Canada publishes new hours of work rules

| 2/21/2003

Canadian transportation authorities officially proposed a new federal hours-of-service regulation for Canadian truck and bus drivers, building on an endorsed standard announced last fall by federal and provincial transport ministers.

Last September, a council of federal and provincial transport ministers approved changes to the country’s National Safety Code to give drivers more opportunity to rest and to make the rules simpler to grasp.

According to Canadian press accounts, the industry's largest trade union, the Teamsters, and its largest lobby group, the Canadian Trucking Alliance, support the changes. Government transport officials say they want the new rules to take effect sometime this fall.

The regulation would restrict drivers to 14 hours on duty (13 hours driving) followed by 10 hours off during a 24-hour period. At least eight of these off-duty hours would have to be taken consecutively, with the additional two hours to be taken in increments of no less than a half hour.

Other changes:

  • Eliminate the option to reduce the off-duty time from eight hours to four hours;
  • Increase the minimum rest for co-drivers using a sleeper berth from two hours to four consecutive hours;
  • Allow the averaging of on-duty and off-duty time over a 48-hour period; and
  • Cut the number of available work/rest cycles from three to two: a maximum 70-hour cycle over seven days and a maximum 120-hour cycle over 14 days.

Drivers who want to switch or reset cycles would need to take at least 36 consecutive hours off duty before "resetting the clock to zero" for the 70-hour cycle, and at least 72 consecutive hours off for the 120-hour cycle. At least once every 14 days, all drivers would be required to take at least 24 hours off.

Comments on the proposed regulation are being accepted over the next 60 days.