The BC Trucking Association (BCTA) welcomes the provincial government’s decision to give the Office of the British Columbia Container Trucking Commissioner (OBCCTC) the regulatory authority to set rates and fuel surcharges, says the organization’s president and CEO, Dave Earle.
“Bringing that authority closer to industry has always been something that we believe would bring greater responsiveness and ultimately greater stability to the system,” Earle said.
The B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure announced June 26 that, effective July 1, it would repeal the current rates and remuneration provisions from the Container Trucking Regulation and give the OBCCTC greater regulatory authority.
“This is designed to help maintain stability, fairness and competitiveness in the sector,” the ministry said through a press release announcing the decision, adding that “in setting rates, the commissioner will be guided by the principles of balancing fair compensation for drivers and ensuring the ongoing competitiveness of the sector.”
Earle explained that when regulatory authority rests solely with the government, necessary changes can get stalled because of competing priorities. “When it rests with the commissioner, his office’s only priority is the stability of the industry,” he said.
The decision is also in line with the government’s commitment, announced in April of this year, to implement 10 out of 12 of the recommendations from the OBCCTC’s rate and remuneration report.
The report included a recommendation to introduce a $25 flat rate, paid by carriers to truck drivers in addition to the rate paid for each on or off-dock trip to compensate for the time spent in positioning movements, which are performed without containers and which are currently unpaid.
The new rate, which also comes into force on July 1, “benefits drivers by recognizing their time spent driving, while minimizing industry disruption and enabling effective audit and enforcement by the commissioner,” said the ministry.
“The flat rate nature of it is practical,” Earle said. “It allows for audits to be completed objectively. It allows for ease of administration. And so again, if the government was going to introduce such a fee, we believe this the most logical and transparent manner in which it could have been done.”
Looking forward to the implementation of the remaining OBCCTC recommendations, Earle said, the industry has asked the government for a more comprehensive discussion resulting in a more holistic approach to reform.
“It's difficult when we make changes in one area, and then two months later make changes in another area, and then two months later make changes in another area. That creates instability, it creates apprehension, and we don’t want to have that.
“The government has been very focused on this industry and this sector. We’re pleased with the interactions we’ve had with them to date. And we’re hopeful that will continue, and that that will lead to a timely and comprehensive discussion.”