Leveling the playing field for the trucking industry

by Truck West

BANFF, Alta. – In business, it’s important to have a level playing field.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) has made achieving this its top priority, and the effort will address five key issues to reach its goal.

CTA president Stephen Laskowski underscored the five areas that need to be addressed during the Alberta Motor Transport Association’s (AMTA) 80th annual Leadership Conference and AGM in Banff, Alta., starting with Driver Inc.

In a nutshell, Driver Inc. is when a truck driver is hired by a company and then incorporates him/herself without any equipment (unlike an owner-operator). In doing this, these drivers drive the truck with no source deductions and remit nothing to the government. This is illegal.

“There’s no free lunch, everybody pays taxes,” said Laskowski, adding that labor is currently the trucking industry’s biggest struggle and there are no consequences for those participating in Driver Inc. “This is the biggest issue we need to fix and it’s fixable.”

Laskowski said Canada Revenue Agency must make an example of offender and show that there is no gray area when it comes to tax contributions.

Laskowski said source deduction payments from both the employee and employer represents between $12,000 and $15,000 per driver, and to reach $75 million per year it would take 5,000 misclassified drivers, or less than 2% of the total population. If 25% of all drivers were misclassified, it would cost the industry over $1.12 billion annually.

“This is a big level playing field issue,” he said. “It’s taking away good drivers from companies doing the right thing.”

Delete kits – which have stemmed from frustrations with cold starting and breakdowns – was the next issue raised by Laskowski.

The CTA president said the industry should be proud that it is the leading freight transportation sector investing in environmental equipment, and carrier cannot pick and choose their principles.

“You can’t play that game as an organization,” Laskowski said, adding that the CTA has brought this issue to the federal government.

Hours-of-service (HOS) and electronic logging devices (ELDs) is another issue.

Underscoring that ELDs do not change HOS regulation but rather moves them from paper to electronic platforms, Laskowski said in the past it was the customer that benefitted from non-compliance.

“I don’t think we can be defeated by the past, but we can learn from it,” he said, confirming that the industry does not want drivers who are fatigued and non-compliant.

Fleet safety compliance is another area that will help level the playing field for the industry.

Laskowski said the industry’s dedication to safety is evident, in that since the mid-90s there has been a 66% decline in the fatality rate from large truck collisions despite a 75% increase in truck traffic.

Labor compliance was the final aspect of the CTA’s five leveling the playing field effort.

Despite the fact that federally-regulated long-haul drivers must be paid overtime after 60 hours, more complaints are filed from the trucking sector than all others combined when it comes to this issue.

The CTA has been working with the government to develop a compliance document to address this concern.

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