Aggregate haulers, dump truck drivers protest in Ontario

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Aggregate haulers and dump truck drivers are parking their rigs in Ontario seeking increased compensation for the loads they haul, among other demands.

Hundreds of aggregate haulers have been protesting outside quarries for the past eight days, demanding an increase in rates.

OATA protest in Milton, Ont.
Jagroop Singh, center, president of the Ontario Aggregate Trucking Association, and members protest outside the entrance to a quarry in Milton, Ont on March 21. (Photo: Leo Barros)

Meanwhile, dump truck drivers began job actions on Monday advocating respect for their labour rights, fair wages and compensation, and to highlight safety issues. 

Ontario Aggregate Trucking Association (OATA) president Jagroop Singh said the group’s hundreds of members are seeking a 40% increase in rates.

Members of the Ontario Dump Truck Association (ODTA) parked their trucks at the Ontario Khalsa Darbar in Mississauga and will not be working and servicing job sites. Some protests and picket lines have also been set up around the Greater Toronto Area.

Singh said OATA members need to be paid more because of soaring inflation and the rising price of fuel.

“Presently we earn between $1,000 to $1,200 a day. We are seeking to be paid between $1,500 to $1,600 a day,” Singh said outside a quarry in Milton, Ont. “We stopped working and are protesting outside quarries where most of the customers pick up their material.”

Today’s Trucking requested comment from a company in Milton where protesters have been gathering but did not receive a response at the time of going to press.

“The agreement will put on paper basic labor rights, fair wages and compensation.”

Bob Punia, ODTA

“We want to work collectively to come to a binding agreement with contractors and others that employ independent dump truck operators. The agreement will put on paper basic labor rights, fair wages and compensation and other standards that we need to have a viable and safe industry,” ODTA’s Bob Punia said in a press release. 

“With rising fuel prices, our members being denied breaks and washroom access, and ongoing safety concerns, we can’t continue to work like this. It’s not safe and it’s not fair.”

Norman Cheesman, executive director of Ontario Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (OSSGA) said he understands the struggles that truckers are having with higher fuel prices, but the group does not support harassment tactics and interference of trucks going in and out of quarries.

Cheesman said it is up to individual companies to negotiate contracts with their suppliers and the OSSGA does not get involved in that.

The OATA said it released a letter on Feb. 20 to companies its members service, warning if rates were not increased by 40%, trucks would be parked. “The letter was ignored,” Singh said. He said with diesel priced at almost $2 a liter, a meeting was held with the companies last week, but they said rates would not be increased.

Protests at 20 locations

He added that owner-operators are spending an additional $44 a day to run their businesses. He said OATA members are protesting in groups at about 20 locations in the province.

The 2,000-member ODTA has sent notice to stakeholders of the request to put in place the agreement along with new hourly rates that reflect the rising costs of doing business.

“Our hope is to come to a quick resolution and agreement with all parties so that everyone can get back to work with minimal disruption,” Punia said.

“We certainly hope that peace is restored where these protests are taking place because it is not good for business. And there are truckers that are working. What we are seeing is harassment of truckers that are already working,” OSSGA’s Cheesman said.

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Leo Barros is the associate editor of Today’s Trucking. He has been a journalist for more than two decades, holds a CDL and has worked as a longhaul truck driver. Reach him at

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  • all for people trying to make more money. but when the companies and people that keep underbiding and cutting the rates demand more money it makes me laugh. when some of the same people just got contracts to haul freight then less then a month later demand more money 40% more.
    even on their website in January they wanted 20% more. so why still underbid to get the contract. to me they made their beds now they need to lay in them. I guarantee if they get their 40% more a week later someone will offer to haul the gravel for less. so let them bid on contracts for what they believe they should be paid. provide the service they offer show up to haul the product. don’t leave the companies that pay less to wait till the end of the day because you got a better paying job. all the things that they do to make the industry cheaper and cheaper the complain they don’t make money.

    just my opinion but it is also the truth

    • Absolutely. I don’t claim to know all the details, but if they actually need 40% more they should have went to the table sooner. Also they say they spend $44 more a day yet want $200-400 more a day. Seems like the axle/weight issue. They had a decade to comply. There’s a LOT of dump trucks out there newer than 10 years.

  • I’m not in the gravel relocation business but I have been involved by way of hauling construction equipment for 40 + years till retirement.
    I remember this exact scenario playing out with the majority of drivers going to hold a paving contractor hostage in Calgary over the same issue. The only thing that pisses me off is, the new guys started cutting the rates that the local trucks and companies had and as the new kids came to town with there flashy rigs started hacking the rates to get the work. Well once they got the work ( and near all of it ) by working cheap they figured we got them and are trying to hold everyone hostage.
    On a side note. They own the majority of produce gardens out west and the majority of the trucks that haul that produce are going to one day say, we got the food and produce, let’s get a new rate for the freight. Aside from that everything is good.

  • Our pay out in the lower mainland in B.C. for an 8 hour workday is approx. $800-$900. for a Tandem axle gravel truck, and yet we have the highest fuel prices in Canada.

  • Undercut all competition with low rates, now u got the contracts…show some integrity & do the job

  • The time to buy a fire alarm is not when your house is on fire. The same goes for fuel costs. If you wait for the spike in costs and then protest is not an affective way to run a trucking business.
    Have a written agreement or get someone to help you with a written agreement that clearly states the base line for fuel, and how the rate will move up and down with a weekly review of fuel costs using a mutually agreed benchmark.