Mark Richards, a professional driver based in Windsor, says he’s being punished by the MTO for simply doing the right thing. The trucker admits that last year he was signed on with a rather unscrupulous carrier. He says the company was one of those fly-by-night operations you hear horror stories about, its owner well-known to Ministry of Labour officials who say he made a habit of starting up new trucking companies and then shutting them down, leaving a string of unpaid debts in his wake.
Having had his fill of endangering his life and the lives of others while driving unroadworthy equipment, Richards pulled into a MTO inspection station last July and asked for a voluntary inspection to be conducted on his company-owned truck. The results were predictable: An oil leak, a brake system leak, excessive tire wear, dead light bulbs…you name it.
However, despite the fact Richard took the truck in and had it inspected voluntarily, he insists his abstract is now blemished by the MTO’s findings, hindering his ability to find work with a more reputable carrier.
“I hate the government for what it’s doing to me,” a frustrated Richards told me on the phone. “They’re affecting my life and all I’m trying to do is my job.”
Richards has come to accept the fact he’s stuck with a scarred driver’s abstract for the next five years. But what really irks him is that he’s still owed several thousand dollars – and he says the owner has since launched yet another trucking company.
It’s amazing that people can get away with stunts like this. Richards says the Ministry of Labour has been sympathetic towards his plight, but they still have not been able to help him recover unpaid wages. And the MTO has refused to wipe his record clean. The moral of the story: Be careful who you work for. There are still some rogue operators out there. And doing the right thing doesn’t always pay, but at least you can sleep well at night.
James Menzies is editor of Truck News magazine. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies. All posts by James Menzies