SPECIAL REPORT: Speed limiter bill passes in Ontario

| 6/16/2008

Monday, June 16, 2008 – Legislation to require speed limiters on heavy trucks that operate in the Canadian province of Ontario was approved Monday, June 16, in the Ontario Legislature.

The move by the government to require speed limiters on all trucks operating in the province, regardless of where they are based, does not sit well with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and many small-business truckers.

“We’re saddened that they decided to pass this legislation. We think it’s a bad decision for the truckers in Ontario and bad for U.S. truckers who do business in Ontario,” said Laura O’Neill, OOIDA government affairs counsel.

OOIDA is considering its options for fighting implementation of the regulation.

“We’re going to continue to look over the options that are available to us,” O’Neill said.

Ontario Transportation Minister James Bradley introduced Bill 41 in March in response to a lobbying campaign by the Ontario Trucking Association, which represents large motor carriers.

The Legislature assigned Bill 41 to the Standing Committee on Justice Policy, which had one public hearing June 5 and then accepted written comments through June 10.

OOIDA, the Owner-Operators Business Association of Canada, and a number of individual truckers and experts submitted testimony against speed limiters/ They contend that speed limiters would cause unnecessary and dangerous speed differentials on the highways.

OTA and other motor-carrier groups insisted that the highways would be safer with the speed limiters.

Throughout proceedings in the past few weeks, a number of lawmakers from the opposition parties demanded the provincial government take more time to study the issue of speed limiters and wait on Transport Canada to weigh in at the federal level.

The Liberal Party majority in the Legislature refused to accept amendments offered by members of the opposition parties, despite several attempts.

At press time, a date for implementation of the mandate had not been confirmed. According to language in the bill, the lieutenant governor of Ontario is charged with announcing an implementation date by official proclamation.

– By David Tanner, staff writer