OOIDA board approves affiliation with Canadian owner-operator group

| 9/20/2006

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association’s board of directors moved recently to proceed on an affiliation with the Owner-Operators’ Business Association of Canada. The OOIDA board made the decision last week at the Association’s fall board meeting at its Missouri-based headquarters.

Both associations assist, serve and represent the interests of commercial truck drivers.

Each association will keep its autonomy in name and membership, officials said, but a partnership means a common voice on trucking issues like border crossing, government affairs, regulations and judicial processes.

“We are anxious to move forward with this affiliation as it will be a great benefit to our Canadian members,” said OOIDA President and CEO Jim Johnston.

“An OOIDA/OBAC partnership will enable us to have an increased presence with the Canadian government, which will benefit both our U.S. members that travel to Canada and our Canadian members as well.”

The OOIDA Board of Directors voted unanimously to proceed with an affiliation. OBAC Executive Director Joanne Ritchie was a guest of the board. She made a presentation about the Canadian association, its membership, goals and history.

Ritchie told Land Line Magazine she welcomes support from OOIDA.

“We’ll be looking at the excellent array of OOIDA’s programs and services to determine what might be modified or adapted for the Canadian market, or used as templates to build our own,” she said. “Insurance and fuel programs will be important, as these represent critical, big-ticket items for owner-ops.”

While visiting OOIDA headquarters in Grain Valley, MO, Ritchie said she was impressed with the trucking experience and political savvy of the OOIDA board.

“What impressed me was how knowledgeable about the political system they were,” she said. “They know how it works and why it’s important, and how rules are made.”

Ritchie is no stranger to readers of Land Line Magazine and listeners to “Land Line Now” on XM Satellite Radio.

She stood with OOIDA to file comments against mandatory speed limiters in Ontario and across Canada, and has been an outspoken advocate on a number of issues facing owner-operators.

OBAC was formed in 2002 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Ritchie is the executive director, with 10 previous years of experience as a trucking industry analyst for the federal government in Canada. OBAC has a seven-member board of directors.

OOIDA was formed in 1973 in Grain Valley, MO, as a voice for truckers on Capitol Hill. Since then, the Association has grown to more than 144,000 members in all 50 states and Canada. Twenty-two directors serve on the OOIDA board. It is the largest and most influential organization representing drivers in North America.

Both groups are member-driven organizations. Executives, board members and staff work closely with the membership to formulate positions and pursue action on issues of importance to truckers.

– By David Tanner, staff writer