Canada News
Canada News

By David Tanner, senior editor

Appeal will proceed in OOIDA member’s challenge of Ontario speed limiters

The Court of Appeal for Ontario, Canada, has agreed to hear a claim initially brought by OOIDA Member Gene Michaud that a government-mandated speed limiter on his truck harmed his security of person under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Gene Michaud, with backing from OOIDA, brought his constitutional challenge of Ontario’s speed-limiter mandate after receiving a citation from a truck inspector in 2009. He passed away in 2013 after a lengthy battle with cancer, but not before making his mark. Gene’s wife, Barbara, and his attorney, David Crocker, have carried on the case on his behalf and it is now in the hands of Ontario’s high court.

Michaud claimed the forced speed differential on the highways violated his right to personal safety under the Charter. He also said the speed limiter harmed his ability to compete with U.S. trucks and trucks from other provinces.

In 2012, a traffic court judge tossed out Michaud’s citation and declared that the provincial law harmed his ability to operate safely.

The province appealed, but Michaud died before the appeal went to court. About a year after his death, the Ontario Court of Justice ruled to overturn the traffic court decision.

In their ruling, the Ontario Court of Justice did not buy Michaud’s claim about speed differentials or their potential harm to a trucker’s safety.

In June of this year, Crocker asked the Court of Appeal to make the final determination about the constitutionality of the speed-limiter law, which requires all Ontario-bound and Ontario-domiciled trucks 1995 and newer to have a working speed limiter set no higher than 105 kilometers per hour, which is about 65 mph.

Attorneys for the province of Ontario did not file any motions to oppose Crocker’s motion to appeal. They too want the high court to decide the case.

The Court of Appeal will likely schedule oral arguments within a few months according to Crocker. The parties will present their arguments to a three-judge panel.

The Ontario case is important, OOIDA says, because other policymakers, including U.S. regulators, have their eyes on mandating speed limiters. LL


Task force working on entry-level training criteria for truckers

A Canadian task force is working to establish criteria that could one day lead to truck driving being designated by the government as a skilled profession that requires entry-level training.

Trucking HR Canada, with financial help from the Canadian federal government, the Canadian Trucking Alliance and provincial trucking associations, is hosting stakeholder meetings to determine what knowledge, skills and abilities should be part of an eventual training standard.

“We are hoping to have a final document, a final profile if you will, outlining what those knowledge, skills and abilities of today’s drivers are sometime early in 2015,” Trucking HR Canada CEO Angela Splinter told Land Line.

Splinter said the first meeting took place in Ontario with others planned for Nova Scotia and a location to be named in western Canada.

A spring 2012 report published by the Canadian Trucking Alliance owned up to the “root causes” of driver recruitment and retention issues – namely driver compensation, quality of life, qualifications and demographics.

“The industry will always be captive to market forces, but it can also take action to help itself and ensure its continued dominance in the freight market. It just cannot do it without drivers,” the report’s authors stated. LL


Detroit-Windsor bridge could open in 2020

Canadian Transport Minister Lisa Raitt and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder recently announced the appointment of a six-member panel to oversee the construction of the proposed $950 billion, six-lane Detroit River International Crossing, or DRIC.

The International Authority panel will monitor compliance of the agreement between the countries to build the bridge. Another panel is working to attract private investors.

Paying off the costs of the project will most likely involve tolls.

The DRIC has garnered support and faced opposition. The federal government of Canada is chipping in millions to help finance Michigan’s share of the up-front construction costs.

The owner of the nearby Ambassador Bridge, Matty Moroun, paid for a ballot measure in Michigan in 2012 to try to block the government’s role in the project, but his ballot measure failed. LL