MCC News

CTA Seeking Feedback on Accessible Transportation Regulations

The Canadian Transportation Agency is preparing to introduce accessible transportation regulations for small and medium-sized businesses in Canada. These regulations are currently intended to apply to charter operators that cross provincial and international borders. Motor Coach Canada has previously made submissions to the Canadian Transportation Agency and will continue to do so, however, your feedback is critical to ensuring that the impact on your business is mitigated.

THE CTA IS SEEKING FEEDBACK FROM YOU BEFORE MARCH 31, 2021. 

The discussion paper can be found here: https://otc-cta.gc.ca/eng/discussion-paper-accessible-transportation-guidelines-medium-and-small-transportation-service

The ATPDR (Accessible Transportation for Persons with Disabilities Regulations) can be found here: https://otc-cta.gc.ca/eng/consultation/accessible-transportation-consultation

The questions that the CTA is asking members of the industry are below. Please provide responses to consultations@otc-cta.gc.ca and please send a CC to jennifer@motorcoachcanada.com so that MCC can echo your concerns in the association submission.

QUESTIONS FOR TRANSPORTATION SERVICE PROVIDERS

  1. For medium TSPs – which are currently expected to be in compliance with the ATPDR – please explain what specific provisions, if any, may be difficult to continue implementing if and when your customer volumes drop below those that trigger coverage by the ATPDR. Please provide clear substantiation for your position, taking into account the requirement under Part V of the Act to remove barriers to travel by persons with disabilities and to accommodate their disability-related needs up to the point of undue hardship.
  2. For small TSPs, please explain what technical and operational challenges might make it difficult to implement provisions of the ATPDR. What specific areas or provisions of the ATPDR are a challenge? What alternatives can be offered to be able to reach the same outcome in terms of the level of accessibility?

QUESTIONS FOR ALL INTERESTED STAKEHOLDERS

  1. What practices are working well to deliver accessibility with Canada’s small Transportation Service Providers? Are there any practices that might be considered as a model for other Transportation Service Providers?
  2. What further suggestions do you have for the accessible transportation guidelines applicable to medium and small Transportation Service Providers?

SEND YOUR RESPONSE NOW

Member Webinar Announced – Jan. 28th @ 1pm EST

Join us January 28th for a discussion about Applicability of HST and the definition of “Continuous Journey”.

Over recent months several questions and concerns have been raised about the accurate application of HST and the definition of “continuous journey”.  The CRA’s definition of continuous journey may not accurately reflect industry practices.  Motor Coach Canada will host Ron Choudhury, Partner with Miller Thomson LLP to look at real life scenarios where the applicability of HST should apply based on CRA current “continuous journey” definitions.  Ron Choudhury will provide clarity to members and members will be given an opportunity to provide feedback to MCC to understand if members are applying HST correctly or if members are at risk.

Protect yourself from costly CRA audits by knowing what the regulations tell us. 

Ask your questions and get some answers from an expert in sales tax and GST/HST issues associated with transportation law.

Register Here

MCC Requests Extension from CTA

In June, some elements of the ATPDR (Accessible Transportation for Persons with Disabilities Regulations) were slated to come into force and MCC was successful in obtaining an exemption on three requirements contained the in ATPDR. The exemption is specifically related to:

  1. website updates
  2. on board entertainment
  3. staff training and related reporting requirements

The exemption expires in January of 2021, as such Motor Coach Canada has written to the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) seeking an ongoing extension to the exemption. Read the letter below:

Fall Economic Statement – What This Means For Our Industry

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Chrystia Freeland, presented the Fall Economic Statement giving Canadians an idea of what this pandemic has cost our country so far and what additional support Canadians can expect as we continue to push through this crisis.

Here are some support highlights from the economic statement that may help MCC member companies:

NEW Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP)
The government will work with financial institutions in the near term to create the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) – a new program for the hardest hit businesses, including those in sectors, like tourism and hospitality, hotels, arts and entertainment. This stream will offer 100 percent government-guaranteed financing for heavily impacted businesses, and provide low-interest loans of up to $1 million over extended terms, up to ten years. Rates will be lower than those offered in BCAP and beneath typical market rates for hard hit sectors. No further details about HASCAP are available at this time.

Members have repeatedly indicated that borrowing more money from the government is not ideal and instead are seeking grants.  At this time we have no indication that grant funds will be awarded.  

Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) Expansion:
The government announced the $962-million Regional Relief and Recovery Fund on April 17, providing significant funding through Canada’s Regional Development Agencies. The government increased funding on October 2, bringing total support to more than $1.5 billion.

  • To better ensure the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund can continue to support small businesses unable to access other federal pandemic support programs, including replicating newly announced Canada Emergency Business Account loan limit increases, the government is proposing a top-up of up to $500 million, on a cash basis, to Regional Development Agencies and the Community Futures Network of Canada, bringing total funding to over $2.0 billion in this fund.
  • The government is also proposing to provide up to $3 million to the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency for foundational economic development projects that will support small businesses in Canada’s Territories.
  • To better tailor support to businesses in Western Canada, in recognition of its diverse regional economies, the government proposes to introduce a new approach to regional development in the West by creating separate regional development agencies for British Columbia and the Prairies, adding a new, seventh Regional Development Agency in British Columbia. Additional details and investments will follow.
  • Support for Tourism and Hospitality
    Recognizing the importance of the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund in supporting local tourism businesses, the government will earmark a minimum of 25 per cent of all the Fund’s resources to support local tourism businesses, providing more than $500 million in program support through June 2021.

Several members have received funding under this program and MCC encourages members to consider exploring funds under the RRRF. 

Note: The government is exploring options to enhance the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) program to respond to the specific liquidity needs of a greater number of large Canadian businesses.

Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) Extension:
The recently launched Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy provides direct and easy-to-access rent and mortgage support from September 27 2020 until June 2021 for qualifying organizations affected by COVID-19. The current rate provides a subsidy, on a sliding scale, up to a maximum of 65 per cent until December 19, 2020.

  • In order to support business through the second wave and the winter season, the government is proposing to extend the current subsidy rates of the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy for an additional three periods, keeping the base subsidy rate of up to 65 per cent available until March 13, 2021.

Motor Coach Canada is seeking an exemption to the 25% top up requirement based on lockdown measures. The motor coach and tour sector is not operating regardless of where the business is located and therefore the lockdown qualifier should not apply. 
 

Lockdown Support Program Extension:
Organizations that must shut their doors or significantly restrict their activities under a public health order due to a lockdown are eligible for an additional 25 per cent top-up, in addition to the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy base subsidy of up to 65 per cent until December 19, 2020. This means hard-hit businesses can receive up to 90 per cent support for rent.

  • The government is proposing to extend the rate of 25 per cent for the Lockdown Support for an additional three periods, until March 13, 2021.

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) Expansion and Extension:
As previously announced in the Speech from the Throne, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy has been extended until June 2021. The government has also recently announced that the subsidy rates are to remain at their current level so that the maximum subsidy rate of 65 per cent of eligible wages would remain until December 19, 2020 and has made the wage subsidy more flexible by  allowing employers to access the maximum subsidy rate based on a single month’s revenue decline instead of having to demonstrate three months’ decline.

  • Given the ferocity of the second wave and its expected economic impact, the government is proposing to increase the maximum subsidy rate to 75 per cent for the period beginning December 20, 2020 and to extend this rate until March 13, 2021, to provide greater certainty to employers.

Motor Coach Canada has recently lobbied for the extension of a minimum of 65% top up for the motor coach and tour sector with respect to the CEWS. This is welcome news.  


Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) Expansion and Extension:
Initially providing loans of up to $40,000, with up to $10,000 forgivable, the CEBA program will soon be expanded, allowing qualifying businesses to access an additional interest-free $20,000 loan, in situations where there is need. Half of this additional amount, up to $10,000, would be forgivable if the loan is repaid by December 31, 2022. The CEBA program has been extended to small businesses that have not been operating from a commercial banking account, who are now able to apply for the CEBA, provided that they have successfully opened a new commercial account and fully meet the eligibility requirements of the program. Loans are provided through financial institutions, such as banks and credit unions, in cooperation with Export Development Canada. The deadline to apply for a CEBA loan has been extended to March 31, 2021.


Support for Workers in the Live Events and Arts Sectors:
To support the planning and presentation of COVID-19-safe events and the arts — including both live and digital — and to provide work opportunities in these sectors, the government will provide $181.5 million in 2021-22 to the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Canada Council for the Arts to expand their funding programs. This includes a one-year renewal of funding provided in Budget 2019 for the Building Communities through Arts and Heritage program, the Canada Arts Presentation Fund and the Canada Music Fund.


Support for Festivals and Events:
The government understands that certain major live events and festivals will require unique support. The government will work with industry to prevent the closure of unique and irreplaceable flagship events and festivals across Canada, and to ensure the survival of key, globally-recognized assets in this sector.

To read the full Fall Economic Statement, see the link below:
https://www.budget.gc.ca/fes-eea/2020/report-rapport/toc-tdm-en.html

‘Let’s Talk’ Transportation Initiative to Introduce New Regulations

The Government of Canada is conducting consultations for Let’s Talk Transportation initiative, which identifies new measures that will be introduced into regulation aimed at safety technologies. 

They are:

  1. New regulations requiring infraction cameras, extended stop signal arms and exterior 360° cameras on all new school buses
  2. Regulations requiring automatic emergency braking systems and pedestrian automatic emergency braking systems on all vehicles including coaches and school buses
  3. Advanced driver assistance technologies such as;
    • Advanced braking systems for motorcycles
    • Emergency brake assist
    • Electronic stability control for medium vehicles
    • Emergency stop signal
    • Regenerative braking signal
    • Accident emergency call system
    • Blind spot information system (heavy vehicles)
    • Blind spot detection/warning
    • Lane departure warning
    • Lane keep assist
    • Level 2 and Level 3 systems
    • 360° cameras
    • Camera monitoring systems
    • Intelligent speed assist
    • Rear-visibility system (medium and heavy vehicles)
    • Driver drowsiness and distraction monitoring

Below are links to the consultations and the background documents.  Members that submit comments are asked to also share their comments with MCC by sending it to jennifer@motorcoachcanada.com  which will allow us to consider all concerns and issues when preparing a submission.

Please note that the following public consultations were published on Tuesday September 1st, 2020, on Transport Canada’s Let’s Talk Transportation platform:

Improving School Bus Safety in Canada
https://letstalktransportation.ca/road-safety-school-bus

Should automatic emergency braking systems be required for new vehicles?
https://letstalktransportation.ca/road-safety-aeb

Creating a standard for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems
https://letstalktransportation.ca/road-safety-adas

These are informal consultations as part of the pre-regulatory process. Please read the background documents available through the web links above, and provide your feedback to the questions included in each consultation and background document. These consultations will be open for comments until September 30th, 2020.

Operator Waiver and Release Templates

Following the July 30th webinar with  lawyer Andrew Buck of Pitblado LLP on the liabilities of bus and tour operators when passengers contract COVID-19, MCC responded to the feedback from members asking for assistance in creating a COVID waiver for future services.

MCC has now secured a waiver for all members to use in an effort to limit liability when passengers may attempt to claim that a tour or motor coach travel contributed to a confirmed case of COVID19.  The legalese of matters such as waivers are complex, we therefore encourage all members to consult their own legal counsel for any nuances that may be required for specific business needs. 

Click here to view more

Transport Canada’s Federal safety guidance to protect drivers and limit the spread of COVID-19 in commercial vehicle operations

In August of 2020, Transport Canada released a Federal safety guidance to protect drivers and limit the spread of COVID-19 in commercial vehicle operations outlining measures that should be taken before, during and after each trip.

Read more at https://tc.canada.ca/en/initiatives/covid-19-measures-updates-guidance-issued-transport-canada/federal-safety-guidance-protect-drivers-limit-spread-covid-19-commercial-vehicle-operations