STANDING COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORT AND
LE COMITÉ PERMANENT DES TRANSPORTS ET DES
[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]
Tuesday, June 5, 2001
The Chair (Mr. Ovid Jackson (Bruce—Grey—Owen
Sound, Lib.)): We need three members of
Parliament for witnesses and I
think I see three.
The order of the day is Bill S-3, which is the
amendment to the Motor Vehicle Transport Act of 1987.
We have two witnesses, so welcome, gentlemen. I don't
know who is going to be the lead speaker here.
Mr. Phil Benson (Director, Research Legislative
Affairs, Building Construction Trades Department of the
AFL-CIO): My name is Phil Benson and I'm with
building trades. President Bouvier couldn't be here
today. He asked me to come and sit in on the hearing.
With me is Brother André Papineau, president of
Local 91 in Ottawa. He'll be reading the presentation
from Teamsters Canada, and after we'll be free to answer
any questions you may have.
Mr. André Papineau (President, Local 91, Teamsters
Canada): Good morning.
Teamsters Canada is a national labour organization
representing more than 100,000 workers in the trucking,
transportation, manufacturing, and tourism industries.
Bill C-3 sets up a framework to lead to the
harmonization of regulation of the road transportation
industry. The federal and provincial governments must
agree on the regulations as required by our
constitution. No matter how worthwhile some may argue
the goal of harmonization is, it will be difficult to
The centrepiece of the legislation deals with
certification and safety. It proposes a
performance-based system. We are concerned about a
system that grants certification first and then checks
for safety only after problems have been uncovered.
Departmental officials, speaking before the committee,
stated that once the system is in place in Canada, the
government would try to reach a reciprocity agreement
with the United States. However, under NAFTA, such an
agreement would most likely extend to Mexico and any
future signatory nations. The United States will not
allow Mexican trucks to travel throughout the United
States because of gross safety violations. Just a few
weeks ago a random safety check in Alberta produced a
37% failure rate.
Teamsters Canada does not have confidence that all
participants in the road transportation industry will
comply with a loose regulatory framework. Safety
should be ensured by strong regulation and not left to
faith and hope.
It has also been said that the provincial governments and
the industry have been consulted and they are in agreement with
Bill S-3. Teamsters Canada does not believe that all provinces
are in agreement with the bill. Teamsters and trucking are
synonymous in the public's mind. We are the backbone of the road
transportation industry, and we were not consulted on this bill.
The bill will allow regulations to be passed that impact
various issues of concern to the industry and the public, like
hours of service. There is a proposal to change hours of service,
which would permit transportation workers to be behind the wheel
14 hours a day, seven days a week. This proposal, if enacted,
would not be in the best interests of the public. It would put
transportation workers in sweat shops on wheels, and destroy
their family life.
The government claims it is committed to a children's
agenda, and Teamsters Canada believes that this commitment should
not end at the doors of transportation equipment. Transportation
workers deserve to spend time with their family as all workers
do. They deserve to benefit from rigorously enforced and fair
Again, it has been claimed that the provincial governments
and industry have been consulted and they are in agreement with
proposals like hours of service. Again, Teamsters Canada does not
believe that all provinces are in agreement with the proposal.
Teamsters Canada was not consulted on hours of service.
It is Teamsters Canada's understanding that Bill S-3
is a priority for the government. Without consensus of
the provinces and without full consultation with the
industry, we do not understand or agree with the
urgency. We request the government delay proceedings
with the bill until the fall session of Parliament.
Our concern is that Bill S-3 would permit a proposal
like hours of service to be presented without all of
the industry and public being consulted. It is
important that enacted policy is sound policy, and
without full and proper consultation, flawed proposals
will be entertained.
Teamsters Canada's position is that any regulatory
changes such as hours of service must face the scrutiny
of full public hearings, giving all Canadians and
groups the opportunity to be heard.
Mr. Phil Benson: Thank you.
With that we'll be willing to answer any questions
we're able to.
The Chair: Thank you very much. That has kept you
within the five-minute boundary.
We'll go to Mr. Fitzpatrick for ten minutes.
Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick (Prince Albert, Canadian
Alliance): I'm wondering if either of you gentlemen
would have any of the statistical information about how
trucking stacks up in terms of safety with other modes
of transportation, in particular the transportation
that takes place on our highway system.
Mr. Phil Benson: This time I'll pass this on to
President Bouvier, and we'll
respond to you with whatever we can dig up from there.
Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick: I take it, however, that in
advocating changes to the hours of service or the
number of hours that people should be driving you
do have some statistical information to support your
Mr. André Papineau: There is information
available. Unfortunately, I don't have it here with
me. Studies have been made regarding the hours of
service and the hours of driving.
Our belief certainly
is that going from 13 to 14 hours of driving time is a
major safety issue.
Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick: We're in North America, and
I guess you always have to look at what's happening in
the U.S. It's a reality because our businesses have to
compete with U.S. businesses. What is the requirement
in the U.S.? Do you know if there is one?
Mr. André Papineau: I believe that presently the
U.S. regulation is 10 hours of driving, versus 13 in
Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick: So if that's who we have to
compete with, why couldn't we at least adopt their
Mr. Phil Benson: I think that's an excellent
point. In fact, in the United States they were looking
at increasing the hours of service, and it was
Mr. André Papineau: We're moving away from
that to expand ours.
Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick: Another matter you
gentlemen raised was something about waiting for things
to happen before we start enforcing things, and so on.
Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems to me, in the province I
come from, if you want to go into the trucking
business, it's not just a slam dunk to get a licence
plate put on your vehicle and go into business. There
are highway traffic boards, and so on, that check these
vehicles to see whether they're ready for the road or
To get behind the wheel and drive one of these
vehicles on our highways is not a slam dunk either.
Provincial governments have programs to train people
how to operate these vehicles. Then there are fairly
substantial tests people have to go through before they
can get operators' licences to get on the road and run
Given those kinds of thoughts, what else are you
suggesting we need to have in place?
Mr. André Papineau: Unfortunately, that's not the
system in all provinces. I know in Ontario you can
take a one-tonne pickup truck with a fifth-wheel horse
trailer, if you want, and pass your AZ
licence, which is for tractor-trailers. Then you can
take the key of the truck and go down the highway with
a tractor-trailer. There are no more requirements than
If the employer wants to put you behind the wheel, or
if you want to purchase your own truck, that's all you
have to do.
Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick: It's my understanding that
the provinces have basically agreed that they will
adhere to the National Safety Code. Would the National
Safety Code not require some minimal sorts of things,
in terms of training and certification of drivers, and
Mr. Phil Benson: Often the regulatory scheme and
the reality of the industry can somewhat differ. I
think that's what Mr. Papineau is saying. What can look
good on paper may, in practical application, be a lot
different from what you see.
Part of the concern of Teamsters Canada, in coming
here today, is the lack of consultation going through
the entire process. Consultation occurs before the
horse bolts from the barn. We have better legislation,
better laws, and more sound policies. Often, the real
practical application of how it actually works is
something that an organization like Teamsters Canada
brings to the table. Up to this point, they haven't
been at the table.
Are you from Alberta, sir? I'm not sure.
Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick: No, I'm from Saskatchewan.
Mr. Phil Benson: I'm not sure of the Alberta
situation, but as the Teamsters Canada brief suggests,
just a few weeks ago there was a random check. That's
a province I would imagine adheres to the current
standards, yet they found a 37% failure rate.
Again, the regulatory requirements and how they
actually work in the industry can be quite divergent.
Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick: The thing I like about
the fact that random audits are taking place is
that information is out there and it leads to some
standardization and benchmarking. If I go around
shooting 95 in golf, I don't really compete
against anybody else—and I think that's a high score.
I'm kind of living up in the clouds.
I think having that information out there is a good
thing. It tells provinces they have to do some work to
get up to standards.
Provincial governments that neglect that kind of data
and don't do something to pull up their socks, so to
speak, are going to be much criticized, in the event of
an accident or something along that line. So in a way,
that is good stuff.
I like to see data and information, because it's hard
to make a sound decision in a vacuum and get
improvements. I don't see that being bad in itself.
It's a starting point for improving things.
Mr. André Papineau: I guess if we had been part of
the consultation in all this, all that information
would have been tabled.
Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick: Three years from now, if we
found out that Alberta had a 38% failure rate, I'd get
quite upset about it. But if I saw, in three years,
that they were down to 14%, I would be pleased, because
that would show improvement.
Mr. Phil Benson: Our concern would be, to what
standards? If the standards are harmonized at the very
low level, for example, of 14 hours of service versus
10 in the States, then it would become easier and
easier to meet those standards, and the data you
collect would show everything was fine.
It's prescriptive. It
depends upon which standards you're basing them on. At
this particular moment, Teamsters Canada has not had an
opportunity to really address those issues.
Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick: Would the audit that was
performed in Alberta have been based on the National
Safety Code? What standard would have been used to do
Mr. Phil Benson: The information I had was it was
simply a random check. They went out on the highway,
pulled trucks over, and checked them.
Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick: Right. But what kinds of
standards did they use to evaluate those trucks? Was it
American standards or the National Safety Code?
Mr. André Papineau: I'm pretty sure it was the
National Safety Code, because they have done those
random tests in different provinces.
Being the president of a local in eastern Ontario and
involved in this from day to day...it's frightening when
you hear major carriers teaching their drivers that
they can properly do a circle check of a
tractor-trailer unit in six minutes. It's scary,
because to do a proper circle check requires a minimum
of 15 to 20 minutes, and easily 30 minutes.
Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick: Does that vary from
province to province?
Mr. André Papineau: There are no tight
regulations. There are items to be verified, but how
you do it, how fast you do it, and how seriously you do
it, there's no....
Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick: That's a bone of contention
I would have, not only if I were a worker, but if I
owned a company that was doing business across the
country. To me, it seems inefficient and wasteful to
have to train your drivers and operators that in this
province this is the standard, and in another province
it's another standard, and so on across the country. I
don't even think it's good for safety.
If we want safety, let's have one standard that
everybody adheres to and is well-trained on. If you
have to try to train your staff for nine different
systems, not to speak of all the extra costs of the
professional people you need to train people, the legal
people, and all of that sort of stuff.... That involves a
lot of wasted economic resources that could be better
used to make your trucking firm more competitive.
Mr. André Papineau: Correct.
The Chair: Brian, that's your last question.
We'll move on.
Mr. Phil Benson: That's if the standards
are sound standards to start with. If the standards
are sub-standard, then we can all be very cautious
driving down the highway.
Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick: I think standards are
always subject to being improved. One thing about this
life that is permanent is change itself. There's no
standard that can't be improved upon, so you have to
Mr. Phil Benson: I would agree. But with public
standards and public safety, we would hope that the
standards set err to the cautious side and not always
to the pure economic side. We understand the economic
concerns, but with that rig going down the highway and
the potential consequences, if we're going to err,
let's err for safety.
Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick: Yes. I'm not arguing with
Mr. Phil Benson: Thank you.
The Chair: Mr. St. Denis for ten minutes.
Mr. Brent St. Denis (Algoma—Manitoulin, Lib.):
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, gentlemen, for being here today to help us
with this bill.
I want to refer first, Mr. Papineau,
to a reference in your presentation to the hours of
first to clear the record as to the fact that this bill
does not directly relate to hours of service, and
should all the stakeholder governments and players
agree to an hours of service change, whatever that
might be, that can happen with or without this bill; it
could go with the old legislation or the new. So this
does not in any way create any new problems, if you
want to characterize it that way, or new opportunities,
for that matter.
I would also add that this committee
has been asked by the Minister of Transport, David
Collenette, to look at the issue of hours of service,
quite separately from this bill, and the committee has
undertaken to do that. I believe the clerk has written
to a number of stakeholders, I hope even you, to ask
for papers over the summer on that. I would encourage
you to submit something. I just don't want to leave
the impression that this bill in any way would impair
your ability to participate in the hours of service
Also, Mr. Papineau, on the second page of your
presentation, in the second paragraph, you referred to
a loose regulatory framework. I'll read the whole
Teamsters Canada does not have confidence that all
participants in the road-transportation industry will
comply with a loose regulatory framework. Safety
should be ensured by strong regulation and not left to
faith and hope.
We certainly agree that safety is the first priority of
any transport legislation, but I wonder if you could
explain a little bit more what you mean by a loose
Mr. Phil Benson: Following up on the member who
asked the first question of us, it's not standards and
a piece of paper that necessarily reflect the reality
of an industry. The concern, I think, from the
presentations, both on this bill and on the hours of
service issue and other issues, is when we get to the
point where proposals are put forward affecting very
important public safety and other issues, without all
the stakeholders being involved. There are other
unions besides Teamsters who are involved in
transportation and, I understand, also were not
involved in it.
It raises questions about what kinds of standards
we're going to have. We say loose regulatory
framework. On paper it can look as tough as nails, but
in practical terms it isn't. Drivers today—and I
think Mr. Papineau could refer to this—are told to
carry two log books. They push the envelope on 13
hours. There's another safety issue in six-minute
checks of rigs. So we have a framework in place that
looks pretty solid, but really you can drive a Mack
truck through it in some cases. Trucks can break down
for lots of reasons, but when you have a high incidence
of failure on a random spot check—and every time this
is done, the same kinds of numbers come back—I'd refer
to that as a loose regulatory framework. In other
words, the standards may look very firm on paper, but
in practical application they allow huge flexibility,
allow people to push the envelope, and they do. So in
a sense, we have a loose regulatory framework.
Mr. Brent St. Denis: Mr. Chair, with your
permission, I'll share my time with my colleague Mr.
Tirabassi, in the interest of everybody having a chance
The Chair: All right. We have six minutes, so
I'll go to Larry and then back to Tony.
Mr. Larry Bagnell (Yukon, Lib.): On the hours of
service, you said truckers should be with their
children—understanding it's not in this bill. Just
because there's a law that you can't jump off a
building or cross a street in traffic, do things that
are unsafe in society, it doesn't mean the individual
trucker shouldn't have the judgment, if he thinks
something is not safe, not to do it, if he's tired, to
get off the road. There's nothing in the bill or any
regulation that says someone has to work 14 hours a
day. Industries that are self-regulating also tend to
keep government off their back. So if the teamsters
don't want to work 14 hours a day, they don't have to.
There's nothing here that forces people to do those
Mr. André Papineau: Let's deal with reality.
Employers often, if they're allowed to drive 13 hours,
will make their drivers drive 13. If now this is
changed so that the driver can physically drive 14, he
will drive 14. They need to get the product from point
A to point B. When we talk about loose regulation,
it's how it's applied and how it's enforced. If
somebody is driving 14 hours a day and only has 36
hours off at the end of the week, and does a six-minute
circle check, to me it puts safety at risk. It puts
everybody on the road at risk.
I travel on average 1,000 kilometres a week with my
own vehicle in my job, a lot of it on the 401. Coming
back from Belleville last Monday night, I followed a
tractor-trailer heading to Montreal and I tried to keep
up with him at 140 kilometres an hour. If this guy had
been behind the wheel for 14 hours and took six minutes
to do his circle check, that's scary.
But they've got no choice. I've got a guy in my
office who started to work for me as a representative
yesterday. He was driving for a small company. They
were told to carry two log books, and if they did not,
it was, get out, there are ten other people in line for
your job. People have to feed their families, and it's
scary that this kind of stuff happens in this day and
age on our highways. It's happening every day. This
practice of increasing hours and reducing the time off
I'm a Teamsters Canada representative on the Canadian
Trucking Human Resources Council. In talking to
the industry, and even the employers we represent, I
find everybody's screaming that they can't find good,
qualified truck drivers. There are some out there, but
they want to spend some time with their families. They
don't want to put in the 60, 70, 80 hours some of us
put in in a week. They value their families and their
children, and they want to be home. So if you're going
to give him the keys on Sunday night and he comes back
on Saturday, he doesn't want the job. It's not that we
don't have good drivers; it's that we don't have good
Mr. Larry Bagnell: I appreciate your concern with
safety. You just said it's hard to get drivers,
so it should be easy for you to have 13 hours in your
contracts or not have them drive. But I don't want to
push that point.
I'll pass on to my colleague, but if the parliamentary
secretary gets a chance in his next intervention, he
could comment on your point about consultation, because
I think there has been a lot of consultation on this
The Chair: Three minutes, Tony.
Mr. Tony Tirabassi (Niagara Centre, Lib.): First,
I'd like to thank Mr. Papineau and Mr. Benson. In my
former life, both as a municipal councillor and as
somebody who was involved in movement of perishable
commodities, long haulers and short haulers, in 23
years I certainly have some background in dealing with
the trucking industry—and even as somebody who's just
concerned about what's going on around me...so as to ask
a lot of questions.
Throughout your report it seems to state that the
consultative process wasn't enough. I would ask for
some clarification. Indeed, there must have been some
consultation. Could somebody clarify what meetings
were held with who? I don't mean only as the
government went about trying to receive input on Bill
S-3, but I'm going to ask you gentlemen what
consultative process you went through with your
grassroots drivers. These are people I've worked
with—I'm not a driver—and talked to for the past many
years. I will admit, you try not to use your own
personal experiences to show that's the case right
across the board in general terms, but what I've heard
is out of sync with what I'm hearing here from you
gentlemen today. So I seek some clarification.
Mr. André Papineau: I know it personally. I've
talked to a lot of my drivers at membership meetings or
at meetings with certain transport companies. I have
tabled this project with the 14 hours and all that.
I can tell you that the
members I represent are totally opposed to it
because they are on the road 13 hours a day now. They
don't want to be on the road 14 hours. They're tired
at the end of the week. It's like taking your car
and going to Toronto, back and forth, three times. See
how you feel once you get out of your vehicle. And for
these guys it's not a vehicle, it's a 55-foot trailer.
So it's not easy. You have to be concerned about your
equipment because you are ultimately responsible. You
are being pushed. You have to have on-time delivery.
You have everybody yelling and screaming at you to find
out where you are. When you get to your destination,
everybody is upset with you because you're late, and
they ask where have you been and all this. It's a
pressure cooker in that truck. Everything put
together, they can't take it. The people I've
talked to are totally opposed to it.
Mr. Phil Benson: Can I respond to that quickly?
The Chair: Very quickly.
Mr. Phil Benson: To answer your question,
President Bouvier speaks for Teamsters Canada, and
in terms of any assumption or assertion that he would not know what
his members want, for any consultation he has with his
members, I would think that President Bouvier when he
speaks for Teamsters Canada speaks for his members.
On the second issue of consultation, I had a brief
comment with the clerk, and at least on this bill there
was no consultation with Teamsters, none whatsoever.
Also, on the hours of service issue, that comes from
the administrators, which Teamsters Canada is not a part
of. There were no consultations on it. Part of the
concern is that when you're dealing with road
transportation, both trucking, busing, and other forms
of transportation that Teamsters Canada participates in
as a stakeholder, it's hard to go back to try to
improve it, make it better, and show the glaring
deficiencies after, as I said, the horse bolts the
barn. Consultation occurs at the drafting
stage, at the thought stage, at the presentation stage.
It doesn't occur, in my viewpoint, and I think from
Teamsters Canada's viewpoint, after the event.
I think perhaps from now into the future, Teamsters
Canada would really appreciate, as you were saying,
being consulted and being part of that process.
The Chair: I'll move to Mr. Laframboise of the
Mr. Mario Laframboise (Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, BQ):
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
First of all, I'd like to thank the witnesses. I'm glad I'm
not alone in thinking that this bill should be put on the back
burner and reintroduced at a later date. The provinces, including
Quebec, have not yet agreed to either the tabling or passage of
Over the past few meetings, I've tried to make my colleagues
understand that transportation safety is a provincial
responsibility. The provinces provide and oversee transportation
services on an ongoing basis.
One major problem was identified by all industry
representatives, including the Canadian Industrial Transportation
League, the Canadian Bus Association and the Canadian Trucking
Association, which together represent over 80 per cent of the
industry. All have called for improved legislation and enhanced
safety. Clause 3.(1)(a) of Bill S-3 reads as follows:
(a) the regulatory regime for those undertakings is focused on
safety performance assessments based on the National Safety Code...
Everyone agrees on standard #14. The problem is harmonization,
primarily because of costs. Why do certain provinces and
territories fail on this score? Because bringing about
harmonization, establishing a national safety code and
subsequently, ensuring control and follow-up procedures requires a
significant outlay of funds.
I was disappointed in that industry representatives, who are
often employers, did not dare ask the federal government for money,
even though the latter is imposing this safety standard on the
industry. Again, the government will not have to pay a penny of the
costs. Who will be paying? From listening to employers, if I were
a provincial representative, I would simply increase fees. I would
increase licensing fees to cover the costs, even though everyone
knows that the federal government, like the provinces, collects
enough money from gas, excise taxes, GST and PST to cover the
entire cost of implementing this system. No one has mentioned
costs, which means that if the industry were forced to bear the
full costs, so too would your workers. When prices increases, so
too do the number of hours of service. That's why I stated from the
very beginning that it would be a good idea to include a provision
respecting hours of service in the bill.
I can't understand discussing safety and using this bill to...
My colleagues in the federal government, who profess to be staunch
defenders of safety, are advocating a national system. At the same
time, however, no provision is made for hours of service, the
primary complaint of workers who keep the road transportation
industry humming. Without the industry workers, your bosses
wouldn't make any money and shipments of goods would come to a
The federal government prefers to discuss hours of work
separately and to introduce legislation providing for a national
safety regime. However, if the provinces lack the funds to
implement this regime, all we'll be left with is a nice piece of
legislation. Federal funding is needed to make this proposal work.
Let's take the time to make it work. In my opinion, our
consultations should also focus on hours of service so that this
issue is included in the bill to everyone's satisfaction.
Obviously, I'm pleased to see that I'm not the only on who
thinks the bill should be withheld. We should give ourselves more
time. The fact is that in order for this bill to become a reality,
the government needs the consensus of the provinces and territories
because they will be enforcing the provisions. Similarly, it needs
to have the industry and the workers on side as well. If in fact
you haven't been consulted, then in my view, this is indeed a gross
oversight. It's surely not the first one, but merely another in a
long list of oversights.
I come back to what I said initially, Mr. Chairman. I can't
understand why Transport Canada officials have recommended the
adoption of the bill at this time when they themselves have
admitted that there was still work to do with the territories and
provinces and neglected to tell us that they had yet to complete
their consultations with industry. I find that astonishing.
That's all I wanted to say. Perhaps you would care to say
Mr. André Papineau: I have a comment to make about security.
Whenever problems arise, employers, regardless of who they
are, cut back on training and safety. Cuts of these nature are
generally quicker and bigger.
Personally, when it comes to the people whom I represent, I
have been stressing training and driver education since 1994.Our
facility is equipped with an air brakes system for driver training
purposes. It is very difficult to get employers to send truck
drivers for training because of the costs. Training is the first
We are more successful when it comes to dealing with unionized
employers. Otherwise, if employees want training, their employers
tell them to go somewhere else to get that training.
Mr. Mario Laframboise: If companies were required to
contribute directly toward the implementation of this national
regime, imagine how much trouble you would have convincing
employers slapped with a surcharge.
I support your position and I hope that my colleagues will
understand a little better now that safety is not just words on a
piece of paper calling for a national standard when there isn't
even anyone to ensure compliance with this standard across the
country. If the federal government's objective is to bring in a
monitoring system, then it should state its position clearly. This
would likely relieve the provinces, and companies, of certain
responsibilities, but I don't believe that's what the government
had in mind. It wanted to force the territories into implementing
the standard. However, once again, they lack the funds and that's
why harmonization will be a problem, as the industry has stated.
There is insufficient funding to guarantee...
As for what Quebec wants, when harmonization is ultimately
achieved, all companies across Canada should, from a competition
standpoint, be on an equal footing. Firms in one province or
territory should not be subject to stricter requirements or have
more responsibilities such that they are less competitive than
companies in other provinces.
Therefore, if the government introduces this national safety
regime, it needs to allocate the necessary sums of money to allow
provinces to introduce and ensure compliance with the standard. At
the same time, upcoming discussions should include the topic of
hours of service. Ultimately, if the industry is forced to pay
more, the pressure in terms of hours of work will fall squarely on
the shoulders of your workers. If this issue isn't resolved and
costs escalate, in addition to cutting back on employee training,
companies will force their employers to work longer hours to cover
Mr. Phil Benson: On the issue you raised on
urgency, normally bills would go from the House of
Commons to the Senate, and the Senate would have a sober
second thought. In this case, of course, it's coming
from the Senate to the House, with two days of public
hearings and, hopefully, a priority bill passed in the
What kind of a sober second thought is actually going
to occur on the bill? If it's passed in the next week,
if they're talking about leaving this week sometime,
it's not going to be much of a sober second thought.
As to the issue of setting standards, if the committee
waited, or the government waited, until they see how
the negotiations will occur and what kinds of standards
there are, they may want to revisit this bill, before
it's passed or amended on the floor of the House of
Commons, to strengthen it. Who knows? At this
particular point, we don't know.
The Chair: Okay. Thank you.
We're about out of time.
Brian, you have one last question, the last word.
Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick: There has been anecdotal
evidence, or comments, and a suggestion that unionized
trucking operations are safer inherently than
non-unionized. I want to see stats on that stuff.
It's not something I'm just going to buy into.
Mr. Phil Benson: If you took it that way, I would
say it was not the intention. The issue is an industry
issue. It's not a union versus non-union issue. Hours
of service or any regulation is a non-union issue.
It's an industry issue. If there are violations in
safety, they occur across the board.
Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick: There are other countries
in the world with trucking industries. There are
different standards, and so on. It seems to me safety
is something we can measure and do a good comparison
If our team batting average is around .200 and other
countries are batting .320, we should pick up our socks
and find out what we're doing in the area of safety to
reach a higher standard.
There is the comment on having a shortage of drivers,
or another example of having to use two log books. If
you don't want to do it, you're out the door. There
are ten more drivers waiting. They're inconsistent
statements, as far as I'm concerned. If you have a
shortage, you have a shortage. If you have a shortage,
you can't be doing such things.
I caution both of you, gentlemen. If you want to try
to get me onside, use some good independent data and
statistics to support the positions, rather than
picking out isolated cases.
Mr. Phil Benson: When Teamsters Canada appear
before the committee with their submission on hours of
service, I fully expect any desire you have for
information will be fully met.
Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick: Thank you.
Mr. André Papineau: To clarify, there is a
shortage of drivers. There is a shortage of good
drivers. There are drivers out there, but we see
employers interview 50 people to hire one. There are
lots of AZ drivers. Are they qualified?
Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick: I would make one last
comment. I have anecdotal experience as a driver too.
I come from Saskatchewan, out in the country. I drive
a lot on the highways. In my own personal experience,
I'd much rather be dealing with the average trucker on
the highway than a lot of the other people I encounter.
By and large, you mentioned a person driving at a
speed of 140 on a highway. We can always pick out the
bad apple. I find truck drivers across the country to
be very polite, very professional drivers. I'm more
concerned with my own type of drivers, the personal
motor vehicle drivers.
Mr. Phil Benson: Mr. St. Denis is correct. This
bill deals with more of a framework. As such, we dealt
with the hours of service.
The issue of Teamsters Canada is more an example of
things that can fall out from the bill. As I said
earlier, I'm quite certain when they come before you on
the hours of service, any expectation you have on
information will be met.
The Chair: Thank you very much, gentlemen. We
appreciate your input.
Mr. Phil Benson: I want to say thank you very much
to the committee for allowing us to appear. We wish
We will put in a final plug. We do hope the committee
will take its time to really consider the bill and
perhaps delay it through the fall.
Thank you very much. We do appreciate it.
Mr. André Papineau: Thank you on behalf of Brother
Bouvier. Thank you very much.
The Chair: I'd like to proceed now with the
clause-by-clause on Bill S-3.
I'd like to invite the Transport people to come up in
case of questions. Please, take your places.
Are there any amendments?
Mr. Brent St. Denis: I have a point of order.
The Chair: Yes, Mr. St. Denis.
Mr. Brent St. Denis: I said last week there would
be some government amendments. I want to inform the
committee, on reflection and considering some of the
testimony from witnesses, there are no government
amendments. This is to clarify and reverse what I said
last week. We are asking that the bill proceed as it
The Chair: Okay. We'll proceed with the bill.
(Clauses 1 to 13 inclusive agreed to on division)
The Chair: Shall the title carry?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Some hon. members: On division.
The Chair: Shall the bill carry?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Some hon. members: On division.
The Chair: Shall I write the report the bill without amendment
to the House?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Some hon. members: On division.
The Chair: It appears we have enough time to work
on the report of the research people with regard to
Does anyone have any input or amendments?
Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick: I didn't bring a copy.
The Chair: I guess it should be in camera. I'll
suspend for five minutes while we go in camera.