Ontario Trucking Association

Ontario Trucking Association

November 10, 2005 18:14 ET

Labour Problems at International Bridges Must Be Resolved Now: Truckers, Long Delays Caused by Walk-Outs of Canadian Border Staff

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 10, 2005) - The fear of the Canadian trucking industry that ongoing labour disputes between the Canada Border Services Agency and its union, the Canadian Customs Excise Union, and recurrent walk-offs by front-line customs inspectors, which have plagued transborder crossings of trucks and cars at Peace Bridge over the past five months would - unless resolved - eventually spill over to other major border crossings, appears to be coming true.

This afternoon, the problems spilled over to the major Michigan-Ontario border crossings - the Windsor-Detroit Tunnel, the Ambassador Bridge and the Bluewater Bridge.

"It's a disaster getting back into Canada today," says David Bradley, president of the Ontario Trucking Association and CEO of the Canadian Trucking Alliance. "It's costing our industry a million dollars an hour - a cost that ultimately must be borne by the economy. We (the trucking industry) can't afford to absorb these delay costs. We need a resolution." Delays at the Ambassador Bridge and Bluewater Bridge are already stretching the line-ups of trucks back five or six kilometres at both crossings.

Customs inspectors at the Peace Bridge have walked off the job five times since May citing personal security concerns and exercising their right to refuse work under the Canada Labour Code. Apparently, some of the inspectors want to be armed like their US counterparts. Each time the union workers have walked off the job, Human Resource and Skills Development Canada ruled that there was no threat to personal safety and forced the customs inspectors back to work.

Back on Sept., in the wake of the labour disruptions at the Peace Bridge, Bradley wrote to Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness who is directly responsible for Canada 's Border Services Agency: "These walk offs are causing serious delays crossing the Canada-US border for both commercial vehicles and private cars undermining all of our collective efforts to assure US business and visitors that the border does not constitute a barrier to trade. Much of what has been accomplished since Sept. 11 to keep the border functioning will be undone if we allow these types of situations to continue. Your officials must take immediate action to put in place whatever plans are required to end the current job action and to prevent another such work stoppage at the border."

Bradley says the two sides have got to resolve their differences now, before more damage is done. In the meantime, he is encouraging all trucking companies to charge their customers for delays their trucks are experiencing getting back into Canada. "Our customers need to become engaged in this issue. They have to understand that the delays are not the fault of the truckers and we cannot afford to have our equipment and drivers sitting in line-ups."

The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) is a business association representing motor carriers operating into, out of and within Ontario. The trucking industry is one of Ontario's largest employers. Trucks haul 90% of all consumer products and foodstuffs produced and consumed in the province and 80% of Ontario's trade with the United States. Founded in 1926, the association's membership comprises trucking companies of all sizes, shipping all types of commodities, from all regions of North America. OTA is a member of the Canadian Trucking Alliance

Ontario Trucking Association
555 Dixon Road
Toronto, Ontario
M9W 1H8

Contact Information