PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. — A commercial vehicle and safety enforcement officer with B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (BMTI) has died following a vehicle collision on Highway 5 near Valemount on Feb. 1. Toni Kristinsson, 40, was driving home at the end of his shift when his patrol vehicle collided with a commercial transport truck, the BMTI said in a statement. Kristinsson had worked for the ministry’s commercial vehicle and safety enforcement branch for a little more than three years and spent a majority of his time working in Robson Valley out of the Tete Jaune Inspection Station. The RCMP investigation into the incident is ongoing.
The province of British Columbia has announced the appointment of a container trucking commissioner to support better working conditions for these truckers and to ensure efficient and reliable operations at Port Metro Vancouver.
Andy Smith has been the president and CEO of the B.C. Maritime Employers Association since 2007 and was instrumental in successfully concluding two historic eight-year collective agreements (from 2010 to 2018) on the West Coast waterfront, the provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said in a press release on Feb. 3. Prior to this, Smith worked as an advisor to the president of Interfor, a major B.C. forest company, on labour, environmental and forest policy matters.
As part of his mandate to ensure long-term stability in the sector, Smith will:
- Assume responsibility for all truck licensing system licences in place, following a reform undertaken by Port Metro Vancouver;
- Establish and then consult with an Industry Advisory Committee (IAC) on issues relevant to the sector;
- Set any future rates based on consultations with industry and the IAC; and
- Oversee a whistleblower line, investigations and enhanced auditing and enforcement.
“I congratulate Andy Smith on his appointment,” said Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, in the release. “He brings with him a wealth of experience and in-depth knowledge of the sector, and I’m confident he’ll be able to positively engage with labour and industry and bring much needed stability to ports, which are of enormous importance to our provincial and national economies.”
With the appointment, the province is acting on recommendations by mediators Vince Ready and Corrin Bell under a March 2014 Joint Action Plan. It also follows the December enactment of the Container Trucking Act, which provids fair wages and working conditions for truckers to ensure the efficient operations and global competitiveness of Port Metro Vancouver.
The appointment also follows the December release of the proposed rate structure for truckers serving the port. The rate structure, announced on Dec. 15, is intended to provide fair wages to truckers. Retroactive to last April 3, hourly employees will be paid at least $25.13 on hire and $26.28 after one year of cumulative service, including benefits (COHSN, Dec. 22). Hourly paid independent operators will be paid $50.13 hourly on hire and $51.28 after one year of cumulative service, including benefits. In addition, short trips of less than five kilometres made by independent operators will be paid $50 per trip, and all truckers will be paid at a minimum of four hours of work for callout.