Scathing report reveals troubling state of Canada’s trucking industry

The Ministry of Transportation is proposing overpass crash penalties of up to $100,000, as well as up to 18 months of jail time. 35 overpass crashes have been reported in B.C. since 2021. Cecilia Hua reports.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada has released a comprehensive report detailing alarming deficiencies within the nation’s commercial trucking sector.

Key findings of the report include widespread issues around lax regulation enforcement, inconsistent training standards, and a glaring absence of Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) across many provinces.

Currently, MELT instruction is not offered in Quebec and certain Atlantic provinces.

The report also underscores the urgent need for enhanced oversight and standardized training practices. Inexperienced drivers are identified as a significant contributing factor to increased accident rates, further exacerbated by the lack of mandatory training protocols.

“There’s not a lot of information that comes as a surprise to the industry,” said Dave Earle, president of the BC Trucking Association. “The trends identified in the report are trends we’ve seen for quite some now.”

Addressing concerns specific to B.C., recent measures have been implemented to mitigate risks. Just last week, heavy trucks were mandated to have speed limiters, capping speeds at 105 kilometers per hour. Additionally, starting in August, drivers will be required to use electronic logging devices to monitor their time behind the wheel, thereby reducing fatigue-related driving hazards.

Despite these efforts, B.C.’s commercial trucking sector remains under intense public scrutiny. With nearly three dozen reported overpass strikes in the past two years alone, the province has incurred substantial financial losses.

While Earle acknowledges the progress the industry is making in addressing its challenges, he emphasizes the shared responsibility of both industry and customers.

“What I mean by that, is customers have to understand that the movement of goods safely is the number one priority, not saving $100 on a load,” he told CityNews.

“It is not reasonable for a customer looking to move a shipment from Richmond to Edmonton to demand it’s done in a day. That’s not possible. You cannot do that, unless you’re cheating on your hours and speeding. A lot of operators have been put in that corner. That has to stop”

Earle stresses the importance of companies engaging in dialogue with their customers to ensure alignment with legal requirements and safe practices.

Despite these challenges, Earle remains hopeful for the industry’s future, citing recent regulatory amendments as positive steps toward reform.

“Various governments and various jurisdictions have taken concrete steps to get ahead of this, but these measures are going to take some time to really come to fruition.”

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