New rules for British Columbia log truckers delayed

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New regulations to cut back log-hauling hours in British Columbia are being delayed until early March, according to the Prince George Citizen. The changes had been expected to be implemented on Jan. 1, the same time changes to Canadian federal trucking hour regulations were to come into effect.

The delay means that log truckers will be working under the existing exemptions in British Columbia, which allow them to work 15 hours a day, seven days a week. “The reason we’re looking at early March now is because there are some legal technicalities we have to clarify,” Transportation Ministry spokesman Jeff Knight told the Citizen.

The province wants to ensure that the new rules are enforceable, Knight told the Citizen. He said the delay doesn’t mean there will be major changes to the draft regulations that were worked out during consultations with the forest industry, which included forest companies, loggers and truckers. The final decision on the new log-truck hour regulations rests with cabinet, Knight told the Citizen.

The proposed changes would limit log truckers to 65 hours of driving and 80 hours of on-duty time; that 80-hour-a-week work window is reduced from the current 105-hour work week allowed for log truckers. The changes also stipulate that log truckers can drive for 13 hours and be on duty a total of 15 hours a day; that’s one more hour than the new federal trucking regulations, which allow 13 hours of driving and one more hour of on-duty time. Log truckers also must have 24 hours of consecutive rest in a week, while the federal regulations call for 36 hours rest.

Forest companies hold back log hauling during periods they anticipate lower payments for timber harvests; conversely, companies also can ramp up hauling if they foresee higher payments. This strategy often puts pressure on haulers, who then have to deliver large volumes of timber in a short period.