Thursday, June 11, 2009

Baird rescinds OC's work/rest exemption

Federal Transport Minister and Ottawa West-Nepean Conservative MP John Baird has "decreed" that the exemption given to transit operators under federal jurisdiction no longer stands.

The work/rest rules were part of the City of Ottawa's rationale for changing scheduling conventions for OC Transpo during the city's 53-day transit strike, and was a serious sticking point for drivers. This announcement marks the beginning of the final resolution of the dispute, which is still awaiting the results of binding arbitration on the terms of the final contract.

From the Ottawa Citizen:
Twenty years ago, the handful of municipalities whose transit systems are regulated by the federal government requested exemptions from rules that cover commercial drivers, like truckers. The rules set a maximum of 14 hours of driving and eight hours of rest per day and require at least one day off every 14 days.

The exemption was given, but as a result, a small number of drivers, including at OC Transpo took advantage of the situation to work very long hours with little rest for weeks at a time.


... the federal transport minister and Ottawa West-Nepean Conservative MP John Baird promised to review the exemption, which was in affect in Ottawa, Gatineau and Windsor.

After a two-month examination of the issue, Baird decreed the changes Wednesday.

See also: Ottawa Metro

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