CTA calls for delay in paid sick days

The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) is calling on the federal government to delay plans to introduce 10 paid sick days for federally regulated truckers, noting the rules would strain already-fragile supply chains.

Bill C-3 is scheduled to introduce the sick days for all federally regulated employees on Dec. 1, but CTA wants the government to delay that by one year and consider phasing in five sick days the following year, with another five days to be added in the year after that.

“As CTA has repeatedly communicated to the Government of Canada, this plan could effectively equate to 300,000 trucks being shut down for an additional 10 days each, on an unplanned basis next year,” CTA president Stephen Laskowski said in a press release.

“The impact this could have on just-in-time shipping, overall capacity, seasonal availability, and service reliability for customers and Canadians is expected to be severe.” 

Parliament Hill
(Photo: iStock)

Estimates from CTA suggest the guaranteed sick leave would sacrifice 5-10% of trucking capacity in 2023, adding to the 10-15% of drivers that it says left the trucking industry because of cross-border vaccination requirements and other mandates.

Canada and the U.S. continue to require border-crossing truck drivers to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Carrier profits, meanwhile, could drop 13-57% depending on the number of days used by employees, according to CTA modelling.

‘Logistical chaos’

“The main cost for trucking companies of these lost 10 days is not necessarily the salary paid to the worker — it’s the truck that must sit unexpectedly for days and the logistical chaos it causes the trucking company scrambling to move it. This chain reaction and the associated consequences will also inevitably flow through to the companies relying on the delivery, be it raw materials, manufacturing inputs, or finished products destined for store shelves,” Laskowski said.

The alliance also warns the sick days would exacerbate driver shortages and push inflation higher. But it says some added flexibility in the rollout would help the trucking industry ease backlogs in the interim.

Bill C-3’s 10 paid sick days initially reflected the government’s policy regarding 10-day quarantine and isolation periods linked to Covid-19, CTA says. But recommended quarantine timelines have changed as the spread and severity of Covid-19 have eased.

Most workers take fewer than five sick days per year, CTA adds.

Driver Inc. concerns

Alternative options proposed by Canada’s largest trucking association include allowing companies to use internal benefits packages and plans to compensate workers for sick days.

Building on its ongoing concerns about Driver Inc. companies that misclassify employees as independent workers, CTA noted that workers forced into the underground economy are not covered by government initiatives like this.

“While widespread Driver Inc. related noncompliance has been recognized in our sector by ESDC [Employment and Social Development Canada], they, nor any other federal department responsible for enforcing standards related to labor and taxes, have yet to bring it under control,” Laskowski said.

“It seems nearly unconscionable, then, that ESDC could bring this into effect when it is widely known that one of the primary foreseen consequences will be to drive even more companies and drivers into the underground economy.” 

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  • As a vol that helps with sick or injured truck drivers. We need 10 paid sick days for all drivers including those to corp account now and hourly pay with overtime. We need to bring back sick and injured drivers and mechanics when possible. This is proof the C T A just wanted to focus on a supply of new drivers
    I have over 500 people who support huron easy share and the efforts we are doing. No members. Of the C T A seem to support the efforts

  • Why are truck drivers always expected to be exempt from any pay requirements. It is truly sickening. I drove for 40 years and retired at the end of July. Truck drivers are expected to give up a lot of time without pay. Basically, we are 2nd class citizens.

  • ““While widespread Driver Inc. related noncompliance has been recognized in our sector by ESDC [Employment and Social Development Canada], they, nor any other federal department responsible for enforcing standards related to labor and taxes, have yet to bring it under control,” Laskowski said.”
    Nor will they ever bring it under control.
    You don’t see any government department hiring extra auditors to ferret out Driver Inc. do you? No.
    Even if any government agency does, by a stroke of sheer luck, find a carrier using Driver Inc., the fines are little more than a pittance of what that carrier has saved. It is simply the cost of doing business.
    Even if the fines were horrendous enough to put such a carrier out of business, there is nothing, absolutely nothing, to stop those same principals from being back in business in a couple hours, a day at the most, under a new name.
    Taking a stand against Driver Inc. is a great talking point, and it does get the CTA some brownie points with its membership and the government, but let’s be completely honest, that’s all it is is a talking point. Nothing meaningful will ever be done, and the carriers using Driver Inc. are laughing all the way to the bank.
    Maybe CTA, et al, would be better off promoting legal Driver Inc

    • Make a min rate on payroll of $28 hr for cross border truck drivers and $36 to drivers Inc plus every one get 10 sick days

  • It figured the CTA would fight this
    They say that they can’t retain drivers but they do everything they can to make trucking a profession that nobody wants to do anymore. They basically want us to work for nothing. I’ve just about had it. 50 years is too long for anyone to put up with the BS,!

  • How about everyone at the CTA give up any sick sick days they have until the drivers they represent have the same?
    As for so many “lost” trucks to the infrastructure – people – yes, drivers are people – already take sick days, they’re often just not covered.

  • I would.of course be I. Favor of 10 sick days as an employee. We get 3 days now and this is not really enough time to recover from anything . Add 3 personal days which are actually there for personal reasons not sick days. I am not sick often but… I see most other industries have 10 or more days, why is trucking industry so hard on the workers? We spend so much time away from home too.