OTTAWA, Ont. — The federal government should consider creating a separate labour standards law for truck drivers, the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) recommended today in Halifax, N.S. during its appearance before the Commission on the Review of Federal Labour Standards.
That’s because the trucking industry is very different from the factory or shop floor for which the current law was designed, according to David Bradley, CEO of the Alliance.
“Trucking does not fit into the standard definition of an industrial establishment no standard work week or fixed method of payment,” said Bradley. “So we’re recommending a new section of Part III dealing exclusively with truck drivers, that will better accommodate what drivers and company owners are trying to achieve.”
The review commission touted as the first comprehensive examination of labour standards since the original legislation was enacted in 1965 was created to produce recommendations for legislative changes to modernize federal labour standards (compensation methods, overtime triggers, vacation and holiday pay, etc.) and ensure that they remain relevant and effective in the 21st century. As part of its mandate the commission can also make recommendations of a non-legislative nature for consideration by government as well as business and labour organizations.
“Trucking as an industry is a very large client of Labour Canada, as any motor carrier whose vehicles cross a provincial or international boundary on a regular basis is within federal jurisdiction,” Bradley said during his presentation to the commission. In fact, a survey of Labour Affairs Officers administering Canada Labour Code Part III showed that about 55 per cent of all federally regulated employees were engaged in trucking, Bradley pointed out.
The CTA’s top three recommendations are as follows:
1) That the federal government create a separate law for truck drivers, distinct from the general provisions of Part III, to recognize and accommodate the underpinnings of labour standards in the trucking industry.
2) That the distinction between employees (company drivers) and entrepreneurial actors (owner-operators/leased operators/independent contractors) be maintained; certain guidelines should be set out which, if followed, would guarantee parties that their selection of independent contractor status (if they are owner-operators) will be respected.
3) That the overtime thresholds for employee drivers should remain as they currently are 45 or 60 hours per week, depending on the characteristics of the driving task; that the overtime rate should remain at time-and-a-half, but the distinction between the drivers who get overtime at 45 and those who get overtime at 60 hours be clarified, with language that is easy to understand for both employer and employee.
“Any changes to the CLC Part III will have a substantial impact on all federally regulated trucking operations,” Bradley concluded. “This industry is a key component of Canada’s economic success, both in domestic markets and internationally. Therefore, while changes may be needed, they should focus on bringing clarity and certainty to labour standards, without impairing industry and driver productivity.”
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