OMCA Report
Apr. 4, 2014

Stop the trades tax campaign keeps rolling with another new member
OMCA via Canada Newswire
The campaign to stop the trades tax grew again with the Ontario Motor Coach Association joining the fight against the job-killing trades tax. "Our industry is facing a real shortage of trained mechanics and we're extremely concerned that this new tax and the bureaucracy associated with the new system are only going to serve to discourage young people from becoming mechanics" said Doug Switzer, President and CEO of the Ontario Motor Coach Association.More

Reserve your place at OTE
OMCA
OTE is just less one week away, April 13 – 16, and is offering exceptional educational sessions specifically for coach and school bus operators. Get the latest information on key industry topics and discover new tools that could help improve your operations. OTE is the place to expand your professional network and elevate your business. Looking at the Program-at-a-Glance, you'll see how this year's OTE business session line-up includes topics and issues facing the motor coach and school bus industry today. Here are just some of the workshops that bus operators won't want to miss:
• What drives coach insurance rates?
• MTO Carrier Safety & Enforcement Branch Update
• Explanation of the new annual and semi-annual bus inspection (PMVI) standard
• The latest on school bus competitive procurement
• Legal and operational implications of a troubled CVOR
• Dealing effectively with disruptive student behaviour: strategies and techniques
• Emerging issues in workers compensation: how will they impact you?
• How to improve school bus dispatcher effectiveness
• Driver nutrition and wellness
• Special needs school transportation: challenges and solutions
• Driver background checks
• AODA: the legal obligations of school bus operators
• MTO's new Driver Certification Program (DCP): is your organization ready?
• Saving money with propane fuel buses

To view the full OTE conference brochure and detailed session descriptions, go to: http://www.ote.ca/pdf/OTE-Conference-Info-Registration-Pkg.pdf

Reserve your place today by registering on-line at https://ote.ca/registration/conference_registration.cgi More

Join us for the Educational Tour Operator Meeting, April 24
OMCA
Later this month, OMCA will be holding a meeting for educational tour operators on Thursday, April 24 at the C.N. Tower in Toronto, ON. The meeting will begin at 10:00 a.m. until approximately 2:00 p.m. with a lunch provided. This meeting is an opportunity for educational tour operator members to come together to discuss issues affecting their industry and to provide input to the association on how OMCA may assist them. To register now, please contact Rozi Humphrey at rozi@omca.com. More

MTO officers stop treating 'restricted use' defects as 'out-of-service' defects effective April 1st
OMCA
As reported last December in OMCA Report, many years ago MTO created a list of various passenger-safety related bus equipment defects that, if discovered by an MTO officer during a facility visit or on-road inspection, results in the bus being placed into "restricted use." Once in "restricted use" the bus can still be operated but passengers cannot be carried, or in some cases, passengers can be carried if the defective component (loose seat, defective loading ramp, etc.) wasn't required on that trip.More

Ontario biodiesel regulations inch closer
Today's Trucking
The Ontario government announced that it's going ahead with a provincial biodiesel mandate, requiring the fuel to be made up of four per cent biofuel by 2017. The new regulation calls for three per cent biofuel content in all diesel fuel sold in the province as an intermediary phase before the full four per cent mandate begins in 2017 and northern Ontario is excluded from the mandate until 2017. More

Great Canadian Holidays & Coaches win 2 major awards
Exchange
Larry and Lorna Hundt, co-owners of Great Canadian Holidays & Coaches were presented the Motorcoach Operator of the Year award in front of a 3700 delegate convention for both UMA (United Motorcoach Association) and NTA (National Tour Association) in Los Angeles. They were honoured "for industry contributions and success in running one of the most well-regarded bus companies in North America." More

Highway 7 expansion won't start until 2016, leaked document suggests
Guelph Mercury
The Ontario Liberals plan to push back by another year the construction start date for a long-awaited upgrade of Highway 7 between Kitchener and Guelph, suggests a leaked document released by the Conservatives. The document, entitled Budget Rollout Calendar, indicates construction on a new 18-kilometre, four-lane highway between the two cities — originally announced in 2007 — will not begin until 2016-2017. The region had repeatedly been told construction would begin sometime in 2015. More

Ontario program offers $1 million for autonomous vehicle technology
Canadian Plastics
Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) has launched a $1 million program designed to develop autonomous and connected vehicle technologies in the province. Launched on behalf of the provincial transportation and research and innovation, the program will provide cash to projects that will improve traffic flow and safety of Ontario's roads. More

Ontario pumps $600,000 in Bluesfest, Folkfest
Ottawa Citizen
The Ontario government is giving the RBC Ottawa Bluesfest and the Ottawa Folk Festival each $300,000 to enhance programming and attract an expanded slate of artists, it was recently announced. The money comes from the Celebrate Ontario Fund which assists festivals throughout the province. "The funding will increase multiple-day pass sales and attract more out of province tourists to Bluesfest," said a news release. Bluesfest recently announced its 20th anniversary festival lineup and it will be held July 3-13 at LeBreton Flats Park.More

ONroute centres on-track for complete revamp
Daily Commercial News
Site contamination and public safety were some of the biggest concerns when creating the new ONroute service centres along Ontario's Highways 400 and 401. Following a competitive request for qualifications process, four companies were qualified to redevelop and operate 20 service centres.More

Boosting tourism in Greater Sudbury
Government of Ontario
The Ontario government is strengthening the northern tourism sector and helping attract visitors to Sudbury. With $500,000 in support from the province's Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC), Science North has developed its Arctic Voices travelling exhibit. More

Hwy. 400 crash stats in line with average
Simcoe.com
Despite two major crashes on Highway 400 between Cookstown and Barrie this winter, The Advance has learned your chances of getting into a crash on that stretch of road aren't any higher than in other parts of the province. According to the Ministry of Transportation, motorists have a five in one million chance of getting into a collision while on the provincial highway. More

As membership changes, so does motorcoach association
Associations Now
The Florida Motorcoach Association is undergoing a bit of a makeover. After realizing a shift in its membership base, the association recently announced it was updating its organizational structure and meeting format.More

Border shakeup could have tax consequences for snowbirds
Financial Post
Canadian and U.S. authorities are about to make a dramatic shift in the way they determine the residency of individuals who split their time between both countries, and snowbirds unprepared for the changes could face serious tax consequences. More

Driving lessons in snow and winter conditions
By Jack Webber
Driving during the summer and winter are two completely different things. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. I have heard many stories about how such-and-such did not let the weather change how they drove. They are usually the ones who end up in the ditch at the first sign of snow. More

Transportation cuts in northern Ontario 'disconnects' residents
CBC News
The MP for Timmins James Bay says he's concerned about access to transportation in this region. Bearskin Airlines recently announced it will cut service between the northeast and Ottawa. And, after the federal government cut its funding, Algoma Rail may not run this season between Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst. More