Posts by Susan Green

​Service to Industry Award Honours Red Coleman

- by Susan Green

The Manitoba Trucking Association has always been able to count on the support of its members, and even in the midst of a pandemic, that rings true: Gary Coleman, President of Big Freight Systems Inc, will be the sponsor of the MTA-Red Coleman Service to Industry Award in perpetuity.

“It is so rewarding to give back to the association that has meant so much to my family over the years,” explains Coleman. “My family has been involved with and supportive of the MTA’s advocacy efforts for decades, and I am pleased that we can continue this relationship in the future. Throughout his career, my dad embodied the qualifications of the MTA’s Service to Industry Award, and it is an honour to have this award named for him.”

Seaton “Red” Coleman began his career in the trucking industry in 1948 when the Coleman family sold the family farm to purchase South East Transfer, a four-truck operation. As the years passed, the company grew into what we now know as Big Freight Systems Inc. In 1991, Gary Coleman became the president of Big Freight. In 2017, Big Freight joined Daseke Inc, the largest owner and a leading consolidator of open deck specialized transportation solutions in North America.

Gary describes his dad as someone who wanted to drive and fix trucks, and haul freight. Red worked into his seventies, driving trucks until Norma, his wife, requested that the dispatch team stop booking him out on loads. Many a shirt and tie were ruined by Red’s determination to get under a truck to fix it or do some welding. Not only was Red active behind the wheel and in the shop, he also fully supported Gary as they grew the four-truck operation into a 225-truck operation with over 300 employees.

Throughout his 50 plus year career, Red was actively involved with the Manitoba Trucking Association, including serving on the Board of Directors. Red was awarded the MTA Service to Industry Award in 1987.

To be selected for the MTA – Red Coleman Service to Industry Award, nominees must be members in good standing of the association or an official of a member company, having conducted themselves in such a manner as to have gained the esteem of their fellow members and brought credit to the trucking industry through outstanding contributions. Previous winners of this award include Louie Tolaini (TransX Group of Companies), Gary Arnold (Arnold Bros. Transport Inc.), and Paul Albrechtsen (Paul’s Hauling Ltd.)

“The Service to Industry Award is the highest recognition an individual in Manitoba’s trucking industry can receive. Recipients have not only been industry leaders throughout their careers, they have also been community leaders,” said Terry Shaw, Executive Director of the Manitoba Trucking Association.


Flooding in Southwestern Manitoba Closes Highways

- by Susan Green

Heavy rains in southwestern Manitoba have caused flooding in many areas. This has resulted in temporary highway closures, including the westbound lanes of the Trans Canada Highway, east of Brandon. A detour is in effect, via PR 457.

  • All legal commercial vehicles as well as those moving under annual overdimensional/overweight permits up to 3.7 m wide, 4.6 m high and 31 m in length are able to use the detour.
  • Long combination vehicles may also use the detour.
  • All One Move permit holders must contact Permit Services at (204) 945-3961 or toll free at 1-877-812-0009 to be rerouted. The detour is not accessible for these loads.
  • Given the recent forecast of additional precipitation, overdimensional and/or overweight loads should be delayed, when possible, from travelling through this region for the next 5 to 7 days.
  • All commercial vehicle operators should be checking Manitoba 511 prior to travelling and starting their trip.

The Minnedosa area was also heavily impacted by these rains, so anyone travelling in that area is advised to plan their route carefully and with caution.

Tags: MB flooding


Fair and Balanced Discussion of Covid-19 and Manitoba's Trucking Industry

- by Susan Green

The Manitoba Trucking Association's Executive Director Terry Shaw was recently featured on CBC Radio One's Up to Speed with guest host Marjorie Dowhos. The main topic of discussion was the number of positive cases of Covid-19 in Manitoba related to the trucking industry. As Shaw says, the positive Covid-19 numbers overall in Manitoba remain very low, drivers are isolated in their work, and they are careful - including going for testing - to ensure that they are not spreading the virus, out of an abundance of caution for their family members, friends, and communities. As well, he points out that while so many of us were able to stay home to prevent the spread of Covid-19, we were able to do so because truck drivers kept freight moving. The conversation also includes a discussion about the economic impacts of Covid-19 on Manitoba's trucking economy. You can listen to the interview here:


Funded Truck Driver Training in Manitoba

- by Susan Green

Living in a world with COVID-19 is much different from the world just a few weeks ago. However, some things haven’t changed, and the need for well-trained, professional Class 1 drivers is one. Furthermore, as we have seen in the past few weeks, not only is there still a need for drivers, but there is also a greater appreciation for what drivers do and the vital role they play in our economy.

While these numbers are based on pre-pandemic data, they are still important numbers to share: the trucking industry, especially our driving population, consists of an aging workforce with an average driver age of 55 years old. Only 15% of the trucking industry’s workforce is under 30 years of age. In 2019, the province estimated a shortage of 4100 drivers in Manitoba by 2025. In short, there’s a real need for drivers, and there will continue to be one for years to come.

What resources are available for those interested?

In Manitoba, there are two training options available: MELT (Mandatory Entry Level Training, a 121.5 hour program) or the Driver Training Funding program, a 244 hour pre-employment program with tuition costs covered for eligible applicants.

How Do I Become an Eligible Applicant?

Individuals who receive a conditional offer of employment from a trucking company and a letter of acceptance from an accredited Class 1 truck driver training school (contact the MTA for a current list of schools) may be eligible to receive up to 100% tuition funding for their truck driver training. Other financial supports will be negotiated on a case-by-case basis depending on individual need, but may include living allowances and other incidental costs.

What Does Training Look Like These Days?

The driver training schools in this program take the health and safety of their students and instructors seriously. Some temporary accommodations have been made in order to reduce the instructor:student ratio to 1:1, eliminating observation time in order to improve physical distancing capabilities. As Class 1 driver training schools are not considered to be open to the public, the two-metre physical distancing requirement does not apply; however, schools have been advised to consider implement safety protocols, such as cohorting students, regularly cleaning common touch areas with alcohol-based wipes, encouraging the wearing of non-medical masks while inside the training vehicle, and of course, washing hands frequently using proper hand-washing techniques.

How Do I Get Started?

As so many offices are currently closed or have modified schedules due to the COVID-19 pandemic, call ahead to book appointments for any meetings, whether in-person, via conference call, or by phone. The first place to call is Industry, Training & Employment Services - 204-945-0575 (in Winnipeg) or 1-866-332-5077 (toll free) in order to get your application started.

If you have any questions about this program, please contact Danielle at the MTA office, either by phone (204-632-6600) or email (


FMCSA Emergency Declaration Extension and Modification

- by Susan Green

Please be advised that on June 8, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued an extension and changes to its emergency declaration 2020-002 that was issued on March 18. Industry members will recall that this declaration was issued to ensure the prioritization of freight related to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The extension and the changes it includes go into effect at 12:00 am Eastern Time on June 15, 2020 and remain in effect until 11:59 pm Eastern Time on July 14, 2020 or until the national emergency declared by the U.S. President is revoked.

Some of the provisions of the March 18 declaration have been changed. The shipment of several items is no longer covered under the extension. Members, please watch your upcoming member notice for further details.



MTA Welcomes Permanent Hwy 75 Detour

- by Susan Green

The Manitoba Trucking Association is encouraged by the Province of Manitoba’s recent commitment to building a permanent detour for Highway 75 flooding. The announcement was made earlier this week as part of the Province of Manitoba’s previously announced damage prevention and climate resiliency measures program.

“We appreciate that this is a fiscally responsible option being exercised during these challenging times. This detour will be built to RTAC standards, which means that our industry members should no longer have to run reduced weights on that lane during flooding events”, explained Terry Shaw, Executive Director of the Manitoba Trucking Association.

The province has committed to key upgrades in southern Manitoba to provide commercial traffic an alternate route when Provincial Trunk Highway (PTH) 75 is affected by high water. The province will invest $16 million to convert Provincial Road (PR) 246 from gravel to asphalt from PTH 23 near Morris to PR 205 near Aubigny, which will allow traffic to be rerouted around sections of PTH 75 that are most prone to closure.

Concluded Shaw, “Not only is this new, permanent detour going to mean we can run regular weights during Red River flooding events, it also means that this road will be able to sustain the wear and tear of increased traffic during these events. We appreciate that we were able to contribute to this discussion with the Province of Manitoba.”


Summer Safe Driving Tips

- by Susan Green

As we approach summer and the easing of COVID-19 restrictions continues, we would like to share a few safety-related items for your consideration:

  • with the warm weather comes an increase in holiday travellers. This is going to look very different this year as holiday travel outside the country and even outside the province may be discouraged. However, anticipate an uptick in the number of people heading to cottages and campgrounds, as well as getting out for day trips. Please pass with caution, and be aware and considerate when being passed.
  • schools in Manitoba are re-opening June 1. While school isn’t the same as it was a few months ago, open schools and playgrounds means school zone traffic regulations are back in effect. As well, an irregular school schedule means drivers need to be extra vigilant for children, who aren't always traffic-aware, playing outdoors every day.
  • summer construction season is underway, so make sure you are slowing down in construction zones per the posted speed limit.
  • as always, slow down and move over when passing emergency vehicles (slow down to 40 km/h on roads where the speed limit is less than 80 km/h, and slow down to 60 km/h if the speed limit is 80 km/h or more. On multi-lane highways, drivers must also move to the next lane if able to do so safely and pass only if it is safe).
  • Spring Road Restrictions have ended or will be ending soon, as members were advised in last week’s member notice.

Drive safely, and take care!