be unhappy and will
Canadian citizens be worse off?
Mr. Evans: Our major concern is with the hours-of-service issue, which is governed by regulation.
Setting that aside, we would have hoped for improvement in the bill itself. We do not see the
suggestion of enough improvement in the bill.
Senator Finestone: Of national standards?
Mr. Evans: Particularly of the national standards.
Senator Finestone: Therefore your first concern is national standards, and your second is reporting
Mr. Evans: Yes, that is correct.
Senator Setlakwe: I am not too clear about your association of hours of work with the minimum
wage. What does one have to do with the other?
Mr. Evans: Due to the high cost of trucks, the high cost of fuel, and the fact that people can get into
the industry so easily and undercut rates, truck drivers are increasingly making less and less after
costs. In order to put food on the table, many of them are under tremendous pressure to work as many
hours as possible, and that often includes hours that are not reported in their log books.
Senator Setlakwe: But they are not working longer hours at a lower wage.
Mr. Evans: Per hour they are, effectively, getting close to minimum wage. In order to earn $40,000
per year, they must put in very long hours.
The Chairman: Our consultant can provide us with some figures on that.
Mr. Martin Brennan, Consultant to the Committee: I have some figures taken from Transport
Canada's annual report of 1999. It gives average weekly earnings in the trucking industry by
province, and the national average is $669 per week. It does not say how many hours that is based on.
Senator Finestone: When a couple of my sons who have university degrees were looking for jobs,
they said that they were going to drive truck because they could earn six figures. I will tell them that
they have made better choices because they certainly would not earn six figures according to these
Senator Forrestall: Mr. Evans, Senator Eyton asked you about your proposed amendments, and I
would like to share with him my general support for those amendments. An income of $34,000 a year
is not very much money for a man who is working 10, 12, 14, 18 hours a day. We have no idea,
however, what percentage of the truck drivers are earning that.
I have been looking at these figures, and I see that urban transit, which is a short distance, scheduled
intercity service, is included. That is not long-haul at any stage.School buses, we know what they
involve. Incidentally, they are the largest revenue earners. Charter services could be somewhat
longer distance. There is nothing really to be gained there by a comparison. There is no real way we
If school bus drivers are to be included, I would be somewhat disturbed to know that we would be
asking them to work those sort of hours. Of course, you will not get urban transit bus drivers because
they work more reasonable hours and they do not drive long distances. However, the intercity bus
drivers do. I do not know whether you can help us in this regard.
I can tell you, with a great deal of experience, what 10 hours of driving is like in a comfortable car. I
would not like to try it in a bus or a big truck.
Do we have any way of knowing about the intercity, long distance bus drivers?
Mr. Evans: Many of the intercity bus drivers, working for scheduled carriers, are unionized and
working under collective agreements, which tend to improve their lot. The problem with bus drivers,
as I understand, is in the tour bus area. This is the driver who picks up passengers at the hotel at seven
o'clock in the morning, sees them off at 9 or 10 p.m. that night, and then must clean the bus. There is
some concern about the working conditions of tour bus operators. Some of the tour bus operations
are small companies. I hesitate to use the term "fly by night," but that may be appropriate in some
Senator Forrestall: It is difficult question to get at because, on the one hand, working 10 or 12 hours
a day, four or five days a week, if you are on some kind of piecework and you are not driving long
distances, it is not as if you are going to Mexico, or out to Vancouver or Winnipeg. That I would
consider an extraordinarily long distance. Toronto is a long distance. Believe me, Halifax to Quebec
City is a solid 10-hour drive in a comfortable car.
Can you help us with what to propose in this regard? As you were talking, I was looking quickly at
what is likely to be unionized, and they are on an hourly rate or some other basis. People are paying
basic mileage and the rates are quite low.
Mr. Evans: Many of the problems are with the owner-operator truck drivers.
Senator Forrestall: What about the privately owned trucks?
Mr. Evans: Many trucks are, in fact, owner-operated. If you mean the various stores, wholesalers
and so on, often they are owner-operator vehicles.
Senator Forrestall: In the new standards, in association with those standards, is there a method of
checking the private truck owner?
Mr. Evans: It does not matter who the owner of the truck is; the regulations apply equally.
Senator Forrestall: How is that policed?
Mr. Evans: Through the log book.
Senator Forrestall: Irving Oil is a big trucking entity, and they can tell us pretty much what is going
on, but how do you know that, in a family operation, the truck is not being driven 24 hours a day? Is
there any way that this can be policed?
Mr. Evans: There are log books. The problem is that it has been proven that log books are too
susceptible to manipulation. That is very common information in the industry. They talk about
drivers having two or three log books. In other words, as a driver you have a couple of log books: one
for remuneration, that is presumably accurate, and another one to show to the police officer, or the
inspector, if you get stopped, and that is commonly called the "comic book."
Incidentally, if I may add, our discussions here have bordered on the issue of the salary and
conditions, et cetera, of truck drivers. I have here a book written by a professor of industrial relations
at the University of Michigan who, in an earlier life, for 10 years was a truck driver. Therefore, he
knows what he is writing about. He is writing about the sweat-shop type of conditions that truck
drivers face. He talks about the close-to-minimum-wage salary. He is an American so he is writing in
the American context. There is a large amount of good statistical information in this book. I can
provide a reference on how to get a copy.
Senator Forrestall: Who is the main beneficiary of these proposed rules regarding numbers of
hours that can be driven: the driver, the owner, or the big company?
Mr. Evans: It is certainly not the driver. In our view, it is the company. There is a problem. That
physical truck, other than when it is being refuelled or repaired, can keep on going, but it is the human
being who insists on doing foolish things like sleeping and eating. If you can get more hours out of
that human being, then you obviously improve your return on your investment in the truck.
Also, if you can get more work out of the drivers you now have working for you, then you do not need
to increase the rates that you are paying those drivers in order to attract additional people when you
are faced with a shortage of drivers or a workload problem.
Senator Forrestall: I appreciate your attendance and I know of your concern.
Senator Finestone: I gather that I missed the beginning of the presentation, which I regret, but I was
looking at the charts that are behind us and they are very disquieting. There is no question that, if you
look at the violation of hours of service, that is one thing. If you look at the maximum number of
hours per week, we see gaps between what is acceptable in Europe, what is acceptable in the United
States, and the Canadian experience.The figures go from 56 hours in Europe, 60 hours in the United
States, and the 84 hours being proposed for Canada. That needs to be considered, and yet this bill
does not cover that particular aspect. I believe it is something on which we should be more firm in our
questioning when the minister comes back.
That crash risk really bothers me. If 1.8 drivers driving over eight hours are having crashes, and at
nine hours that figure is up to 6.2 drivers, and the proposal is that they drive 10 or 12 hours, what are
we asking for? We, in our cars, are the ones at the other end. These big trucks are running beside us. If
their drivers are sleepy, you and I will be unhappy people. I find that proposition disquieting.
The Chairman: Do you have a question?
Senator Finestone: No. I felt that we ought to keep these matters in mind before the charts disappear
from our screen, as we may not remember them. I wonder whether we could have copies of these
visual aids to send to the minister and the deputy minister?
Mr. Evans: If I may add something: I had intended to come with copies of those charts. They are
prepared, but I was afraid of being delayed, so they did not accompany me. However, I can send
The Chairman: If you could send them, they will be distributed to the members.
Our next witnesses are from the Canadian Trucking Alliance.
Welcome, gentlemen. Please proceed.
Mr. Graham Cooper, Senior Vice-President, Canadian Trucking Alliance: Good evening,
honourable senators. First, I must apologize for not being in a position to provide you with our
written brief in advance. However, I will speak to it in summary, and of course you will have copies
of it distributed by now.
First, let me say a few words about who we are. The Canadian Trucking Alliance is a federation of the
seven provincial and regional trucking associations in Canada, collectively representing some 3,000
motor carriers from coast to coast. Until 1997 we were known as the Canadian Trucking Association.
We became an alliance, a federation, in 1997, after some 60 years.
We heard much about safety in the previous presentation. I wish to highlight several things. I will
refer to a Transport Canada report that deals with accident statistics involving commercial vehicles
between 1994 and 1998. During that period of time the number of straight trucks as well as
tractor-trailers involved in collisions declined by over 5 per cent, and the number of those same
vehicles involved in fatal collisions during that period dropped by almost 14 per cent. Perhaps most
noteworthy is that, during that same period, for-hire trucking tonne-kilometres increased by over 37
per cent. In other words, the exposure during that period was significantly higher, and accident rates,
in fact, went down.
Transport Canada reports that, for 1998, only 2 per cent of commercial vehicles involved in
collisions were found to have mechanical defects. Commercial drivers involved in fatal collisions
were determined to be driving properly in 80 per cent of cases.
I am not sure how many are familiar with a process called Roadcheck. It is a North American safety
blitz conducted by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, which is a tri-national body. During the
annual Roadcheck conducted in the year 2000, inspections revealed that 87 per cent of Canadian
vehicles passed the most stringent inspection procedures, and 98 per cent of drivers passed their
inspections. It is noteworthy that those numbers are 4 percentage points better than comparable
numbers in the United States.
While the industry's safety performance has shown improvement over the years and, in our view,
will continue to improve, we in the CTA and our provincial association partners work closely with
the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, or CCMTA, in an ongoing attempt to
develop and see implemented more effective and equitable -- and, frankly, in many cases tougher --
safety regulations. That is what this appearance is all about.
The vast majority of motor carriers involved in trucking in Canada are safe operators. They put a high
premium on safety. They know safety is good business. It is good for their employees and enables
them to attract new employees. The list is long, as I am sure honourable senators know, in terms of the
reasons to do things properly in business.
However, there are the few bad apples out there who tend to make the headlines in national and local
papers. Frankly, those bad apples sully the reputation of the entire industry. It is our view that through
mechanisms such as the National Safety Code and the National Safety Code standard 14 on safety
ratings, there is a mechanism available, albeit perhaps not used as effectively as we might like to see,
to get those bad apples out of the industry.
When the minister introduced Bill S-3 in January, he made reference to the National Safety Code
standards, the underpinning for Bill S-3. As you know, in particular, the National Safety Code
standard we are referring to is standard 14, which deals with safety ratings.
In the previous session, I believe I heard the minister, or one of the Transport Canada members,
commenting, as we have done right from the outset of these discussions with respect to standard 14 in
1994, that that standard potentially is the most important of all the National Safety Code standards in
that it acts as a measure of a motor carrier's performance against all the other standards. I believe this
point was raised earlier. For that reason, a high premium must be put on the successful
implementation of standard 14, and we support its inclusion as the foundation for the amendments to
However, after seven years at the CCMTA, with government and industry working together, we still
see an alarming lack of consistency in the safety rating systems being used across the country. In fact,
currently we are years away from having a consistent national safety rating system.
Our written brief provides a historical perspective. I will not dwell on it now, except to point out
several interesting recommendations made by the National Transportation Act Review
Commission. Let me briefly read two recommendations from the NTA Review Commission.
Recommendation No. 5:
We recommend that the Minister of Transport appoint a senior representative to chair a working
group to resolve expeditiously the inconsistencies of regulation, interpretation and enforcement
respecting safety aspects of extra-provincial trucking. In the event that implementation and
enforcement of an acceptable standard of safety regulations, including the National Safety Code for
Motor Carriers, have not been achieved by March 31, 1994, then the federal government, with
respect to jurisdictions not in compliance, should withdraw the delegation to administer
extra-provincial trucking regulation and/or withhold federal contributions to highway
Referring to recommendation number 7, the commission recommended that:
...the Minister of Transport negotiate with provincial governments to standardize operating and
technical standards affecting the trucking industry's efficiency. If such standardization cannot be
achieved by March 31, 1994, the Minister of Transport should introduce legislation providing for
uniform operating and technical standards for extra- provincial trucking to be administered by the
Sadly, some 16 years after the report "Freedom to Move", tabled by the then Minister of Transport in
1985, and some seven years after the report of the National Transportation Act Review Commission,
we are not much closer in many respects, and not one of the 16 standards has been implemented in a
consistent manner in all jurisdictions. Some come close, but there are some with a significant
variation. Standard 14, the one about which we are most interested for the purpose of this discussion,
is one of those.
While there have may have been good intentions at the time of trucking deregulation to use the
CCMTA as a mechanism to ensure that trucking regulation over extra-provincial trucking would be
consistently applied across the country, the fact is that the mechanism in place under CCMTA is
flawed. There are many people who work on many committees and project groups, both industry and
federal and provincial government people, and public safety groups -- the list is quite varied -- and
those people are all invited to every single meeting of the CCMTA. When an agreement is reached
and consensus is supposedly achieved by members of the CCMTA, there is unfortunately no
mechanism in place to ensure that, by the time they get off the plane on their way home, they have not
changed their minds and made contrary recommendations to the ministers.
I am not casting aspersions on particular officials, but we know from past experience that though
agreements have been reached, and we think consensus positions have been taken, the provincial
regulations that have resulted from those discussions, often over periods of many years, have not
lived up to the consensus position reached. This is largely a problem of accountability.
In August of 2000, Transport Canada released a consultant's report dealing with the state of
readiness of the provinces to implement standard 14, and particularly concentrating on the issue of
national consistency, which seems to be the word of the day when we talk about this particular issue.
The consultant wrote a comprehensive and lengthy report. I certainly will not attempt to summarize
that report in any way, but I would draw your attention to three or four key findings, and to some
comments that he made in his report.
First, with respect to what kind of performance it would take in different jurisdictions for a motor
carrier to have a rating downgraded or upgraded, the consultant found significant variation.
...In three jurisdictions, the carrier was given a Conditional rating within five months of starting
business. In four jurisdictions, a Conditional rating was given in the second year of operation. In
Manitoba, the rating procedures bump the carrier to a position where two rating levels -- from
Satisfactory Unaudited to Unsatisfactory -- may be considered in one move in year three. And in
Alberta, the rating had not been downgraded to Conditional at the end of the three years. There is no
Another one of his findings:
...the difference in the number of events required to change a rating in one jurisdiction versus another
is very large, often varying by a factor of ten or more...
Jurisdictions have different policies on intervention levels (at what point on the threshold does
something happen?). They have different policies on actual interventions (warning letters,
interviews, audits, hearings, etc.). And they have different policies on ratings associated with each of
these intervention levels or interventions. Some make a Conditional rating automatic at a certain
point on the threshold; others make it only when an audit fails; and still others only consider a
Conditional rating after a review panel has made a judgment.
He also pointed out that his report was only a research report, and that in the final analysis it is really
the political will that will determine what happens.
In a comment rarely, if ever, seen in a report of this type, the consultant wrote:
It is difficult to understand how jurisdictions can develop a standard, agree to it, and then ignore
significant aspects of it. What, it might be asked, was the point of having a standard?
Since that report was tabled at the CCMTA working group and the consultant discussed his findings
and recommendations with government and industry members of that group, work has been ongoing
to attempt to address some of the major inconsistencies, and it was agreed that in the fall of 2001 a
second independent evaluation would take place to see if they were closer. We can only hope we will
be closer. However, it is our fear that without a significant commitment of political will and increased
funding on the part of the federal government to ensure that the National Safety Code and the
National Safety Code standard 14 is consistently applied in all jurisdictions, leadership will be
lacking and the safety rating standard may prove to be an unattainable goal.
In our view, the time has now come for the federal government to expend the political capital and
financial resources necessary to effectively exercise its constitutional authority over trucking.
We have two main recommendations with respect to policy, and then I will ask Mr. Bergamini to
address amendments to the wording of Bill S-3.
With respect to the policy issues that we believe are necessary to put in place what the trucking
industry wants, what I believe the federal government wants and, frankly, what I believe many of the
provincial governments want, not to mention the public who share the highways with trucks that
travel extra-provincially, we believe that the Minister of Transport must lead a concerted effort
toward national consistency and provide adequate funding to the provinces for implementation of
the National Safety Code.
While there is no magic number, funding must be tied to performance and the federal government
must be willing to withhold funding from provinces which do not fall into line. If the funding
incentive is not enough, the federal government must be prepared to act on provisions of clause 9 of
Bill S-3 and withdraw the authority to issue federal safety certificates from provinces which fail to
implement the provisions of the National Safety Code in a form consistent with national consensus.
It is not enough to have that provision on the books as part of the leadership role that we hope the
federal minister would take; he must be prepared to invoke those provisions and withdraw the ability
of provinces that have not complied with the consistency to issue safety certificates under Bill S-3.
I will now turn the microphone over to Mr. Bergamini.
Mr. Massimo Bergamini, Vice-President, Public Affairs, Canadian Trucking Alliance: First of
all, I would like to apologize on behalf on the Alliance for not having tabled a French version of our
brief with the Committee. Unfortunately, deadlines prevented us to do so.
Very briefly, the specific amendments we would like to see brought forward to Bill S-3 are contained
in pages 5 and 6 of the submission. They must be viewed as a whole, and as I go through these briefly
you will understand why.
The first amendment that we propose is under clause 9, the "Withdrawal of power to issue safety
certificates." We propose that the word "may" should be changed to "shall". The rationale would be
to eliminate ministerial discretion in the face of failure by a province to implement the objectives of
the bill. We believe that that strengthens the hand of the federal government considerably.
We believe that the review of provisions is again part of the overall push of these amendments.
Rather than reviewing the efficiency of the Act after two years, the minister shall begin review of the
Act after two years, and that the report on this review be tabled not only before the Council of
Ministers but also before each house of Parliament.
The rationale here is twofold. One is to provide a more timely review of the progress of the
implementation of the bill as outlined in clause 3.1. In addition, calling for the report to be tabled
before Parliament recognizes the ultimate accountability of the federal minister.
The key amendment is with respect to the coming into force. Here the amendments are underlined.
We propose that there be a phased coming into force for this legislation. The amendment is critical in
our minds for three reasons: First, it allows for a timely coming into force of cooperation in
implementing the objectives of the bill. These are sound objectives, and certainly objectives with
which we wholly agree.
Clause 3, clause 3.1 and clause 3.2 of the bill represent amendments to the Motor Vehicle Transport
Act that should be adopted and promptly enacted because of their positive impact in the short term.
They define a proactive role for the Minister of Transport in working with the provinces in support of
the objectives of the bill.
Second, our proposed amendment implicitly recognizes that the bill is based on an assumption of
conditions that do not yet exist, namely a national carrier rating system. It has always been our
contention that in the absence of such a system, changes to the existing legislation are dangerous
because we would run the risk of creating a false sense of accomplishment or closure, not only within
the federal government but also among all governments.
Third, our amendment gives the minister political flexibility in his efforts to reach a national
consensus on a rating system while, at the same time, providing him the means to exercise the
authority implied in clause 9 of the bill. It is important to provide the minister with the political
"wiggle room," if you will, to engage the provinces in a constructive fashion. We do not want to see
the minister running roughshod over years of efforts and years of system and procedures, but we do
believe that the federal government and the Minister of Transport must exercise more leadership.
We believe that this approach provides the minister with the political flexibility while holding him
accountable and giving him the tools to move these needed changes forward.
Senator Forrestall: I wish that we had had a copy of your briefing beforehand in order to follow
I do not see anything particularly wrong with these amendments. However, I cannot move them. I
would not get anywhere. I believe that will need to come from the government.However, rest assured
that your recommendations are heard. They will be voiced in our report. That is not to say that we
cannot make amendments. We can do so.
I wish to refer back to the problem that we were discussing previously, and that continues to concern
me. Why is there such great difficulty in getting Saskatchewan and Alberta to fully implement the
safety code requirements? Do you have any idea? Why is there such a discrepancy? Newfoundland
implemented 12 of them, with two significant deviations. Perhaps you can explain that to us?
Mr. Cooper: You are referring to the crash report card?
Senator Forrestall: Yes.
Mr. Cooper: I am not familiar with that document.
Senator Forrestall: I do not believe that they have licence with these numbers. If you are not
familiar with the numbers then that is fine.
Mr. Cooper: It might shed some light on your general concern over Alberta and Saskatchewan if I
repeat to you what I heard from officials of those two provinces who have been involved in
discussions on safety ratings process.As you are aware, the National Safety Code weight threshold
for trucks is 4,500 kilograms. That is in the code. Most provinces comply with that. I think British
Columbia might be slightly higher, with I believe something like 5,000 kilograms.
For many years the Alberta limit has been at 18,000 kilograms. Saskatchewan, if memory serves me
correctly, has been talking about moving, or is already moving to 11,000 kilograms. I am certainly
not here, honourable senators, to speak on behalf of those two provinces. However, I can tell you
what their officials have said.
They view the limit of 18,000 kilograms and 11,000 kilograms to be the cut-off point for what they
and their ministers might call a "truck" as opposed to a "farm vehicle", for example. We have been
told that there are significant difficulties in those two prairie provinces with respect to the inclusion
of smaller vehicles, which could be under 11,000 kilograms but would probably be caught in the
4,500 kilogram definition.
Let me add one point, if I may. Some years back, to address this very issue, the working group
developing this standard, of which I am a member, attempted to address the weight threshold to see
whether there was a number that we could come up with that would be uniform across the country.
The provinces of Ontario and Quebec did excellent work and found that the accident rates on smaller
vehicles were higher than on the larger vehicles. In their view, they could not justify a
recommendation that those trucks be taken out of the equation.
Senator Forrestall: Are these trucks with two trailers called "articulated trucks"?
Mr. Cooper: Yes, 18,000 kilograms would be a tractor-trailer unit.
Senator Forrestall: With how many axles?
Mr. Cooper: The normal tractor-trailer unit on the road would probably have up to six axles. It
varies, but the classic 18-wheeler would have six axles.
Senator Forrestall: The 32-wheelers are articulated. How safe are the trucks to drive over a period
of 14 hours per day? What do you think about the hours of driving? Are they reasonable? We have a
nervous public constituency that has expressed concern. We hear about the numbers of crashes that
involve trucks. If you drive from here to Halifax, you might see about 300 tires strewn over the
highway -- that is on just one side of the road. I am concerned about safety. Are we forcing truck
drivers to work enormous hours? Are we paying them enough money? Can they stay awake for those
Mr. Cooper: You have asked two or three questions that could take most of the evening to answer.
Were you referring to the combination vehicles when you mentioned articulated vehicles?
Senator Forrestall: Yes, I was.
Mr. Cooper: I do not have the statistics with that information with me. However, those statistics will
show that those vehicles have an exemplary safety record. Their stability -- lane-tracking
capabilities -- are as good as or better than smaller vehicles.
In respect of the hours-of-service issue, this is a complex question, although I must say that I
appreciate the concerns of the committee. Frankly, we do not have the facts and figures at our
disposal today to debate, or rebut, comments that have been made by others. I point out, however,
that there is research and then there is research -- we have research also. In fact, honourable senators,
I believe you have a copy of a paper that we provided to you some time ago. It was prepared for us by
one of Canada's leading sleep researchers, who is chair of the Research Ethics Board, at the
University of Toronto, Toronto Hospital Network. He is well reputed across the world, indeed, and
not just in Canada.
One point was raised in that research, and that was on the front page of the report that he prepared for
us as we approached the public consultation process. His words were, as I recall, "The 84-hour work
week issue is a red herring. There are ways that you can structure that to make it look like an 84-hour
work week, but in reality, it is five shifts, then 36 hours off duty, which would allow two principle
sleep periods, and then continue." If you pick a seven-day period of time in isolation, it can be called
a week, if you want. However, in light of that same schedule, our sleep researcher stated that if a
driver gets the appropriate amount of sleep on an ongoing basis -- the six or seven hours that he
needs every night -- the number of days that he works is immaterial, because cumulative fatigue is
not an issue. The long work week only becomes an issue, from a scientific perspective, when you get
into cumulative human fatigue. That same kind of work schedule is, as I understand it, similar, if not
identical, to the hours worked by airline flight crews. There are various ways of looking at this issue.
We will debate with our opponents, be they from other modes or from legitimate public safety
organizations, over the issue of hours of service and what is right and what is wrong. The fact is that
the most important remedy for driver fatigue is sleep. The proposals that are currently before the
CCMTA provide for a 25 per cent increase in daily rest time, period.
Senator Forrestall: Did you say 25 per cent?
Mr. Cooper: That is correct. In increase in rest time of from eight hours a day to 10 hours a day.
The provisions also negate a particularly harmful component of the existing rule, which the scientists
like to call "phase advance" which means a short day. In other words, jet leg. For example, if you
consider today's hours-of-service regime, it is 15 hours working and eight hours off-duty, a total of
23 hours. Theoretically, you could report to work one hour earlier every day, which is bad. These
proposals work on a 24-hour cycle -- 24 to 25 hours being the normal human body clock, thereby
putting people on the natural circadian rhythm. There are many people working and living with these
kinds of shifts. The proposals, while they are complex and may seem alarming initially, have been
very carefully thought out not just by industry, as was implied, but by governments and scientists, as
well as observers in Canada and the United States.
The CCMTA meetings are open. One could argue that perhaps they form a type of public
consultation. One could also argue that they do not provide a large enough venue or audience, or that
they do not travel enough to provide truly national consultations. The fact is that anyone who wants
to attend can do so, and can be heard. Certainly, it is not my place to speak for the Government of
Canada or the provincial governments, but I have every confidence that, notwithstanding the
comments that were made here previously, there will be public consultations over and above the
CCMTA meetings that have taken place. I believe that will happen fairly soon.
Senator Forrestall: How does the schedule of a trucker working the long haul -- to Mexico, for
example -- fit into the requirements of driving on the highways in the United States?
Mr. Cooper: When he is in the United States, he will drive under the United States' rules.
Senator Forrestall: What happens when he is in Mexico?
Mr. Cooper: Hypothetically, he would fall under Mexican rules, yes.
Senator Forrestall: Do they change their tractor at the border?
Mr. Cooper: Just for the record, you mentioned the United States. The United States proposals that
were put through are on hold until, I believe, October 2001. They were found to be very complex, and
were viewed even by the enforcement community to be largely unenforceable. They were not seen to
be the most effective type of regime. Congress asked the Department of Transportation to put them
on hold, and not proceed with the rule-making until October of this year, and use that one year period
to gather better information than they had.
Senator Forrestall: Have you put any dollar figure on your suggestion of what the federal
government must now spend, politically and monetarily?
Mr. Cooper: No, but I can tell you that there is a National Safety Code funding agreement in place,
which appears not to be enough.
Senator Finestone: How much is that?
Mr. Cooper: I believe it is $20 million over four or five years. I am not certain of that, but it is in that
order of magnitude. The share of large jurisdictions with large budgets may not be enough to
influence behaviour. For smaller jurisdictions, that may not be the case.
No, senator, I do not have a number in mind. I am not privy to the numbers, but if $4 million or $5
million a year is not enough, then it obviously must be more than that.
Senator Forrestall: While you are trying to suggest that accidents have decreased, I am from
Missouri and you will have to prove that to me.
Mr. Cooper: I am well aware that accidents happen and, as I mentioned at the outset of my remarks,
we as a trucking association and the good carriers, who are the majority, want to get those bad guys
off the road; people who do not take proper care of their tires and cause accidents.
Senator Forrestall: We are concerned about whether we are paying our truck drivers enough, and
whether they are safe. Are bus drivers safe? Are they subject to the same regimes?
Senator Callbeck: We have talked a lot about hours of work. According to this chart, truck drivers in
the United States earn quite a bit less than do drivers in Canada. Has it always been that way?
Mr. Cooper: It has been for many years. I believe that it was in the 1960s that Canada went to a
longer work shift than existed in the United States, largely in recognition of the distance between
major centres. For example, for a Toronto-Montreal return trip you need 13 to 14 hours.
Senator Callbeck: Thus the discrepancy began in the 1960s?
Mr. Bergamini: I believe it was in the 1960s.
Senator Callbeck: You represent the provincial trucking associations. Does every province have a
Mr. Cooper: Every province has one except for the Atlantic region, which has one trucking
association representing four provinces.
Senator Callbeck: Would all the associations agree with your comments on this legislation?
Mr. Cooper: Yes.
Senator Callbeck: We are really dealing here with the safety rating under the National Safety Code.
I take it that you agree with the legislation except that you would like to see more teeth in it, and you
would like to see it phased in?
Mr. Cooper: Yes, that is exactly right. We would like to see two things apart from the specific
amendments to which we referred. First, we want it to have more teeth. We want the federal minister
to have not only the authority to withdraw the ability of non-compliant provinces to issue safety
certificates, but also to have as many carrots as sticks. That brings me naturally to the issue of the
safety code standard itself and what it will take to get it done. I do not believe that there is anyone
around that table, or indeed around our board table, who does not want to see it get done. It is just a
question of how to do it, how much it will cost, whether there is the required political will at both the
federal and provincial levels, and whether we have enough time. As I said, we have already been at
this for seven years, and I would be very surprised if it were not another three years before it is
Mr. Bergamini: To summarize our views, the act contains many very positive elements. We have
identified the parts at the beginning of the bill that spell out the essence of the problem. However, we
do not believe that the legislation as currently written changes the dynamic much. We believe,
however, that our proposed amendments would inject a new dynamic into federal-provincial
relations and focus the role of the federal minister in ensuring a safe environment.
Senator Finestone: Since you believe that we are years away from a system that has an applicable
consensus, is it worth passing this bill, or is this merely a pro forma smoke screen?
Mr. Cooper: I would not put it that way, senator.
Senator Finestone: You are probably more tactful.
Mr. Cooper: One might argue that, in this case, the cart is before the horse.
Senator Finestone: Why didn't I think of saying it that way?
Mr. Cooper: However, as Mr. Bergamini has mentioned in his remarks, there are some provisions
which, if enacted now, might help the federal and indeed the provincial ministers in putting the pedal
to the metal, as it were, and getting this done.
Senator Finestone: Are you suggesting that the provisions on the last page of your presentation are
the ones that should be put into place now?
Mr. Bergamini: That is correct, senator.
Senator Finestone: You know better than I that if this does not work, you have, in the first instance,
deregulated and given the provinces the responsibility for a federal-provincial Act that is not
working. Second, it is very difficult to recuperate something of that nature. Third, the minister told us
yesterday that this is a $40 billion industry. You say that you exceed $20 billion, so you represent half
of the industry.
Mr. Cooper: That is correct.
Senator Finestone: That sounds like a lot of money and a lot of heavy machinery.
You are of the belief that we are years away from a Canadian system and that there are many things
that need to be done. You noted that of the 16 standards that were adopted, very few were respected.
Therefore, what is the point of taking standard 14 and saying that if this works, everything will work?
They would have to look at only one rating. They would ignore hours of work and national standards.
They would not have to have a reporting mechanism. There is no transparency.
Mr. Cooper: To clarify, the ratings under standard 14 are arrived at through a series of measures:
namely, collisions, convictions, accidents and the like, as well as government auditors examining
maintenance records, et cetera.Therefore, you could not get a satisfactory safety rating if you were
materially non-compliant with other standards such as hours of service. If an auditor finds that hours
of service log books are not up to date, not clear, not complete, or whatever the case may be, chances
are that the carrier will fail that particular section of the audit.
Standard 14 is a kind of composite. It brings together a motor carrier's compliance with all the other
standards: the trip inspection standard, the hours of service standard, the CBSA inspection
standards. The list is long, obviously. It has the potential, therefore, to make the entire National
Safety Code more effective.
Senator Finestone: Would that mean doing away with numbers 1 to 13?
Mr. Cooper: No.
Senator Finestone: That would be included?
Mr. Cooper: That is right.
Senator Finestone: To get to 14, you must build through 1 to 13?
Mr. Cooper: Precisely. In essence, number 14 judges you on your performance on the others.
Senator Finestone: What percentage of the $20 billion industry that we are referring to do you
represent in terms of owners versus driver renters or for-hire trucking?
Mr. Cooper: The majority of our membership is what you would think of as trucking companies.
They vary in size and, indeed, many of them are small operations.
Senator Finestone: Like I own one truck, I am a company?
Mr. Cooper: Sure. All the way up to the biggest in the country. The biggest in Canada is quite small
compared with the biggest in the United States; nonetheless it is still a fairly sizeable company with
thousands of trucks.
Senator Finestone: I was referring to the fact that of the largest percentage of the people being
represented through you here tonight, would there be some kind of differential in pressure in terms of
owners, as an economic consequence to certain parts of this bill, versus the for-hire drivers?
Mr. Cooper: Are you talking about employee drivers now?
Senator Finestone: Maybe that is the right word.
Mr. Cooper: If I understand your question, senator, you are asking me about the relative risk of the
two driver types. Is that the issue?
Senator Finestone: Yes.
Mr. Cooper: The first, and perhaps the easiest group to deal with, would be the employees. They get
a T-4 slip and will work a shift and will get paid accordingly.
Senator Finestone: What is the average wage of those employees per year?
Mr. Cooper: I heard a reference earlier that confirmed a little sidebar Mr. Bergamini and I were
having. We thought it was $40,000 to $45,000. Irwin Best put out a report from Statistics Canada,
which is a good report that I would commend to you, that dealt with the issues of the number of hours
worked and those kinds of things. It seems to me that the number is approximately $45,000.
As to the opportunity your sons had, senator, I suspect that they would have perhaps been looking at
an owner-operator opportunity. An owner-operator is nothing more than a small businessman. He
owns or leases his truck. He enjoys the benefits of profit and he suffers the consequence of loss,
obviously, as any small business person would. I can tell you that there are owner-operators who own
or lease their tractor, who will be working for large motor carriers hauling trailers to Los Angeles, let
us say, back and forth on that line, or to Texas, or to Vancouver. Many of these fellows will have their
wives with them, and many of the ladies have their husbands with them. They both will have
commercial driver's licences. The truck will be their home. I do not know if you have ever been to a
truck show, but these vehicles have many comforts. They will take their trucks on a long trip and
perhaps take a vacation once they have delivered their load. Drivers who are prepared to undertake
those kinds of trips commonly earn in excess of six figures a year.
Senator Finestone: That is what I have heard.
Let us presume that we say no to this bill, get your act together, get signed, firm commitments and put
in a proper penalty clause. What will be the impact on the industry, and would it have any impact on
the Canada-U.S.-Mexico FTA?
Mr. Cooper: The penalty clause being what?
Senator Finestone: If this bill does not go through, if you just continue to negotiate to set standards,
what are the negative implications of not putting this bill through in the way in which it is now
written, or even with your two amendments?
Mr. Cooper: The negative implication might be that, as Mr. Bergamini pointed out, clause 3, I
believe, would perhaps put a little bit more emphasis on the need for the federal minister to try to
reach consensus with his provincial partners. I would hope that the federal minister would be doing
Senator Finestone: He is busy with Air Canada. He has no time.
Mr. Cooper: This is not the first time that he has heard about a consistency problem.
Senator Finestone: The minister did say that yesterday, I believe, in his presentation. The minister
was candid and straightforward in acknowledging that there were some problems, and he seemed to
be concerned about that. He is, in a sense, reflecting what you are telling us tonight.
Mr. Cooper: With respect to the second part of your question, with respect to Canada and the U.S.,
there are, as I understand it, bilateral agreements in place between those two countries to recognize
each other's safety ratings system. Both have difficulties in terms of developing a good safety rating
system. Nonetheless, in the event that the bill were not enacted any time soon, those bilateral
agreements, I expect, would get the job done. In other words, that would not prevent Canadian
vehicles from entering the U.S., and vice versa.
Senator Callbeck: I have a question about the hours of driving. I understood you to say that Canada
and the U.S. were about the same until, in the early 1960s, this started to change, and that research
showed that humans are capable of these long hauls that we are doing in Canada. If that is the case
then why are they decreasing the hours in the United States and Europe, and why is Canada
increasing the hours? Why are Canadians, specifically, capable of making these long hauls?
Mr. Cooper: Going back to the earlier days, long before I got into this business, I believe it was
recognized that the hours-of-service rules should be reflective of the type of economy and the type of
infrastructure you are dealing with. The U.S. economy is very much a hub-and-spoke type economy.
They do not have the huge distances in the States that we must deal with here in Canada. Europe is a
whole different situation in terms of distances that need to be travelled there. However, are
Canadians superhumans compared with their American counterparts? The answer is no. Are there
political imperatives in the United States that might make hours of service there lower than they are
here? Probably. However, the landmark Canada-U.S. fatigue/alert study, which was completed at the
end of 1996, essentially showed that there was no material difference in the fatigue of Canadian
drivers and U.S. drivers operating on day shifts. In other words, a 13-hour day in Canada was not
giving performance decrements compared with Americans who were working 10 hours a day. After
all, much of this depends on what you do during your off-duty time. You could have a 10-hour shift
with 14 hours off duty, but if you spend 7 of those off-duty hours digging a ditch or partying, then you
will not be as rested as a Canadian driver who went home and went to bed because he knew he needed
As I mentioned, there are a host of scientific studies. We can provide you with the scientific
information that we have at our disposal. I shared one report with Senator Forrestall a few weeks ago
at an informal meeting. I can provide that report to this committee and it will show the other side of
the story on hours of service.
The Chairman: If you have further information, please send it to us and we will distribute it to the
members of the committee.
Mr. Bergamini: It is important not to lose sight of the fact that the proposed standard of our service
sets out to develop the basic safety framework. In other words, the objective of the committee was to
develop the best understanding of a safe hours-of-service regime. In reality, very few drivers work
these kinds of hours.The Statistics Canada survey mentioned earlier showed that very few drivers
work those kinds of hours.
The test is very simple: Are the proposals safe? Do they improve the safety environment? On both
those tests, the answer, I believe, is a resounding yes, notwithstanding what other people may say. We
are very comfortable with them, having been involved in that process.
I urge the committee not to lose sight of what is the real acid test: Do those proposals provide for a
safer environment? I believe the answer is yes.
Senator Finestone: What if you have the best constitution and the best rules in the world, but they
are not respected and there is no penalty, nor any reporting mechanism? You did not speak to the
question of a reporting mechanism. Without a reporting mechanism, there is no transparency nor
accountability. In the current environment, national standards as yet have not been applied in full
measure, so where is the accountability?
Mr. Bergamini: You are absolutely correct. This process ensures that we move forward on the issues
covered by this legislation. We need a national, harmonized safety-rating system. We need proper
enforcement and proper recording. Some people will try to bend the rules. A regime is required that
ensures that those people are caught and punished. It is that simple.
The Chairman: We have learned much this evening. If you have further information, please do not
hesitate to send it to us.
Senator Forrestall: Are you in favour of this bill?
Mr. Cooper: In principle, yes, we are in favour, provided we can get standard 14 in place on a
national basis, yes.
The committee adjourned.