Montreal, May 1, 2020 — The federal government has decided to lift the hours of service exemption in road transportation effective Thursday, April 30, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. The Teamsters have been pressing Ottawa for this decision for the past few weeks, holding several conference calls on the issue.
As a reminder, truck drivers can work up to 70 hours per week in normal circumstances. They must stop after 13 hours of driving time or 14 hours of on-duty and driving time. With the exemptions put in place at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, some carriers could ask drivers to work for longer periods.
This obviously raised health and safety concerns for all road users.
From now on, carriers must apply for a permit to request exemptions from hours of service regulations. The government has ruled that the practice of extending hours of service must stop, except in very specific cases, such as the transportation of medical equipment.
“The federal government agrees with us: extending drivers’ hours of service is no longer called for in most cases,” says Teamsters Canada President François Laporte. “It is now up to the provinces to follow Transport Canada’s lead.”
In the past seven weeks, Brothers Phil Benson, Christopher Monette and Rick Eichel (Teamsters Canada), John McCann (Local 879), Léo Laliberté (Local Union 106) and Mike Hennessy (Local 31) of the Teamsters Union have met remotely with Transport Canada and Minister Marc Garneau’s staffers to advise them on this matter. The Teamsters represent tens of thousands of workers in the transport industry and have developed an unparalleled expertise in this sector over the past 100 years.
“We will continue to monitor the situation in the road transportation industry very closely,” concluded the union leader. “There are other issues that also have to be addressed and resolved in the coming months and we will remain very active in Ottawa and with all stakeholders in the industry.”
The capacity of trucking companies to transport goods has not been reduced during the crisis. We understand the need for the exemptions granted by the government, but it is time to get back to normal. In addition, several truckers have been laid off in recent weeks and are available to return to work.
The Teamsters Union represents the interests of 125,000 members in Canada. They are affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which has 1.4 million members in North America.