Trucking meeting highlights new measures to fight “Driver Inc”

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by Emily Atkins

On Monday, federal labour minister Seamus O’Regan met with the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) and Teamsters to discuss targeted investments to address misclassification of trucking jobs, and protect the rights of road transportation workers.

In the trucking industry, there is a long history of companies using the misleading “Driver Inc.” practice, whereby drivers are encouraged – against their will – to incorporate and claim to operate as independent contractors.

By misclassifying employees as independent contractors, companies are denying them important rights and entitlements under the Canada Labour Code, such as paid sick leave, health and safety standards, employer contributions to Employment Insurance and the Canada Pension Plan, and workplace injury compensation.

“A lot of truckers aren’t getting the pensions or paid sick leave that they’re entitled to. So, we’re ramping up labour law enforcement to put a stop to that,” O’Regan said. “Workers should get the benefits they’ve earned.”

To protect truck drivers against this illegal practice, the federal Fall economic statement proposed $26.3 million over five years, starting in 2023-24, to take stronger action against non-compliant employers through orders and fines to enforce the Code. This will make sure workers receive the benefits they work for.

This investment will expand the government’s capacity to enforce existing labour misclassification provisions in the Code.

“On behalf of the CTA, its members, drivers and their families, we very much appreciated seeing the Government of Canada make stamping out Driver Inc. a top priority in the fall Economic Statement and we are encouraged that Minister O’Regan is leading the charge,” said Stephen Laskowski, president of the Canada Trucking Alliance.

“We thank him for his leadership and commitment on this issue. Driver Inc. is an unlawful practice that involves gross labour misclassification, abuse of workers, forced labour and significant corporate tax evasion. We welcome the chance to work with the Government of Canada to stamp out this practice as quickly as possible.”