Few international relationships are as important as the one that exists between the United States and Canada. Not only have these two powerful nations been long-standing allies, they have been steadfast trade partners whose businesses appreciate the ability to move goods and services freely across the border. In order to further build on this trade relationship and ensure that the truckload industries in both countries understand the rules and regulations of the other, TCA has once again organized the Bridging Border Barriers (BBB) event to facilitate and spur this partnership. This year’s no-charge BBB event will be held on November 14 in Brampton, Ontario and all for-hire carriers, regardless of TCA membership, are invited to participate.
One of the major drivers of discussion at the event will be the regulatory similarities and differences between the U.S. and Canada. Highlighting those differences is the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate, under which the U.S. has operated for the past several months but which Canada has not yet begun to implement. Canada’s regulation still has several questions yet to be answered, including third-party certification and a grandfather clause. The ELD mandate is incredibly important because the data collected from these devices can help prove the need for regulatory changes on hours of service, detention time, and truck parking issues. TCA supports an industry-wide mandate, and we encourage Canada’s authorities to move forward quickly to ensure parity between the two nations.
Another topic raising significant cross-border issues is Canada’s new marijuana legalization policy, which goes into effect on October 17th, particularly if Canadian truck drivers intend to operate in the United States, where marijuana use is still illegal at the federal level. In addition to very serious penalties for any driver caught with marijuana in their system, U.S. regulators are also in the process of solidifying new rules on hair testing by employers for drug detection. Many large carriers have already instituted hair testing in addition to the traditional urine test, but the U.S. federal government has not established that this test can be used as an alternative. Furthermore, the U.S. Congress recently directed the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to move forward with the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse – though specifics on implementation remain a mystery. Once the Clearinghouse is up and running, carriers will be able to share information about drivers who have failed their drug tests so that these individuals cannot hop from one job to another.
TCA is encouraged that the “new NAFTA” deal, or the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), has been agreed to by all parties and is hopeful that the U.S. Congress will approve the deal soon. Our countries have more similarities than differences, particularly regarding transportation, and it will continue to be vitally important to all of our economies for us to work together and strengthen our bonds as much as possible. This is why I urge you to participate in BBB in November, hear about these key issues for our industry, and share your knowledge with your partners across the border.