Maple Leaf Motoring is a weekly rundown of developments in the world of Canadian transportation. This week: Cargo bikes enlisted in final-mile deliveries, trade looms large as election campaign starts and court rules against Sikh drivers in helmet case.
Last-mile delivery providers are swapping trucks for electric cargo bikes as part of a pilot project aimed at reducing emissions and traffic and improving road safety in downtown Montreal.
Montreal’s city government launched the Colibri project in its Ville-Marie borough on Sept. 12, with five delivery partners, including Canada’s largest courier, Purolator.
The one-year pilot has trucks unloading cargos at a former bus station, from which cargo bikes take them for the last part of the deliveries.
“The Colibri project will not only support our city’s shift to a greener future but also help improve the safety of road users by limiting the number of trucks in the city center,” Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said in a statement.
Purolator joined Colibri as part of its C$1 billion investment to increase capacity across its network. The company said it was introducing two e-cargo bikes for the pilot “that have the potential to revolutionize urban delivery.”
The program is entirely voluntary. The city said it hopes to enlist more companies in the future.
At the nearby Port of Montreal, terminal operator Tremont is making its truck fleet eco-friendly. Tremont announced on Sept. 9 that it will convert its 57 terminal tractors into hybrid-electric vehicles.
Trade with U.S. looms large as the federal election campaign begins
As Canada’s federal election campaign officially kicked off this week, the trade relationship with the U.S. featured prominently in the tight race between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party and Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives.
A new campaign ad from the Liberals asserts that the Trudeau government “stood up to Donald Trump” on trade, touting the agreement on the NAFTA successor, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, and the end of steel and aluminum tariffs.
Scheer, for his part, contends that Trudeau’s government secured a bad deal for Canada, though said he still plans to ratify the agreement.
Federal elections are set for Oct. 21.
Sikh truckers’ employer can require helmets at work sites, court rules
Quebec’s highest court rejected an appeal by three Sikh truckers who sought an exemption to a requirement to wear hard hats at a Port of Montreal work site.
The truckers, who wear turbans, argued that the requirement to use head protection outside their rigs violates their freedom of religion.
The court, in a Sept. 12 ruling, said that while the drivers’ employer breached their freedom of religion, it was justified for safety reasons.