The Ontario government has temporarily waived some of the work rules governing truck drivers to help cope with the province’s fuel supply crunch, CBC reported Friday, March 2. The waiver will let petroleum haulers work longer hours until the situation stabilizes, and is to remain in place until March 15, the Ontario Trucking Association said.
Among the waived rules is the regulation that drivers and operators cannot drive after accumulating 70 hours on-duty in a seven-day period. OTA president David Bradley told CBC that the rule change should help ensure that fuel haulers don’t run out of hours before making their deliveries. “We anticipate that there will be long line-ups at the fuel-loading depots for the next while,” Bradley told CBC.
The shortages followed a Feb. 15 fire at Imperial Oil’s Nanticoke refinery, which severely limited the company’s ability to provide fuel supplies to its Esso outlets. With Esso stations running dry, that sparked a demand crunch at Petro-Canada and Shell stations as those two companies struggled to keep up with supplies. Imperial said last week that the Nanticoke refinery has begun processing fuel again, but full production is not expected until mid-March.
On Thursday, March 1, two fuel suppliers – Ultramar and Husky – warned of a shortage of diesel fuel in the province. Ultramar told CBC it suspended diesel deliveries at four Toronto-area filling stations, along with outlets in Hamilton, Cambridge and London. The outlets would remain open only as long as supplies lasted. Husky told CBC that several of its outlets were dry, and the company was limiting sales to 200 litres per transaction.