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O H & S | Roadbuilding

October 5, 2010

Canadian Construction Association board meeting

CCA to file separate winter maintenance exemption request

The Canadian Construction Association will remove the winter maintenance exemption component from its federal hours of service exemption request to help strengthen the pursuit of both.

“We can make a much stronger case with it (winter maintenance exemption) on its own than in the joint application, which talks about it, but not in great detail,” said Bill Ferreira, director of government relations and public affairs at CCA.

During CCA’s recent board meeting in Charlottetown, P.E.I., its civil construction council learned that Transport Canada has recommended removing the winter maintenance exemption to help it deal with the association’s application.

Among Transport Canada’s other requests:

A more detailed estimate of the number of vehicles within the classes that could potentially be covered by the application.

Additional information from CCA regarding the safety record of the industry. It was suggested that provincial carrier profiles would be sufficient.

A better explanation of how members currently track driver hours. Officials wanted to know if members are using payroll records exclusively or a combination of payroll and informal logs.

CCA should work with Transport Canada’s fatigue expert to improve its fatigue-management program.

CCA’s concerns with federal hours of service regulations, introduced in 2007, are that they reduce allowable work time, cutting into a roadbuilding season already shortened by weather conditions.

The regulations reduce also drivers’ flexibility to transport people, such as repair and support services, when needed and are an impediment when there is a shortage of drivers.

Provincial industry groups and individual companies have stated they would implement fatigue-management plans for all drivers as an alternative to regulatory controls. CCA developed a fatigue-management guide in 2005.

Over the summer, CCA and provincial associations polled their members to determine the number of federally-regulated carriers that would qualify for the proposed exemption. Based on the information it received, CCA estimated that 183 of its members are federally regulated.

“One thing is clear, they (Transport Canada) remain concerned with the safety information they have,” Ferreira reported to the council. “They are satisfied with the public interest case we have made, but they still are somewhat concerned with the safety information.”

Transport Canada indicated to CCA in an application update meeting that leaving the winter maintenance in the overall exemption application complicates it to a degree.

“I would hate to lose this whole file over winter maintenance,” said Barry Brown of Maple Leaf Construction in Winnipeg. “It is a smaller portion of the bigger file...not that I want to lose on the winter maintenance exemption but I’d hate to lose the whole (application).”

A decision regarding CCA’s application is not expected until spring 2011.

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