Posts by Don Stewart
- by Don Stewart
As most members are aware the federal government has imposed a carbon tax on inter-provincial carriers operating into, out of, and through – Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and New Brunswick (and in the Yukon and Nunavut as of July 1, 2019). Below and attached are resources to help carriers.
List of resources from CRA to assist carriers with this policy.
- CRA’s PowerPoint presentation on the carbon tax and registration system: RoadCarriers_PP_public
- CRA memo on carbon tax: Road Carrier_SDM_public
- General information page – https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/campaigns/...
- Information on where you can find forms and other documents – https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/t...
- Email: If you send questions to this email, the CRA will respond with answers (Note: due to volume it may take a few days for a response) —FuelCharge@cra-arc.gc.ca
- Atlantic Region Excise Duties and Taxes Post Office Box 638 Halifax NSB3J 2T5 Phone: 1-888-327-7999 Fax: 1-902-450-8559
- Ontario Region Excise Duties and Taxes 5800 Hurontario St Mississauga ONL5R 4B4 Phone: 1-866-667-9851 Fax: 1-905-615-2814
- Quebec Region Excise Duties and Taxes Section 492 Post Office Box 32305 René-Lévesque Blvd W Montreal QCH2Z 1A6 Phone: 1-833-240-2476
- Prairie Region Excise Duties and Taxes Room 232220 4th Avenue SE Calgary ABT2G 0L1Phone: 1-866-439-4202 Fax 1-403-292-4075
- Pacific Region Excise Duties and Taxes c/o 468 Terminal Ave 3rd floor 9755 King George Blvd Surrey BCV3T 5E1 Phone: 1-833-532-9908 Fax:1-604-658-8660
If you have any further questions about the new Carbon Tax, Please contact:
- by Don Stewart
Please be advised that the Manitoba Trucking Association office will be closed on Friday April 5th, as we are hosting our 87th Annual AGM.
We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause and we will re open on Monday April 8th at 08:30am.
- by Don Stewart
The Top Fleet Employers program is open to fleets of every size and type. A panel of trucking and logistics industry experts and a Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) validated the Top Fleet Employer Program’s rating criteria. The rating criteria reflect Canadian human resources issues, trends and working environments, and Trucking HR Canada’s standards of excellence.
The criteria consider every position in a fleet. They also take into account special considerations affecting different types of fleets. For example, the criteria applied to for-hire fleets are firmly rooted in the core values of the Canadian Trucking Alliance’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on the Driver Shortage. The criteria and evaluation of private fleets and fleet services account for their unique working environments and requirements within the overarching criteria of the program.
Fleet employers apply and participate in a rigorous three-part review of their human resources policies and programs. The review includes the completion of a pre-application, a comprehensive online submission (which may or may not include follow up discussions with the company) and a Trucking HR Canada survey of the company’s employees. The review assesses the scope of an employer’s formal HR policies and programs in four key categories: Basics, Respect, Training and Family.
Congratulations to our members who have been recognised as Top Fleet Employers in 2018, what an incredible honor.
Fleets Of Distinction
SLH Transport Canada
Arnold Bros. Transport
Q-Line Trucking Ltd.
Trailer Wizards Ltd.
Payne Transportation Ltd.
New This Year:
Fast Lane Freight Services
- by Don Stewart
The Provinces Spring Road Restrictions Program (SRR) is upon us, with the start date scheduled for March 15, 2019.
The purpose of Spring Road Restrictions is to protect Manitoba's surfaced pavements from undue damage by reducing allowable axle weights during the spring thawing season. In consultation with those affected by these weight reductions, Manitoba Infrastructure periodically revises its policies and procedures to reflect the current transportation trends, industry needs and weather patterns. Up to date policies and procedures help industry improve trip planning while minimizing the impact of loads to the weak pavement structures when they are at their most vulnerable conditions.
The SRR official start and end dates have been published and available below:
The Province Issues Notification Of Affected Highways
Spring road restrictions are determined through collection and analysis of data from the previous year, resulting in the evaluation and determination of which roads will be subject to restriction in the upcoming spring season. To assist motor carriers, farmers, businesses and other interested parties in preparation, the SRR order is what identifies the affected roadways, This order is made available on the MI website in the fall with subsequent update(s) as required. Advertisements announcing that the upcoming spring road restrictions order is available throughout the year, and information on how to obtain the Order, are published in the fall and in February in various publications.
If you're unaware of the Spring Road Restrictions Order, please use the link below:
You can also access the SRR Order via:
- contacting Permit Services at (204) 945-3961, or toll free at 1-877-812-0009
- contacting local Manitoba Infrastructure Offices and Weigh Stations (PDF)
To print complete map of SRR:
If you require any further information, please contact:
- by Don Stewart
When Should "Jake Brakes" Be Used?
Use of Engine Retarder Brakes:
Engine retarder brakes are used in many heavy trucks as a supplement to the vehicles service brakes. The principle behind the engine retarder brake is that it changes the action of the exhaust valves, turning the engine into an air compressor. Engine brakes use the characteristics of the diesel engine to produce a significant amount of drag through the vehicles drive train to the wheels. This allows the service brakes to stay cool and ready for emergencies. Retarders serve to slow the vehicles, or maintain a steady speed while traveling down a hill, and help prevent the vehicle from "running away" by accelerating down the hill.
Engine retarder brakes provide increased driving safety in difficult weather and road conditions, including ice, snow and wet or gravel road surfaces and especially when travelling downhill.
Engine retarder brakes can help provide:
Faster, steadier, more efficient braking performance.
Reduced wear on engine, tires, and service brakes.
Less vehicle downtime.
Enhanced driver confidence.
When Shouldn't "Jake Brakes" Be Used?
Actions restricting the use of engine retarder brakes will have legal and safety implications since truck drivers often rely on engine brakes in controlling their vehicles under various situations.
In 1998, the City of Winnipeg enacted a by-law which prohibits the use of engine retarder brakes (Jake brakes) within the city boundaries.
A person must not
(a) except in any emergency, engage, operate, apply or otherwise use an engine retarder brake in any vehicle driven within the City of Winnipeg;
Additionally, the City of Winnipeg has posted signs at the outskirts of the city to advise drivers of this by-law.
Unfortunately some drivers choose to ignore the by-law and signs, and continue to use their engine retarder brakes within the city limits. As members can appreciate, the resulting noise can be a great annoyance to residents in the close proximity.
We must do our best to respect the rights of our city residents and to this end the MTA is requesting that members remind their drivers of this by-law and also to advise them not to use this braking system within the City of Winnipeg boundaries.
Your cooperation and assistance in addressing this issue, is greatly appreciated.
If you would like more information about Engine Retarder Brakes, please contact:
- by Don Stewart
The Canadian Trucking Alliance produced a multimedia toolkit to assist industry, governments as well as injury prevention stakeholders in promoting truck driver safety at workplaces and shipping facilities.
The media toolkit features ‘whiteboard’ animation videos and digital infographics in English and French, which provide facility operators helpful tips on improving safety and reducing injury risk to flatbed truck drivers in particular.
Through the whiteboard video and infographics, CTA illustrates ‘best’ and ‘poor’ practices at workplaces facilities and reminds site operators of their responsibilities to ensure safety on their premises.
While the media material focuses mostly on flatbed drivers, many of these types of issues are relevant in other sectors. For example, grain haulers are often forced to clean residual grain from their vehicles in unsafe environments as well.
“CTA encourages carriers to share this information with their customers to promote best practices when loading and unloading flatbed trucks,” said Stephen Laskowski, president, CTA. “For our part, the Alliance requests ESDC works with CTA to encourage shippers and receivers to create safer workplaces and to work with provincial authorities to enforce the law against those who create dangerous conditions for drivers of flatbed trucks as well as other configurations requiring drivers to work in situations covered by fall protection regulations.”
To view the video, Keeping Flatbed Truck Drivers Safe, click here:
- by Don Stewart
It’s never too late to rediscover healthy eating habits especially healthy eating for truck drivers. Here are eight tips to help promote better nutrition and healthier eating for truck drivers.
Sure, it’s easy to swing by a truck stop and grab a few cheese-smothered chili dogs or a double cheese burger, but that offers no nutritional benefits to healthy eating for truck drivers. The goal should be to create healthy habits that manifest into a healthy lifestyle change. These habits should be deeper than just what you eat, but also when you eat, what food is doing to your system and how you should shop for your food.
1. How Often Should I Eat?
Before we talk about shopping and cooking we should talk about something extremely important: eating. Our society and the trucking culture has been organized around the idea, that people should only eat three squares a day. For healthy eating for truck drivers, this is not necessarily the best choice.
While this might be more efficient in terms of consuming maximum calories in minimum time and getting back on the road, it is not always the best plan for your health nor the best plan for driving at your optimum and full potential. Instead, aim for around five smaller meals each day. This might seem odd and foreign at first, but studies have shown that smaller meals throughout the day will help your body metabolize food more efficiently.
2. How Our Body Processes Food
Your body is designed to absorb calories, use them for energy and then burn them off. In order for your body to make use of the food, what you eat has to be broken down into a form of sugar called glucose. This is a natural process and for most, the human body does this quite well. You have probably heard people talking about their “blood sugar level”, and what they are referring to is the amount of glucose in their blood.
3. Why Should I Care About My Blood Sugar Levels?
Your body has a normal range for the amount of glucose and blood sugar (between 4.0 and 11.0) and it has a beautiful system for managing that level. Hormones like insulin keep your blood sugar from getting too high and becoming toxic, and another key compound, glucagon keeps your sugar from getting too low and causing your system to shut down. It is something like a highway with really good guard rails that keep a truck from running off the road.
It is possible to overwhelm this excellent system and cause it to crash and fail. Actually, many people are overwhelming it every day. Remaining on that course of poor eating habits and very little exercise, it will likely lead to diabetes later in life. As a society, we are seeing diabetes diagnosis on the rise and we need to take action for ourselves.
So why does this make eating only three times per day (or fewer) a bad idea?
You can end up constantly overwhelming or crashing the system with extreme blood sugar highs and lows. If you wait to eat until you are extremely hungry and have very low blood sugar, your body will send the signal that you are starving, and when you do eat it is often much easier to overeat unhealthy and convenient food. Healthy eating for truck drivers requires you to eat when you’re hungry and avoid a severe dip in blood sugar. Thus the importance of planning your meals and working towards a disciplined routine.
4. How Much Should I Be Eating?
Some people’s beliefs are to simply eat drastically less overall and there is a grain of truth to this. While dramatically reducing your caloric intake does cause the body to burn stored fat to stay alive, it can signal your body to store everything you do eat, which results in rebound weight gain when you do return to a more normal diet. Starving yourself is not the answer! It's simple math, try and not introduce more calories to your body than you're burning in a day. Typically, 2,000–2,573 daily calories are suggested; however, consulting a healthcare professional is the best way to understand what an appropriate daily caloric intake means for your individual health needs.
Thankfully there is a much safer and proven method. Simply, eat a reasonable amount of food more often in the day. Eating five or six smaller and healthier meals per day is like steering down the middle of your lane instead of bouncing your truck off the guard rails all day. This practice will help you feel more content and stop your body from deciding to store fat for hibernation. Of course, if you eat more often and end up eating more food overall you will still have trouble being healthy. The objective is to eat an appropriate amount of food, in a more sustainable way.
For a look at recommended serving sizes, check WebMD’s interactive and downloadable portion size plate
5. What Are the Benefits to Eating More Often?
There is also an enormous safety benefit to eating more often and avoiding the blood sugar spikes: You are less likely to feel drowsy or sluggish at the wheel. Most people have experienced the after dinner slump that makes it all but impossible to keep your eyes open after a big meal. That might be fine after Christmas dinner when you are lounging on the couch at home, but at work, behind the wheel of an 80,000 pound-plus rig, it can end poorly.
6. How Do I Plan My Meals?
You might be wondering: How on earth is it possible to eat five or more meals per day? Who has the time to stop for food that often? There is a way to make your meals much simpler, more healthy, easier to sustain over the long term, and much less expensive! The key is to learn to shop for your own food and cook for yourself on the road!
If you have access to an in-truck refrigerator, stock food and snacks that are healthy for you. Avoid candy bars and chips. Instead, focus on foods that will keep you fuller longer, like string cheese, pretzels, popcorn, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Additionally, look for smart choices when eating at fast food restaurants. Many restaurants now offer baked options, low-fat or low-sodium alternatives, and fresh fruits and salads. Menus often have these options marked for easy identification.
7. Eat What You Want In Moderation
Anyone who has dealt with eating healthier has heard the term portion control. Controlling what, how much, how often you eat and making sensible, sustainable choices is the path to solving many of the health risks of the trucking lifestyle. To eat healthier you don’t have to give up all of your favorite foods and consume a spinach and carrot based diet like a rabbit. Instead of going to the extreme, eating a balanced diet will keep you “between the lines” and on the road to better health. Extremes are by nature quite unsustainable and will not help you.
8. If You Have To Eat At a Restaurant
When eating at a restaurant, especially at buffets, in can be easy, and even tempting, to overeat. But in the long run, the negative effects of overeating will cost more money than you’ll ever save by overeating to “get your money’s worth.” When eating prepackaged food or at a restaurant, eat slowly and only until you are full, and focus on choosing healthier items. Do the same at buffets, and also try using smaller salad plates to ensure proper portion sizes.
Eat more: Salad, non-cream-based-soups, baked or lean meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat salad dressings, and dessert alternatives (like Jell-O, pudding, and fresh fruit)
Eat less: Mayonnaise-based salads, full-fat salad dressings (like regular ranch dressing), fried foods, foods with gravies or cream sauces, and sugary desserts.
The above are suggestions to help you change your eating habits and become a healthier person and as a healthier person, it stands to reason you become a better truck driver. Changing any habit isn't an easy task, however implementing one little positive change a day, will lead to remarkable results!
If you need any further information, please contact us at:
- by Don Stewart
Driving a tractor trailer in serious Canadian winter conditions, demands a specific set of skills for all drivers, especially big rig drivers. Too many drivers on the highways do not alter their driving habits, when driving in poor weather conditions. Good maneuvering and skid control skills are essential in poor weather.
Knowledge and implementation of proper, preventative safety skills for driving in poor conditions, can truly separate the seasoned driver vs a driver who is just starting their career. They have the knowledge and experience for making good decisions and are cognisant when conditions are not safe, and when it’s time to ‘get off the road’.
Driving in bad weather, especially in snow and on ice, is risky due to more ‘stop time’ required, poor visibility, poor traction and the increased unpredictability of other drivers on the road. The job of a truck driver becomes increasingly challenging, especially when handling a tractor trailer and a full load in foul winter weather.
Safe Winter Truck Driving Safety Tips
·Slow down – Accidents during suspect conditions are mostly due to excessive speed. Driving at the speed limit may be legal, but is often too fast for snow covered or icy road conditions in our Country. Take as much time as necessary. DO NOT HURRY! Speed is dangerous. This rule should ALWAYS be at the top of any winter trucking safety tips list.
·Keep a safe following distance – Leave plenty of room between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of your truck, and beside your truck, when possible (approx. 1/4mile).
·Don’t travel as part of a pack – Traffic seems to move in ‘packs’ on the highway. Find a safe way to get away from the pack and travel alone, with the goal being to maximize the distance around your vehicle.
·Don’t follow the tail lights of the vehicle ahead – When the snow is so heavy, visibility is low, seeing the tail lights of the vehicle ahead…means following too closely.
·Keep a safe driving distance back at all times, especially in bad weather. If the leader makes an error, you will too. Trucks can leave the road, and yours could follow the lead truck off the road.
·Use good, solid judgment — If the weather is so severe that you need to get off the road….. do it. Find a place to get off the road safely and wait until conditions are safer for travel.
·Don’t stop on the shoulder of the road –– Especially in low visibility situations, when driving in winter, especially ‘blinding snow’, other vehicles can mistake your position for being on the road and as a result, may slam into the back of your rig.
·Don’t try to be a hero –– When the road conditions are severe, you need to recognize that it’s very dangerous to be out there. Hours of service rules, dispatchers etc., are extra pressures when it a difficult, dangerous position. Don’t feel that you’re letting anyone down by not meeting a scheduled appointment.
·Braking – Some drivers like to use the jake brakes in less than perfect weather conditions. Some don’t. DO NOT ENGAGE THE JAKE BRAKE ON ICY ROADS. Try to avoid overusing your foot brake, unless the entire unit is absolutely ‘straight’ on the road. Don’t over brake when the entire unit isn’t straight… the trailer can slide and spin you out of your position…..the truck slows down, and the trailer does not. This is especially true, when the trailer is empty.
·Ensure ‘all systems’ are a go — Be absolutely certain during your circle checks before you leave, that the defroster and heater are working properly. Wipers, wiper motor, lights, esp. brake and tail lights, washer fluid is topped up, drain moisture from the air tanks, all brakes are set up and windows and mirrors are completely clean before departure.
·Keep fuel tanks topped up, for extra weight over the drive tires, to aid with traction. Good quality lug tires, with the proper tire pressure, are essential for good traction for the best safe winter driving.
·Keep tractor and trailer lights clean — When you’re able to stop in a safe place, clear the lights off of snow and ice, which builds up in foul weather….they are vital, more than ever when visibility is poor. LED lights especially accumulate snow and crud. Keep everything clean, so you can BE SEEN!
If you have any safety tips to share or would like to hear more about Winter Driving.
Please contact: 204 632-6600
- by Don Stewart
The Legal, social and political landscape of Canada has now changed dramatically, as Cannabis is now legal for purchase. The latest data suggest that one in every ten Canadians were cannabis users in the past year, meaning few workplaces across the country will NOT be affected.
With employers still grappling with the complexity or uncertainty of managing existing addictions in the workplace as it pertains to alcohol and other drugs, the legalization of pot will add another layer to not only manage, but to worry about.
Responsibility Of Employers
Employers must update their respective policies and procedures to include the prohibition of cannabis usage in the workplace. For example, employment contracts and company policies typically prohibit substance abuse at work. That must now include cannabis.
According to occupational health and safety legislation across Canada, employers are statutorily required to ensure the safety of their employees in the workplace. Because of this, employers must be prepared to devote time and money to train their employees on cannabis consumption in the workplace, and inform them of changes to the terms of their employment in this realm. Additionally, employers must be prepared to extend training to their managerial and supervisory staff to teach them how to address issues of cannabis impairment at work, how to spot such impairment and the appropriate steps that need to be taken in response to concerns being raised.
Lastly, mandatory content in employment policies, requires provisions for disability-based accommodation when an employee brings to the attention of an employer that they require support due to an addiction or medical necessity. Drug and alcohol addictions are typically considered disabilities under human-rights legislation and as such are protected from discriminatory actions by employers and co-workers. Therefore, an addiction to cannabis will likely be considered a disability. Employers need to amend their employment policies to include cannabis, and must be prepared to accommodate an employee or put themselves at risk of being sued.
Impairment And Testing
The issue of testing, and how impairment from cannabis is determined, remains problematic. It is not the same as testing the impairment from other drugs or alcohol. While there are tests to assess the level of THC (the chemical component causing the high) in an individual’s body, an assessment of the exact level of impairment is not definitive.
According to human-rights law, employee drug and alcohol testing may only be permitted when the employees are operating in safety-sensitive employment settings and when a series of additional requirements placed on employers who conduct this testing have been met.
Policies And Procedures
It is important to note that a standard element of employment policies, spanning diversified employment settings, is that employees cannot be impaired while at work and performing the duties of their employment.
Across Canada, law enforcement is also grappling with the issue of testing but the techniques being made available to police officers are unlikely to be permitted in the workplace. Therefore, employers will need to develop their own techniques to assess impairment of their employees.
It is also advisable that the focus be shifted from testing of impairment levels to an assessment of employee conduct. Employers need to familiarize themselves, and their staff, with signs of behaviour in the workplace caused by cannabis use. However, this raises a host of issues regarding who is authorized and qualified to be making these assessments on a daily basis.
Employers will also need to set policies that recognize medicinal cannabis use, including CBD oil (used to treat chronic pain), to ensure that they do not discriminate against employees who benefit from these treatments.
Over the next few months, it is important that employers include cannabis use in their workplace policies as well as procedures for assessing employees. One thing that employers can be sure of is that failing to appreciate the changes the Cannabis Act brings to the workplace will lead to greater human resource management issues and potential lawsuits.
Please note the above is for information purposes only.
If you need more information about Cannabis in the work place, please contact the MTA.
- by Don Stewart
In a recent announcement the Provincial Government has confirmed it is not moving ahead with the proposed $25 per tonne carbon tax. When Premier Brian Pallister was asked about the reversal he stated it was because Manitoba did not receive assurance from the Federal Government that it wouldn’t implement the federal backstop that would eventually bring the rate up to $50/tonne.
The MTA and It's members applaud and Provincial Government’s decision to scrap the Carbon Tax instead focusing on non-tax GHG reduction programming.
While the province won’t be implementing a carbon tax, it will still proceed with its Climate and Green Plan which outlines options to reduce carbon emissions. One of the options under consideration being the MTA’s trucking efficiency plan "The GrEEEner Trucking Fuel Efficiency Initiative”.
With the provincial carbon tax being rescinded members do need to be aware that federal carbon pricing is on the way instead. The federal government has clearly stated it will begin collecting a $20/tonne fee in January 2019 in any province that doesn’t have its own carbon tax structure in place. That fee will increase by $10 per year until it reaches $50/tonne. Outside of the obvious cost challenges, Ottawa has not been as clear on what it intends to do with the carbon tax revenue. While revenue will be returned to the province where it’s collected, it’s unknown at this time whether that will be through a direct payment to individuals, by flowing the money through the provincial government, or another option.
It is clear to the MTA that the Federal Government has, so far, decided to dig in on their support of an annually increasing carbon pricing system. Because of this, work continues to focus on the Provincial Government. The reception the MTA’s GrEEEner plan has received has been universally positive. Members can trust that MTA staff are diligently working to make this program a reality.
Trucking fuel efficiency is not only positive for our industry but those we serve. It also has the added bonus of GHG reductions within our sector. It is believed that work on this project will ultimately be successful, meaning our industry members can offset the cost increases of the federal carbon pricing program by participating in what we know will be a positive provincial initiative.
Members wanting more information on this issue or the GrEEEner Trucking Fuel Efficiency Initiative are encouraged to contact the MTA.