Federal and provincial measures boost stability of port trucking operations


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OTTAWA, Aug. 1 /CNW Telbec/ - The governments of Canada and British
Columbia today announced a joint initiative to maintain stable wages and
working conditions for independent owner-operator truckers serving Lower
Mainland ports.

The Government of Canada has passed a regulation directed at the
Vancouver and Fraser River Port Authorities. The regulation will ensure that
independent owner-operator truckers are compensated at no less than the rates
of remuneration set out in the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), which was
recommended on July 29, 2005 by Mr. Vince Ready, a facilitator appointed by
the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia.

On June 19, 2007, the Government of Canada pre-published its proposed
regulation requiring that owner-operator truckers not subject to collective
bargaining be paid at rates of remuneration that are equivalent to those set
out under collective agreements that are binding on unionized owner-operators.
Under the revised regulation, independent owner-operators are to receive rates
of remuneration that are set out under collective agreements, as long as the
rates of remuneration are higher than or equal to those established in the
MOA. The Port Authorities are required to incorporate this measure into their
licensing regime.

"During the pre-publication consultation period, we received submissions
from a number of stakeholder groups with a wide range of views on this
matter," said the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport,
Infrastructure and Communities. "The regulation was amended to provide a
higher level of stability of rates for independent owner-operators, who during
consultations, clearly indicated that rate sustainability is of utmost

During the summer of 2005, disruptions at ports in the B.C. Lower
Mainland led to the creation of the MOA, which was put forward on behalf of
the Lower Mainland container trucking industry by Mr. Ready for a two-year
term. "The MOA may have expired as a living document, but its rates of
remuneration that have been so important to this industry for the past two
years will continue by way of this regulation," said Minister Cannon.

Other changes that have been made to the regulation include the specific
exclusion of owner-operator truckers engaged in the long-haul industry, the
requirement that collective agreements be posted on the Vancouver Port
Authority's website, and the requirement that this measure be reviewed by the
Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities within two years of its
coming into force. "The review will not only allow us to assess the success of
this measure, but the overall state of the local container trucking industry
as well," added Minister Cannon.

In addition, the regulation was revised to allow independent
owner-operators to be compensated according to rates of remuneration contained
in collective agreements that are amended or renegotiated in the future. While
the compensation negotiated in these agreements can move upward over time, the
rates of remuneration contained in the MOA will remain the minimum that may be
paid to independent owner-operators.

The Province of British Columbia will develop and manage a fair and
effective dispute resolution mechanism to support the new federal regulations.
This will include investigation and adjudication of alleged contraventions of
rates paid to owner operators, including any allegations of companies
undercutting minimum collective agreement rates.

"Our ports have to remain open and reliable if we're going to capitalize
on the economic opportunities associated with growing Asian trade," said B.C.
Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon. "We welcome the federal regulations, and
I'm confident the dispute resolution system will ensure appropriate

"With these new regulations in place, the B.C. trucking industry will
become an even more active partner in the growing success of the Asia-Pacific
Gateway," said David Emerson, Minister of International Trade and Minister for
the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics. "I believe
international shippers will look favourably upon Canada's efforts to ensure
the stability and efficiency of this strategic transportation corridor."

The Province, with support from the federal government, established a
stakeholder forum in April 2006 to address concerns of the container truck
industry. Forum members, representing businesses, unions and ports, have been
developing logistical solutions to improve the reliability, efficiency and
productivity of the Lower Mainland container transport system.

The Province has developed a website to support the work of the forum
(Container Trucking Forum) including an informational on-line calculator that
helps truck owner operators better understand their costs and compensation.

The governments of Canada and B.C. remain committed to ensuring long-term
stability for trucking operations at Lower Mainland ports and to ensuring that
these ports continue to function efficiently and reliably within the
Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative.

The federal regulation will be published in Canada Gazette, Part II on
Thursday, August 2, 2007.

For further information: Natalie Sarafian, Press Secretary, Office of
the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Ottawa, (613)
991-0700; Jennifer Chiu, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of
International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the
Vancouver-Whistler Olympics, Ottawa, (613) 992-7332; Anne-Marie Bouchard,
Communications, Transport Canada, Ottawa, (613) 993-0055; Rob Duffus,
Communications Director, Ministry of Transportation, Government of British
Columbia, (250) 387-7787; Transport Canada is online at Transport Canada - Transports Canada.

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