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Carriers win landmark settlement on behalf of O/Os

Imagine receiving a registered letter out of the blue along with a cheque for more than $10,000. Imagine that cheque coming from a carrier you once worked for, on behalf of Canada Revenue Agency. Sound unlikely?


Imagine receiving a registered letter out of the blue along with a cheque for more than $10,000. Imagine that cheque coming from a carrier you once worked for, on behalf of Canada Revenue Agency. Sound unlikely?

Unexpected payments from the taxman are rare, if not unheard of. Yet, dozens of carriers will soon be reaching out to hundreds of owner/operators to disperse their share of what could amount to some $15 million.

I’m referring of course, to this month’s cover story that I first posted on Trucknews.com Jan. 19 just after the February issue went to press. (It’s always the way, isn’t it?)

The payouts stem from an interesting court case that contended fuel purchased in Canada and consumed in the US should be eligible for excise tax rebates since it was ultimately exported before consumption. Manufacturers receive excise tax rebates on product consumed outside Canada, so why shouldn’t the same hold true to diesel bought here and ‘exported’ into the US within the fuel tanks of a highway tractor?

After a lengthy court battle and an eventual settlement, CRA began dispensing cheques to the first of several dozen carriers involved last November. Nolan Transport has received about $300,000 with the largest owner/operator cheque totalling about $16,000.

The company has gone to great lengths to track down former owner/operators, some who haven’t worked for the company in more than a decade.

Which raises an interesting question: Just how committed will other carriers be to tracking down owner/operators who may have left the company years earlier?

Nolan Transport officials voiced concern that some fleets would pocket the payout rather than expend the time and energy in tracking down former O/Os.

When I asked lawyer Israel Ludwig for a complete list of carriers involved in the settlement, he told me he was unable to furnish such a list due to client confidentiality requirements from the Law Society of Upper Canada.

So, I’ve filed an Access to Information request with CRA and am patiently awaiting a response. Check back at Trucknews.com to see if the carrier you were working for at the time that was covered (1991-2002) is included in the settlement.

I’m hoping we can play a role in uniting owner/operators with carriers – past or present – that may have received a rebate for their truck.

While tracking down the O/Os that are in line for a payback has been onerous and time-consuming, Nolan Transport co-owner Kelly Nolan said it’s been a rewarding experience.

“I found one fellow – he was shocked,” Nolan told me. “I called him out of the blue and I told him there was a bit of money for him. His wife was dying of cancer and things were rough. When I told him how much money it was, he was silent. He needs the money right now. He’s retired and things are tough and it makes a difference to have this windfall right out of the blue.”

In the meantime, Nolan suggests owner/operators who hauled into the US between 1991 and 2002 contact the carrier they worked for at the time and ask if they were involved in the settlement. Most carriers weren’t, but a few dozen were. Those fleets should be receiving payments within the next couple months if they haven’t already.

And while I have faith the carriers involved will do the right thing and pass the funds on to the appropriate owner/operators, lawyer Ludwig issued this warning when I spoke with him: “If they pocket the money themselves without the consent and permission of their owner/operators, in my opinion that would be an illegal act.”


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