Author: Jill McBeth
Date: July 8, 2024

PLAYING FAIR AT THE RODEO

It’s Rodeo season in Alberta! Albertans attend local rodeos to celebrate the important history of the rodeo and more importantly the impact livestock and agriculture have on our community. When listening to the opening remarks of the various elected officials that attend these rodeos remember this, Alberta Transportation and Economic Corridors created a special permit for the oil and gas industry. A permit that is not available to the livestock transportation sector despite the urgent need and requests from those drivers and carriers. See my blog The dirty business of lobbying and the impact on road safety for the specific details of that sketchy deal.

The oilfield exemption permit exempts federally regulated drivers operating under the oilfield permit from using a ELD (Electronic Logging Device), exempts the driver from the cycle restrictions and does not require the driver to record a work shift start and end time, only total hours. Federally regulated livestock transportation companies are required to install ELD’s and those drivers have zero exemptions.

The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration), the United States  transportation regulatory body, has a livestock transportation exemption, 395.1 (k)(4) (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation). The exemption was built into the ELD regulation and no permit is required. The ELD mandate in Canada requires a certified ELD to be programmed with the Canadian and the United States hours of service rules. The basis of the NAFTA agreement was to facilitate cross border trade between Canada, Mexico and the United States. How does allowing an exemption for US drivers but not Canadian drivers operating in the United States make any sense or respects the spirit of NAFTA?

The Alberta government mandate is focused on revenue generation and building the Alberta War Chest. If Alberta Transportation and Economic Corridors is not interested in allowing a free exemption for Livestock Transportation providers, then establish a Livestock ELD permit and make some money. The Province of Manitoba issues an ELD exemption permit why can’t Alberta?

The Honourable Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Alberta Transportation and Economic Corridors just announced in a news release July 4, 2024; Alberta is marking more than a year of working with Saskatchewan and Manitoba through the Prairies Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to advance economic corridors and enhance collaboration with Alberta’s prairie neighbours. To date, the three provinces have achieved harmonization of regulations related to commercial carriers that improve both safety and regulatory requirements.

By keeping the momentum of the Prairies MOU going, we can continue to lead the way in building economic corridors, cutting red tape, and creating jobs. This paves the way to make nation-building projects a reality again in western Canada.” Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Transportation and Economic Corridors

While the Prairies Memorandum of Understanding was supposed to harmonize regulations, the absence of ELD permits or ELD interpretations for commercial carriers in Alberta raises questions about consistency and accountability. It is crucial for commercial carriers to advocate for a level playing field and demand transparency from Alberta Transportation and Economic Corridors.

As Albertans gather to celebrate Rodeo season and the contributions of livestock and agriculture, it's essential to address the unequal treatment of transportation providers in the province. The disparities in ELD exemptions highlight broader issues of fairness, safety, and accountability within the industry. It’s not nice to play favorites. 

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