CTA calls for level playing field

John G Smith

TORONTO, Ont. – The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) is calling on governments to help level the competitive playing field as trucking companies grapple with thin margins and ever-escalating operating costs.

In a submission to Canada’s Treasury Board, the alliance noted that law-abiding carriers find it difficult to compete with those who don’t comply with regulations and take advantage of a lack of national oversight, as well as U.S. carriers that enjoy comparative tax benefits.

“To maintain the integrity of a strong and progressively viable trucking industry, the government needs to ensure that any company or driver operating in Canada is compliant with all of the proper safety, environmental, labor and tax laws,” said CTA president Stephen Laskowski. “We need to make sure compliance is rewarded, not the other way around. We look forward to working with the federal government about finding new solutions and removing some of the barriers that hamper competitiveness and growth.”

Flexible tax rules, double-digit tax reductions under the U.S. Trump Administration, and economies of scale give U.S. carriers a competitive edge, the CTA argues. As one example, the Capital Cost Allowance is accelerated in the U.S., providing carriers across the border access to capital that can be reinvested in their companies. It’s why the alliance is calling for an accelerated Capital Cost Allowance for carbon-reducing equipment.

The CTA also wants the federal government to outline how it plans to register and monitor U.S. carriers when it comes to Canadian carbon pricing that domestic carriers will have to pay. And it’s asking for every Canadian jurisdiction to echo Ontario and Quebec approaches to including U.S. carriers in safety rating monitoring systems.

When it comes to truck safety, the submission welcomes discussions about ways the National Safety Code could consistently be deployed across Canada. It cites inconsistent regulatory developments on topics including hours of service, roadside enforcement, and mandatory entry-level training.

Meanwhile, today’s immigration rules – including the temporary foreign worker program — are described as a barrier to allowing companies to recruit drivers from around the world.

Building on its battle against the Driver Inc. business model, in which carriers avoid source deductions by incorporating individual drivers, the CTA says that failing to modernize related policies and enforcement would allow some companies and drivers to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.

It wants the federal government to adopt increased powers to tackle any tampering relating to emissions control devices.

John G Smith

John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking, trucknews.com, TruckTech, Transport Routier, Inside Logistics, Solid Waste & Recycling, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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  • The C T A should be pushing for minimum rates of pay to truck drivers before trying to change the model for hiring truck drivers. At current pay rates they can not expect truck drivers to remain in the industry. The incorporate mode must pay 118 percent of payroll to be the same net pay at the end of the year. Truck drivers need to make 70 cents per mile to incorporate to pay all taxes and support a family. Payroll truck drivers need to make 61 cents per mile or $27.00 per hour for O.T.R.