As you know by now, in March the Government of Ontario announced that as part of its deficit-reduction plan it was introducing “modest and gradual” increases in vehicle licence fees which had not been increased since 1988.
However, as we also now know, the increases are neither modest nor gradual. Heavy commercial vehicle validation fees are going up by 70 per cent — a huge escalation by any measure. Moreover, this increase is taking place over a 12-month period with the first 30 per cent kicking in December 1 of this year, followed by another 40 per cent December 1, 2013.
This type of astronomical increase would be difficult to cope with in good times. We don’t need to tell you how much more difficult it will be in the current fragile and uncertain economic environment. There is nothing we can do about the first 30 per cent increase, but we can do something about the second 40 per cent installment. Ontario’s transportation minister has recently informed the Ontario Trucking Association that he is prepared to consider alternative approaches. This is a good thing but it would help our cause if all MPPs, especially the Minister of Finance, understood the gravity of the situation.
That’s where you come in. It is imperative that the voices of as many carriers and owner-operators be heard as is possible. OTA has made it easy for you by launching an automatic email campaign. To participate in the campaign, all you have to do is click here or go to www.ontruck.org and click on the ‘Put the Brakes on 70% icon.’ All you have to do then is enter your name, company, address and postal code (you need to enter this information in order to receive a reply from your MPP); hit send; and a message (which you can see at the bottom of this page) will be automatically be sent to your MPP, the finance minister and the minister of transportation telling them how you feel about the 70 per cent increase and what should be done about it.
At the same time, OTA has also launched a page on Facebook. This page (click here) encourages carriers and owner-operators to provide feedback and discuss among each other how this policy affects your business. We also encourage you join the conversation on Twitter. Tweet @Ontruck with comments on the licence plate fees and our email campaign by including in the message the hashtag: #Stop70percent
The more people from the industry that participate, the better, so don’t delay and please pass this message along to your owner-operators and others in the industry. We suspect many non-OTA members are just waking up to what is happening so encourage them to voice their opinions as well.