Laskowski laments inaction on Driver Inc.

by Abdul Latheef

OTTAWA, Ont. – The biggest challenge facing the Canadian trucking industry is the underground economy, and it is time the government did something about it, the president of the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) said Thursday.

“The compliant trucking industry is starting to lose to the non-compliant industry,” Stephen Laskowski said of the controversial Driver Inc. business model.

Stephen Laskowski. (Screen grab)

Driver Inc. classifies fleet employees as independent contractors. The drivers are incorporated and receive their pay without any source deductions.

“The message to Ottawa is we need enforcement on the underground economy in our industry.”

– Stephen Laskowski. president, the Canadian Trucking Alliance.

Laskowski was speaking at a webinar on the future of transportation hosted by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

He complained that the issue is getting no attention from enforcement.

“So, the message to Ottawa is we need enforcement on the underground economy in our industry,” Laskowski said.

“Non-compliance voids compliance costs, which translates into bigger market share. And quite frankly, what is happening is that the compliant trucking industry is starting to lose to the non-compliant industry, and Ottawa plays a role in terms of enforcement.”

The CTA and other industry groups have been pushing to have Driver Inc. stamped out, but there has not been much success.

Bruce Browser
Bruce Browser. (Screen grab)

Bruce Bowser, chairman and CEO of AMJ Campbell Inc., stressed the need for stronger regulation.

“The government hasn’t really sunk their teeth into shutting some of these bad players down,” he said.

“You can’t compete with those people.”

Laskowski said the CTA will start an education campaign against Driver Inc. this fall.

“The buyers of transportation need to understand they knowingly or unknowingly are supporting these individuals by purchasing their services.”

Laskowski praised what he called the “unprecedented” co-operation between various levels of government in the fight against Covid-19.

“You read about it, and there’s a lot of work that people don’t read about. And, it has been a great time to be a Canadian.”

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  • The real problem is truck drivers treatment and pay this person who pushed speed limiters and E logs .The C T A needs to look after the treatment of truck drivers as much as certain members and some wholesale and retail members of the O T A . When I and others have complained about corput trucking companies that owed me and other truck drivers wages and leased owner ops . This will result in more leased ops leaving trucking and if the C T A has its own way more people from lower wage countries and more small trucking companies and owner ops with their own authority closed. The solution is minimum wage rates and no wage subsidies to truck drivers or the trucking companies they work for. All truck drivers should have medical insurance to cross the border and all truck drivers on payroll that cross the border make at least 27 dollars per hour plus overtime after 10 hours per day and the driver inc problem will disappear.

    • The OTA and to some extent the CTA have been promising to look at minimum hourly wage for drivers for years, nothing has ever happened. The trucking model of the late 70’s and 80’s still works today, just with more regulations. Reality is the economy can not support a minimum wage for drivers especially in long haul.
      A start would be to get rid of lumpers, why does a trucking company have to pay to get the trailer loaded, then pay to get it unloaded? The company wants the the goods , they ordered it, so they should pay to load and unload it.

      • The current model truck drivers pay will continue to result truck drivers continue to leave the industry. If truck drivers are not paid the same per hour as other jobs we will continue to have to bring in more foreign truck drivers or lower are standards for truck drivers and have more accidents and when truck drivers get injured and short changed the taxpayers and non profit groups end up footing the bill at a net higher costs to economy through our taxes instead of the whole distribution systems.

        • This smacks more of a lament for big carriers that are disconcerted with the fact that smaller carriers have a way to circumvent their control over the industry.
          The large carriers want a driver shortage to facilitate the continued use of TFWs at “cut throat” rates.
          This is a preemptive position to facilitate the use of automated trucks going forward.
          How dare small carriers find a way to remain competitive, or drivers find a way to provide a living wage in an industry that needs you to stay hungry, and LIVE in the truck, all the while paying fines for running equipment the big carriers refuse to fix?

  • I wanted to also Comment on outside carriers from out of province we have issues with Quebec and western carriers coming into Ontario and putting trucks in places that the taxes are paid to the province of the plates…there are many trucks with out of province plates now doing inter provincial work! Another pressure put on the Ontario Carriers ! We need help for this as well ! Please dig into this story as well ….

    • I see a lot of Manitoba plated and insured trucks doing city work around the G T A with young new truck drivers using one truck stop in Brampton as their base with an apartment on dixie rd
      . These drivers are getting 19 dollars per hour on payroll or 23 pet hour to a Corp plus shares usage of the apartment for about 7 truck drivers.

  • The Federal government should spend it’s CRA resources on locating and auditing those drivers and companies participating in Driver Inc type operations – rather than auditing legitimate drivers for meal exemption…..
    Many times the drivers are led to believe this is a better system for them – however when they get hurt, or fail to get paid – they then realize the error of their ways.
    Of course, there are many who are well aware this is a “cheating” system – and go on the mind set that they will probably never by “caught”.