CTA continues push for payroll tax support, driver meal deductions

by Today's Trucking

OTTAWA, Ont. – The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) continued its call yesterday for government help with payroll taxes and truck driver meal costs, during an appearance before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that, as our industry continues to serve the supply chain and economy as required, it also faces unique and rapidly escalating challenges that requires tailored solutions to protect the stability of the supply chain during the Covid-19 crisis and into an eventual economic recovery period,” said CTA president Stephen Laskowski. 

(Photo: iStock)

“Our sector needs additional, focused assistance above and beyond what the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) provides due to the nature of our sector and the critical relationship it has to the supply chain. Although the CEWS may work for many sectors, it does not stabilize the Canadian trucking industry.”

The presentation focused on requests for a three-month deferral on payroll tax remittances, using an interest-free load that can be paid back within 12-18 months, and an adjusted meal allowance for truck drivers.

The need for that support had been echoed in a joint request by Teamsters Canada, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), Private Motor Truck Council of Canada (PMTC), and Women’s Trucking Federation of Canada (WTFC).

While CTA carriers reported an average 27% drop in revenue during surveys in late March and early April, the average decrease is now closer to 35%, he said, adding that 37% of fleets have “significant concerns” regarding operations over the next three months. Sixty-three percent of surveyed fleets say customers have asked customers for payment deferrals or simply not paid for services.

But Laskowsi also praised the work of government officials that have offered other support during Covid-19, including issues around insurance coverage, licensing, permits, regulatory flexibility, essential service designations, driver treatment, keeping the border open to truck drivers, sectoral essential worker designation, and the sourcing of personal protective equipment.

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  • What kind of help?!
    They demanded from me to show all the resites in a year and to return 100% in full what I was supposed to pay for meals on log books. I have to appeal. And I’m not the only one. My friend also requested all resites for meal, although the tax website says that there are enough log books, and it has always been so !!! We will go to court!

  • Some sort of assistance with payroll taxes and insurance costs and coverage is a good idea. To pay part of truck drivers wages is not something the government should be doing. A look into brokerage companies and insurance companies and rates of commission is very badly needed even before this happened. A number of trucking companies of all sizes are in a negative cash flow. Many owner ops and companies under 10 company trucks are having trouble to pay insurance and extra parking cost. The homeless shelters are seeing more former and current owners ops coming for free meals and spots to shower. Stronger protection for all essential workers is needed especially those with out a union or association that protects them. More has to be done to get truck drivers masks.

  • Why don’t Carriers or Owner Operators pay their drivers a Tax Free Subsistence Allowance and in addition, claim the Input Tax Credit on the amount paid.

    Back in 1991 a trucking company was working for and with a pipeline company with varied contracts and results. They had a high GST return then low and visa versa. The fluctuation flagged an audit. The auditor (apparently a very helpful one) scoured through the books and found out why and was satisfied. The audit produced no re-assessments, all things were done well. The jolly (and apparently robust) auditor asked why the company wasn’t claiming the GST on the flat rate meal allowance and accommodation allowance provided the pipeline workers (ranging from $95 to $125 dollars per day). He conveniently calculated the amount to $143,000 (expensed at about $2 million). To state that the auditor was helpful is a six figure understatement.

    One of the consultants who were working for the company at the time (Lucien Bleau) had a long chat with the auditor.

    In the end, the auditor informed Mr. Bleau that there is nothing stopping the trucking industry from providing the allowance to drivers, and collecting back the ITC (GST Memoranda 400-3-11 and 400-3-3). The resultant opportunity was exposed.

    According to my limited research and knowledge this is the roots of the opportunity. However, tracking the initial exposure to present is like finding the tail end to a bowl of spaghetti. There appears to be a lot of start and stops.

    If I start to mention names and companies I run the risk of including or excluding a whole lot of people. Since I’m not interested in hurting anyone’s feelings I’ll keep it to one name… Lucien Bleau, the man many operators owe a cup of coffee or more. He was at the right place at the right time and asked the right questions.

    The CRA agent (who will truly remain anonymous) is owed a multi-million dollar thank you.

  • The government hasn’t done anything for the trucking industry in years our meal allowance is still $55 a day can you live on $55 a day and we can only claim 80% we should be able to claim 100% of meal allowance we pay on the road Now they call us insential workers wow unbelievable and still nothing done and nothing will be done for the truckers All we need to do is pick a date go home for seven days and I will guarantee you in four days they’ll be no fuel for anybody to go anywhere any grocery stores will be empty in 4 days think about this government of Canada thank you stay safe and be healthy to all truckers you make the country run Tk u