Government meets with CTOA on incorporated drivers, pledges to drop ‘Driver Inc.’ term

Federal Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan and several MPs met with members of the Canada Truck Operators Association (CTOA) this week, discussing the roles of incorporated truck drivers and vowing to end references to “Driver Inc.” when referencing how drivers are classified.

The meeting, held May 23 at MP Iqwinder Gaheer’s (Mississauga-Malton) office, included representatives from more than 20 CTOA member carriers, the labour minister, and MPs Charles Sousa, Sonia Sidhu, and Ruby Sahota, in addition to the host.

It came just one week after the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) and Teamsters held a strongly worded press conference at Parliament Hill, condemning the misclassification of truck drivers under the scheme that CTA has labeled Driver Inc. But that’s not language you’ll hear from the federal government, according to CTOA leader Jaskaran Sandhu, who shared details of the meeting with

“There were a few things [O’Regan] made very, very clear in that meeting,” Sandhu said. “First and foremost, he assured and promised the industry and our association that from here on in, the term Driver Inc. will never be used by the government. It is a deeply problematic term that unfairly maligns incorporated drivers. In fact, they stated you may have already noticed they don’t use that term anymore after learning how it was weaponized within some circles of our industry.”

Incorporated drivers ‘not going anywhere’

Furthermore, Sandhu said carriers received assurances that “incorporated drivers as a model within the industry is not going anywhere. It will continue to be an important part of how the government sees the labor shortage being tackled in the industry.”

Government officials also indicated incorporated drivers will have to meet criteria that establishes them as independent operators – not employee drivers. Enforcement, however, will be educational in nature and, according to Sandhu, will not be “targeted” against any segment of the industry. Any enforcement action from the Ministry of Labour’s Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) will only be prompted from complaints originating from within a trucking company.

“The government was clear, and our association agrees, that where there is misclassification as per the existing rules, the government will work with carriers to solve those problems,” Sandhu said.

“Drivers who knowingly and freely choose to work as independent contractors are legitimate and recognized. Tackling worker misclassification means cracking down on the bad actors who deny labor rights to their employees by designating them as independent contractors. We’re taking an education-first approach to enforcement, so we can support drivers and root out those giving independent contractors a bad name,” the labor minister’s office said in a statement to

Labour Minister Seamus O'Regan meets with CTOA
(Photo: Supplied)

Education-driven responses

Educational initiatives were discussed, such as a seminar the CTOA will host alongside the government to raise awareness about the issue of driver misclassification.

“Enforcement is going to be education-driven, not the kind of clampdown I think some people thought government was going to do. Much more education-driven,” Sandhu said. “The government knows and understands this issue is much more complex than is being presented by legacy organizations.”

The association was assured that enforcement initiatives will originate from employee complaints.

“There is no targeted campaign coming,” Sandhu said. “We are happy to work with [government] to make sure when people are choosing to be an incorporated driver it is something done out of choice.”

He added, “the government recognized the manner in which the incorporated driver model has been labeled as something that is exploitive is patently false, that in most cases drivers are choosing to be incorporated and they enjoy a lot of the freedoms that amount to an independent relationship.”

A spokesman from O’Regan’s office confirmed to, speaking on background, that the meeting took place, and that the term Driver Inc. won’t be used by government as the term has been deemed “toxic” and doesn’t reflect the gig economy beyond the driving profession.

  • This story has been updated to include comments from the Office of the Labour Minister.

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James Menzies is editor of Today's Trucking. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 20 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.

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  • “Driver Inc” is toxic verbiage?? give me a break.

    Soft Hands, Soft Policy, Soft Results.

    • Well said no new driver to Canada should be use and have to be paid payroll for the first 5 years

  • So to translate this…

    It’s okay to be a tax cheat and steal from Canadians as long as you have your ethnic group to back you because the Liberals wouldn’t want to offend them.

    Driver Inc are thieves.
    Sadly this government doesn’t have the spine to stand up to them

  • All drivers need go to payroll , because they cheating tax , even they don’t get any benefits and coverage , I driving 35 years at payroll I am happy

  • Holy batshit, this is unbelievable these illegal drivers models are really undermining the legitimate carriers. Government has to move forward and rid the industry of this blight

  • Hugely disappointing. CRA will not be able to audit the hundreds (thousands??) of “businesses” this has produced.

  • Seems like Minister Seamus O’Regan, is more interested in capturing the ethnic vote then adhering to the traditional Transportation Industry Federal & Provincial Employment and Contract laws, where all Employer Contributions such as; EI (Employment Insurance), WSIB, CPP, Income Tax and EHT are paid to or on behalf of the Driver.

    He also seems willing to forgo approximately a Billion Dollars in Tax Revenue, which over time could turn into $4 Billion. I guess that is what you call buying votes!!!

  • This is how you flex your political muscles, folks. The CTOA has brought the pesky government into line. Weaponized language? Educational enforcement? Driver originated complaints and investigations? The Feds did everything but say they are sorry and buy some flowers. The mis-classification of drivers and the resulting non-payment of taxes and contributions to CPP, much less funding government services, will continue unabated. The chance of a driver meeting all of the requirements to be appropriately classified as “independent ” by CRA is almost nil but our current government can sense the political wind if nothing else.

  • In my opinion, Driver Inc. is a way of these greedy individuals who come to Canada and enjoy all the benefits that the country offers which has been made possible by taxpayers money but rather choose not to do same. They rather use all means necessary to dodge the taxation system of the country by choosing Driver Inc – they do not own any equipment, they do not have maintenance expenses, neither do they have any overheads. Yet they are independent drivers – All these drivers must surely be on payroll as everyone that works in Canada. This is very unfair to all hard-working and tax-paying Canadian Citizens and residents. This cheating must stop! And I hope a government that can stand up to these cheats will emerge one of these days – sometime soon!

  • This is nothing but the same fleets who broke away from OTA because they wanted to lobby the government for their law breaking, tax cheating trucking companies.
    Trying to quite Driver Inc. because it labels them as they are, will not change in the trucking industry.
    Play by rules or leave the industry.

  • Yes you have destroyed your country now you want to work on Canada. We have rules if you don’t like them leave !
    This is one of the main reasons our healthcare and other things in this country are suffering, half these people don’t pay their taxes or other thing like WCB .

  • At one time I did operate as ‘Driver Inc.’ but was very careful to meet CRA requirements for the title.
    I contracted to more than one carrier, operating as a ‘spare board’ for hire. I had my own tools, paid for claims, and had the risk of profit and loss. When I wasn’t driving for someone – I didn’t have EI to protect my income.
    This concept has been around forever. Most ‘contractors’ only work for 1 carrier, and think they are in business because they were told to call themselves contractors.
    We see more people coming to us wanting to be ‘contract’ drivers and most are people new to Canada, whether they are from Asia, eastern Europe or Africa. Much of this is culture related and in some cases these people are actually indentured to the people or company that has helped them emigrate.
    Education and internal complaints won’t solve lifelong cultural learning.

  • It’s not a fair playing field , the speed limiters, contractor status verses employees, even equipment financing through other means then lending companies. I pay my taxes and follow laws etc for taxes & operating as well .
    And the training and our highways safety has become effected . I’d like to see laws followed & public safety met. Not these guys flying down the road to make minimal pay .

  • these comments all come from the CTOA, not from the government, dont you think in fairness’ to the industry, you should check this story with the government folks
    what i am hearing is entirely different to what this article stipulates and of course its very dangerous as it makes it seem like the government is now condoning fraud and tax cheats, and if they are, i would sure like to know that because all the carriers can do the same thing to equalize the playing field
    this article should mention that driver inc drivers have no protection, are paid minimum wages when all the hours are factored in, have no overtime pay, no holiday pay, no medical leave pay and are responsible to do their own tax reports and i find it hard to believe the government condones this as the CTOA are saying in your report
    i think it needs to be corrected asap, before everyone thinks its OK to operate illegally

    • I agree with what you’ve 100%.
      If this is the government’s position then every company in Canada not just trucking companies should switch to this way of paying for labor!