Federally regulated carriers hauling Covid-19 relief items get HoS exemption

OTTAWA, Ont. – Similar to measures taken in the U.S., federally regulated carriers in Canada will now see an hours-of-service (HoS) exemption related to the fight against Covid-19.

Transport Canada, along with the provinces and territories, approved the exemption through the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, which will be available until April 30 or before it is no longer deemed necessary.

The regulation is termed the Essential Freight Transport Exemption, and is designed to assist federally regulated motor carriers and drivers engaged in the transport of essential supplies and equipment in direct assistance to the Covid-19 emergency relief effort, the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) reports.

All other elements of Canada’s HoS regulation will remain in place, including the requirement to maintain a daily logs and records.

Items eligible for the exemption are identical to those in the U.S., but there are additional administrative requirements that will apply to all drivers and carriers operating in Canada.

To be eligible for the HoS exemption, carriers and drivers must follow a list of several criteria, including notifying the HoS director in their base jurisdiction where they plan to utilize the exemption; listing all drivers and vehicles that will participate under the exemption; carry a copy of the exemption in every vehicle; indicate under the remarks section in the daily logs if operating under the exemption; not have a “conditional” or “unsatisfactory” rating for a driver; and not be under an out-of-service order.

Private Motor Truck Council of Canada president Mike Millian applauded the move, saying, “We are glad to see Transport Canada act quickly and enact emergency relief exemptions to federally regulated carriers in this time of need. From the time this was raised by industry until now, it has been a true collaborative approach between Transport Canada and industry to make this happen. This will allow essential services to be restocked quicker when needed by the great professional drivers in our industry.”

Eligible items for the exemption are medical supplies and equipment, food, sanitary supplies, equipment and supplies for temporary housing and quarantine facilities, medical personnel, and persons for transport for medical, isolation, or quarantine purposes.

Provincially regulated carriers could also see HoS exemptions from the provinces in the near future.

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