Maple Leaf Motoring is a weekly rundown of developments in the world of Canadian trucking. This week, Alberta drops its carbon tax, Saskatchewan mandates driver training for farmers, and the federal government offers efficiency incentives.
Alberta’s government stopped collecting the province’s carbon tax on May 30. For truckers, that means savings of about C$0.08 per liter of diesel, the equivalent of around $0.22 per gallon in the U.S.
Premier Jason Kenney made scrapping the tax a central part of his election platform earlier in 2019. However, he canceled a celebration of the levy’s demise because of smoke from wildfires engulfing large parts of the province.
Kenney, of the United Conservative Party, has argued that the carbon tax did not impact emissions while hurting the province’s businesses.
The Liberal federal government under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will likely impose its own carbon tax on oil-rich Alberta quickly. This would be in line with other provinces that lack their own pricing schemes agreeable to the federal government in Ottawa.
“We’re looking to do this as soon as possible,” the federal Minister of the Environment, Catherine McKenna said.
Ontario and Saskatchewan are fighting the tax in federal court. The issue will likely feature prominently in federal elections this fall.
Feds to reinvest carbon revenue into trucking
The Canadian government is offering nearly C$150 million (the Canadian dollar equals US$0.74) in funding to small and medium businesses for projects and equipment related to energy sufficiency. The funds, coming from the government’s carbon pricing scheme, cover all sectors, including transportation.
The funding is available in the four provinces with federally mandated carbon pricing – Ontario, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Manitoba.
The Canadian Trucking Association has pushed the government to return carbon tax revenues to the trucking industry to support efforts to make fleets more environmentally friendly.
Saskatchewan extends mandatory driver training to farm semis
Saskatchewan will require 40 hours of training before drivers can get an endorsement to operate semi-trucks on farms.
The province had initially granted a temporary exemption to farmers when it instituted mandatory trucker training in March. The requirement takes effect in 2020.
Some 12,000 semi-trucks are registered to farms in Saskatchewan, according to the Regina Leader-Post. Most existing drivers who have Class 1 licenses are expected to be grandfathered in.
The new requirement is part of a growing effort across Canada to improve training standards in the wake of the deadly 2018 crash. Sixteen people died after a truck struck a bus carrying members of the Humboldt Broncos hockey team.
Canada does not have a national training standard for drivers, though the federal government says it wants to implement one by 2020. The widow of a truck driver killed when another trucker lost control of his vehicle in 2017 has also sent a petition to Canada’s House of Commons, demanding national training standards.