Driver Inc. business model deprives workers of basic rights: O’Regan

Avatar photo

Federal Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan took to the floor of the House of Commons this week, criticizing the Driver Inc. business model that sees truck drivers misclassified as independent contractors.

“The Driver Inc. model deprives workers of their basic rights,” O’Regan said Monday. “We amended the [Canada Labour Code] by prohibiting the misclassification of workers, and we have been inspecting work sites since then. Where we find people guilty of non-compliance, we will take action through orders, fines and prosecutions.”

“We expect all employers to treat their employees fairly, and those who fail to do so will face the consequences. We committed to protecting workers. We will continue to work with the sector to crack down on Driver Inc.,” he added.

The business model has been a longstanding target of the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA), which is applauding the comments.

Parliament Hill
(Photo: iStock)

But CTA says national enforcement needs to escalate dramatically across multiple government agencies to protect employee rights and help compliant fleets compete against the scam.

“CTA appreciates the public support by Minister O’Regan to fight Driver Inc. and now looks forward to continuing to work with the department on the rapid deployment of enforcement upon the Driver Inc scam, including the exclusive use of fines as well as prosecutions where applicable,” CTA president Stephen Laskowski said in a press release.

Employment and Social Development Canada previously committed to applying Administrative Monetary Penalties to offending businesses, using new powers that include fines and the ability to name employers which don’t comply with the rules. Other enforcement efforts have included adjustments by Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).

A four-point test determines whether someone is actually an independent contractor, covering control over work, the ownership of tools, the chance of profit and the risk of loss. Other signs of misclassified employees include company uniforms, decals on tractors, and whether drivers have to follow company policies and procedures.