Posts by Susan Green

Health Issues in Industry are Top Priority

- by Susan Green

Two of the most concerning items in Manitoba's trucking industry right now are health related. First, we continue to hear from drivers who are being denied access to medical services, such as dentists, doctors, chiropractic services, and more. This is unacceptable: drivers and the trucking industry have literally been the backbone of the economy over the last several months. When no one else could go out, the trucking industry did, making sure the supplies needed made it where they had to go. Those same offices denying access to drivers today were supplied with PPE from those drivers yesterday. Our drivers are essential service workers. Now, more than ever, we need to ensure those in our industry are physically healthy; to deny medical service to drivers is unacceptable. We are working to address this in a few ways, and while we are pleased to report that the reception to our complaints has generally been welcoming and pro-active, we are still hearing from drivers. We would encourage you to have any driver - MTA member or not - who has been denied access to medical services in Manitoba to contact the MTA with the name, date, and type of medical service denied so we can follow-up on this pressing concern.

The other health concern is mental health. MTA staff are in regular contact with members and non-members alike, and the reality is that people are struggling. Stress levels are high for many reasons, and we don’t always know or appreciate what those reasons are. We know it’s been said in the past, but we really need to be kind to one another because we don’t know what others are going through these days. Everyone’s experiences these days are different. No one is suggesting you need to take on more than you can handle; self-care is also important. Maybe you let someone in traffic, or shovel your neighbour’s walk, buy someone a coffee, or just reach out via text or phone call to see how someone is doing. Your efforts will be appreciated. Let's take care of each other as we work through this.


UPDATED: Winter Weights Starting in Manitoba

- by Susan Green

UPDATE: 2020-2021 Winter Seasonal Weights (WSW) will be allowed starting on Monday, November 23 in Climate Zone 1B (Swan River area).

Please be advised that 2020-2021 Winter Seasonal Weights (WSW) will be allowed starting today, Wednesday, November 18 in Climate Zone 3 (Thompson area) and on Friday, November 20 in Climate Zone 2 (The Pas area). If an earlier start date will be possible for zones 1A and 1B, a new order will be released for an earlier start date in any of these zones. Otherwise, it is anticipated that WSW will go into effect on December 21 in Zone 1A and November 23 (updated) for Zone 1B.


MTA Elects New Board of Directors at 88th AGM

- by Susan Green

The Manitoba Trucking Association (MTA) held its 88th Annual General Meeting today, postponed from April 3. In a first for the association, this year’s meeting was hosted in a hybrid format, meaning some attendees were present in-person and others attended online.

This year’s President’s Report focused on highlights from 2019, including growth of the RPM trucking industry safety program, report from the Office of the Auditor General, and advocacy wins for the association including MELT (Mandatory Entry Level Training) and the Efficient Trucking Program.

The new MTA Board of Director’s was also nominated today. Members of the 2020-2021 MTA Board of Directors include:
  • Bernie Driedger* - Portage Transport Inc.
  • Ed Dillon* - Kleysen Group Ltd.
  • Jasvir Singh Brar - 4Tracks Ltd.
  • John Curcio - Manitoulin Transport
  • Bruce Danylchuk - E.B.D. Enterprises Inc.
  • Jeannie Arnold - Arnold Bros. Transport
  • Jason Dubois* - Len Dubois Trucking Ltd.
  • Gilles Durand- Du-Vall Transport (Bulk Milk)
  • Darrin Fiske - Kleysen Group Ltd.
  • Scott Kinley - Gladstone Transfer Ltd.
  • Derek Lachaine - TransX Group of Companies
  • Darren Lane - Fast Lane Freight Services Inc.
  • Real Tetrault - Tetrault Transport (Bulk Milk)
  • Jim Devlin - Bridgestone Canada Inc. (ATD)
  • Jeff Odway* - Prairie International Container & Dray Services Inc.
  • PJ Singh - 4Tracks Ltd.
  • Dave Tyrchniewicz - Turk Enterprises Ltd
  • Pauline Wiebe-Peters* - Payne Transportation Ltd.
  • Steve Zokvic - Bison Transport Inc.
  • Rob Penner - Bison Transport Inc.
  • Connie Sigurdson - Harris Transport Ltd.
  • Peter McDonald - TransX Group of Companies
  • Thomas McKee - Payne Transportation Ltd.
  • Ryan Mitchell - Wildwood Transport Inc.
  • Brent Arnold* - Arnold Bros. Transport
  • Howard Hildebrand - Searcy Trucking Ltd.
  • Salil Prabhakar - Razir Transport Services Ltd.
  • Scott Kinsman - Maxim Truck & Trailer

* denotes member of the MTA Executive Committee

Past presidents of the MTA include John Erik Albrechtsen* (Paul's Hauling), Gary Arnold (Arnold Bros. Transport), Greg Arndt (Jade Transport), Norm Blagden (Searcy Trucking), Tom Payne Jr (Payne Transportation), Jim Trann (RS Express), Al Lepp (Redline Transport), Allan Penner (Penner International), Gil Tetrault (Tetrault Transport), and Milt Penner (Penner International). Honourary life directors of the MTA include George Engel and Gerald Reimer.

“I am very excited for the opportunities our association has in the upcoming years,” said Bernie Driedger, incoming MTA President and President of Portage Transport Inc. “We have laid a very strong foundation for the future, and topics such as ELDs, truck electrification, and red tape reduction will all be priorities for the MTA, as well as continuing to address weaknesses raised by COVID-19.”

The Manitoba Trucking Association would like to thank outgoing president John Erik Albrechtsen of Paul’s Hauling Ltd for his tireless efforts over the past two years, and looks forward to his continued contributions on the MTA Executive as Past President.


CTA to Industry: Turn Driver Inc Companies Over to CRA Leads Program

- by Susan Green

Driver Inc. companies are the scourge of the trucking industry. They cheat on taxes, break numerous labour laws and, according to a detailed safety analysis of convicted offenders, many are also unscrupulously unsafe operators.

So, then, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that Driver Inc. carriers would set their sights on public support funding and may be defrauding the Government of Canada through CEWS and CERB, says Canadian Trucking Alliance president Stephen Laskowski.

PSB workers are meant to be contractors – not employees – which makes these Driver Inc. companies ineligible to receive any funds under the CEWS. Yet there are growing reports that Driver Inc. companies are taking advantage of the benefits of the CEWS by shifting their payroll classifications of their supposed PSB workforce to employees for the sole purpose of receiving the CEWS subsidy and then planning to switch back to the “PSB” model following the crisis and end of the subsidy.

“CTA continues to work with the Canada Revenue Agency and ESDC to educate the industry on understanding the tax and labour implications of being a legal Personal Services Business, while stamping out Driver Inc. from our industry,” said Laskowski. “But now the federal government has another reason to go after these law-breaking companies – COVID-19 relief fraud.”

There are additional reports that Driver Inc. companies are trying to maintain their driving workforce during the crisis by not only topping up driver pay with ill-gotten CEWS funds but also with “under the table” payments.

“While CTA works with the Government of Canada on enforcement and audits of Driver Inc companies – including those already convicted by Ontario’s WSIB of Driver Inc. offenses – we are asking the industry to report Driver Inc. companies to the CRA tax cheat tip line,” added Laskowski. “Known as the CRA Lead Program, this platform is an excellent way for everyone in our industry to demand action against Driver Inc. companies and drivers.”

Here are the type of cheating offenses covered by the CRA Lead Program:

  • not declaring all income
  • creating false expenses or tax deductions
  • taking cash “under the table”
  • not filing tax returns when required
  • setting up a fake business to claim losses and reduce taxes
  • businesses not remitting proper source deductions
  • falsely claiming tax benefits or credits
  • creating false or deceptive documents or records
  • charities making profits from non-charitable activities
  • individuals receiving the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) who do not meet the eligibility criteria
  • individuals receiving the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) who do not meet the eligibility criteria
  • businesses or charities that are misusing the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)

To learn more about the CRA Leads Program click here.

Laskowski also reminded Ontarians to use the anonymous WSIB hotline (1-888-745-3237) to provide them with new auditing targets in the battle against Driver Inc.

Dozens of carriers have been convicted and their names have been provided to both CRA and ESDC for action and Laskowski is urging the industry to help expand the list of Driver Inc. being targeted for enforcement action.

Tags: Driver Inc CRA


Truck Electrification an Exciting Opportunity

- by Susan Green

As our industry continues to be highly focused on the day-to-day concerns related to COVID-19, we have also begun to look to the future of our industry as well. One project that was under development pre-COVID that has come back to the fore during the past few weeks is truck electrification.

Why truck electrification? In Manitoba, there is a lot of potential for such projects due to our abundance of renewable hydro-electric resources. A strong transportation network is vital to ensuring that all of Manitoba’s communities are connected. If the transportation industry can play a part in efficiently reducing our carbon footprint by making use of a readily available renewable resource, we want in. Since 95% of all freight moved in Manitoba spends at least some time on a truck, we are looking at the viability of electrification of several different trucking modes, including long and short haul work.

Of course there are challenges with such a move, particularly our long, cold winters. Therefore, we look forward to participating in demonstration projects that will ensure that truck electrification is a realistic option in Manitoba. We have seen other green initiatives proposed that failed to take into consideration just how hard our winters can be; therefore, we want to be certain that this is the right tool in Manitoba’s trucking industry.

While we have a number of i’s to dot and t’s to cross, what we envision is a demonstration project that wraps up (and proves or improves upon the viability of electric trucks as an option in Manitoba) around the same time that electric trucks are an option for the mass market. Before they reach the mass market, though, we want to know, what are the maintenance issues of these trucks when they operate in Manitoba? What is their range, in all seasons? What are the issues we haven’t anticipated? What anticipated issues have become non-issues as we run the pilot project? What are the financial and policy impacts for industry and government? It is an exciting opportunity, and we look forward to moving it along.

Members with questions are encouraged to contact us. Non-members, if you want a say in the direction of Manitoba’s trucking industry, it’s time to join the Manitoba Trucking Association. Contact us at 204-632-6600.


Getting Back to Business

- by Susan Green

Do you remember what your priorities were in February, before COVID-19 became our main focus? At the Manitoba Trucking Association, we identified a few key projects at that time in our newsletter: some LCV program participants weren’t following the program requirements, the driver shortage, the upcoming ELD mandate, the Trucking Efficiency Program, and the Office of the Auditor General's report on commercial vehicle oversight.

When COVID-19 became a public health emergency in March, many of those items were pushed to the back-burner as we acted and reacted as quickly as we could to local, provincial, federal, and even international regulatory changes that impacted our industry. We sent out over fifty member notices at that time that were strictly related to COVID-19, as well as regular eBulletins and newsletters that covered COVID updates as well as other regulatory changes.

Now that the crisis is over and we have learned how to manage it better, we are able to return to our pre-pandemic priorities. Specifically, truck electrification, the Office of the Auditor General’s report from December, NSC audit reform, carrier profiles and safety rating reform, wide base tire policy, a weigh scale bypass program, plus a long list of other items now occupy our time. Of course, COVID-19 related issues continue to dominate many of our discussions, but we have returned to our advocacy work for the trucking industry in general, rather than being focused entirely on the imapcts of COVID-19 on the truckng industry.

Members with questions are encouraged to contact us. Non-members, if you want a say in the direction of Manitoba’s trucking industry, it’s time to join the Manitoba Trucking Association. Contact us at 204-632-6600.


Roundabout Proposal Raises Questions

- by Susan Green

The Government of Manitoba recently announced a proposed roundabout for the intersection of the Trans-Canada Highway at Highway 16, or the Yellowhead Route. While the MTA welcomes infrastructure investment, we always want to ensure that the investment is the right one.

We have several questions for this proposal, including (but not limited to):

  • the impact of trains crossing and blocking traffic at nearby railroad tracks;
  • the footprint of a roundabout that safely accommodates long combination vehicles;
  • the safety impact of being the only roundabout on the Trans Canada Highway;
  • and the impact of winter and heavy snows in such an intersection.

While we have questions, we are being open-minded about this project. It is always our goal to use the right tool for the job. We are aware that roundabouts are used in various parts of the world to great success; however, we have not yet seen or learned of any used at intersections like this one. Generally, roundabaouts seem to be used in single lane situations or to replace on/off ramps. They don’t tend to be used in single-double lane intersections at highways speeds.

We look forward to learning more about why the Government of Manitoba feels that this is the right tool, why this job is suddenly a priority, and if there are better options, such as a cloverleaf, that would be a better fit.

Members with questions are encouraged to contact us. Non-members, if you want a say in the direction of Manitoba’s trucking industry, it’s time to join the Manitoba Trucking Association. Contact us at 204-632-6600.


​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:


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