Teamsters looks to block foreign worker bid

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MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Teamsters Canada is slamming the Ontario Trucking Association’s (OTA) bid to bring in foreign workers to help address a driver shortage – stressing instead that the focus should be on improving wages and working conditions to make the job more attractive.

“Trucking companies can’t move overseas, so they’re trying to bring cheap labor to Canada. This is nothing short of an attack on Canadian workers and the middle class,” said Francois Laporte, president of the union that represents 15,000 tractor-trailer drivers in Canada. It has 125,000 members overall, and 1.4 million members across North America.

In pre-budget consultations, the Ontario Trucking Association called for access to the provincial nominee program, which could then be used to recruit qualified truck drivers from other countries.

The union says Ontario driver wages have remained stagnant for close to 35 years, citing a 2013 Conference Board of Canada report that found 87% of the for-hire trucking industry’s productivity gains have since 1986 been passed on to customers in the form of lower prices. It adds the problem began with the trucking industry’s deregulation in the 1980s.

There is no reference to recent pay increases that have been introduced in the face of supply constraints.

“These businesses chipped away at working conditions and profit margins in the industry by offering ridiculously fast delivery standards at unfairly low prices. The entire industry was forced to adjust; unreasonable delivery schedules, low wages and long hours became the norm for truckers,” Teamsters Canada says.

The union also calls on the province to recognize trucking as a skilled trade to ensure prospective drivers have access to grants and other subsidies.


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John G. Smith is Newcom Media's vice-president - editorial, and the editorial director of its trucking publications -- including Today's Trucking,, and Transport Routier. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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  • Th teamsters are wrong about wages being stagnant for 3 decades. Although wages have not moved prior to 2 years ago, there has been a exponential surge upwards recently. I check ‘’ everyday and the wage numbers are shocking with numerous company’s on their knees offering from $25 – $40 per hour. Even going as far as offering $500 for a Toronto – Montreal turn-around. This run used to be barely $300 not that long ago.
    It’s easy pickings for seasoned veterans to cherry pick where or when they want to work.
    It’ll take a strong constititution for a newcomer to Canada to be thrusted into such a rat race of High scrutiny, traffic, language barriers and manipulative company’s – not to mention weather an the waning infrastructure.
    Truck training has never been done to the value of a skilled trade because it has never been looked upon as a skilled trade. If it was, there would be something after the training and accreditation that resembles mentorship or apprenticeship. Not necessarily to the level of a mechanic or electrician, but at least to give newbies a fighting chance to succeed and not be quickly flushed away and rendered as unemployable by an easily tattered #CVOR.
    New drivers will immediately go enter a world that needs productivity and results. One want- ad actually put in print that the job would require 14 + hours per shift. Effectively saying you’ll have to fudge your ELD – and yes, it still can be fudged.
    I hope this recent uptic in wages and obviously an extreme driver shortage doesn’t entice rookies as merely a ‘Money – gig’ because ‘Professional’ isn’t just a vanity word draped on the job like tinsel on a Christmas tree, you genuinely have to enjoy and be
    interested in it because no handbook has been written to address the many unknown pitfalls of this ‘profession’ or how to survive it without becoming nothing more than a statistic in the media or a reality show.

  • Every Canadian should get a Pay Stub! Mandatory! &Be able to see how many Hours you get Paid! for christ Sake!! @v.k.

  • Teamsters is right OTA is getting feed by big companies and they work in their favor, OTA is saying Truck driver getting paid $70000 a year did they mention that drivers work 70 hours a week in log book plus 10 hours travel time it is double work time than regular factory worker and driver gets no respect,no home time,driving a truck is a very hard job, OTA ever thought about why owner operators stop buying trucks because 10years ago a new truck was $110000, currently new truck price is $180000 so there is $70000 jump in price with same pay package and much more expensive repairs since EPA DPF regulation,all these big companies who feeds OTA under the table they gets what they wants from customers but don’t wants to pay drivers. Ever OTA ask to companies to show them load rates from last 10years. Currently in 2019 all carriers who does long haul they don’t have enough work to keep drivers busy all they are trying to get cheap labour,This is a attack on Canadian drivers and I’m driver since 2002.OTA always work in their favor who pays them under the table

  • Quote : ” Laskowski: Foreign Drivers One Piece of Driver Shortage Puzzle” .

    Oh really ? Very interesting . And where do they plan on getting these “Foreigners” from ??? This Laskowski is beyond ignorant . Where does he plan on getting them from ? Mexico ? He appears to be looking for a way to get drivers in the country that will accept to work for low wages . That’s his plan . And speaking of Mexico , they have a huge hijacking problem .

    This Laskowski fellow should realize the “risk” truck drivers take every single day and he should reason a bit . His poor attempts to outsmart us won’t work . We’re also awakening foreigners . Many have been taken advantage of and are being taken advantage of in Canada ! This also has to stop !

    By the way , you may be interested in reading this article below concerning Mexico . Why are hijackers better equipped than truck drivers ??? Why ? Trucks don’t even have roll bars to protect them from being crushed in an accident . And this Laskowski fellow wants to speak about road safety too etc ? LOL ! Ignorance is bliss !

  • Let’s look at this truck driver shortage claim. We can see this through the truck to load ratio .

    Apparently there are more trucks for each load available . Where’s the truck driver shortage ???

    The shortage is in common sense . Truck drivers who are leaving the trade are leaving due to being fed up of being abused . They are fed up of not being paid for detention(waiting time) . Those that do get paid for waiting whom are paid by the mile , only start getting paid a mediocre amount compared to the salary they earn per mile when they wait . And they start getting paid this mediocre amount only after waiting a certain amount of hours . ie: after 2 hours of waiting time .

    Why ? Is this expected charity ? Is this enforced slavery ? There is no excuse for this sort of abuse .

    So what can we expect from this ? We can easily expect owner operators to cut corners on their maintenance requirements to cut costs . The cost of life increases , though theses owner operators get jibbed and jib their drivers . Then authorities respond with crack downs . Granted lack of maintaining trucks causes a huge safety concern . But rather than cracking down on the effect , let’s crack down on the cause !

    So due to this problem , trucks get parked . This also creates a “shortage” but not big enough yet as we can see through the truck to load ratio .

    And what is the answer to this “shortage” problem ? Foreigners ??? LOL !

    Trucks(trailers) are not a warehouse . Stop expecting a free lunch !

    If you want a service you must pay for that service . These shippers don’t expect to be paid on their goods after the 3rd good . They expect to be paid for all goods . Why aren’t drivers paid in full for their full service ?

    So Canadians and Americans complain about these abuses and the response is ,let’s get some foreigners to become truck drivers in Canada and the US . And that’s their solution ? To take advantage of another rather than to be fair with everyone ???

    And these trucking associations then complain about Driver inc. being unfair ??? LOL ! They’re squeezing drivers out of the trade , controlling their every move with laws that don’t even make sense and then they want to speak about being fair ??? Come on , enough already !

    The wage fraud and unfair ill thought regulations are what is causing brokers to being pushed into becoming creative with “Driver inc” examples so that they can SURVIVE !

    There is always two sides to a coin . These trucking associations should stop trying to make the masses only see the one side they want us to believe and serves their agenda to drive owner operators out of business and become big box employees who hardly offer them $20 an hour .

    Trucking used to be a way to join the middle class . Now it’s a one way ticket to poverty . And they want to speak about wage increases for the first time in nearly 40 years at the peak in an economy ??? WOW!

    You’re going to have to try a little harder if you think you’re going to pull a fast one on me ………… But they’re quite entertaining , LOL !

    Long haul truck drivers are paid by the mile . They get jibbed on waiting time . They get stuck in traffic for longer periods due to a growing population . Truck stops aren’t big enough to answer to the demand . Trucks are built out of tin cans which cannot protect the driver from an impact with the weight they carry . Truck drivers are perceived as dangerous and irresponsible . What else are these trucking associations trying to do to harm truck drivers ?

    Truck drivers work the equivalent of two jobs and are paid the equivalence of working just one . Something is definitely wrong here and it’s at the top ! All these pencil pushers are completely out of touch with reality and the poor masses(public) are brainwashed into believing their hocus pocus stories .

    Give the public a chance to see what truck drivers must endure on a daily bases . Show them the truth and you’ll notice compassion rather than hostility . Enough with the brainwashing attempts . The public needs to become aware !

  • And before anyone tries to even attempt to defend these “shippers” , let’s take a look at some of them as far as integrity is concerned :
    “Facing false advertising lawsuits, Canada Dry drops claim it is ‘made from real ginger’ ”

    If these outfits can allow themselves to scam the public , scamming truckers is just a drop in the bucket for them . And think about it for a second . Truck drivers are their lively hood . They ship their produce/goods and without a truck driver they wouldn’t be able to ship their contents to the masses . But rather than become honest , they will now try to find a way to replace the truck driver . Truck drivers and consumers at large need to come together . They’re on the same side but trucking associations with their hocus pocus stories keep them divided .

    What’s next ? Blame the truck driver who shipped the dishonest producers/manufacturers goods that fraud the public ?

    When are people going to wake up ? When ?

  • How about the economy in 2018 ? Slow down/correction or expanding and hot ? When an economy slows down , jobs are slashed and layoffs increase. Why are jobs slashed ? What causes an economy to slow down ? A slow down in demand(credit becomes more expensive) . So if there is a slow down in demand which causes an economy to slow , and layoffs to follow while you have some trucking association shouting about a truck driver shortage , something isn’t right . Someone is lying .

    You also have to take cycles in mind . The trucking industry has a cycle and that in of itself reveals quite a bit .

    Some will try to say that technology also plays a role in layoffs . Let’s take Walmart as an example . They are using autonomous cash registers which replaces cashiers and reduces jobs . However, this comes at our expense as a whole . Not only does this reduce jobs , it also reduces customer service .

    We used to have a cashier and a “bagger’ for lack of a better term . We bought our goods which were scanned by a cashier and then bagged in a store supplied bag by a “bagger” . This is a service we paid for through the cost of the goods we bought . But today they found a way to trick us into accepting less service , and no bag while increasing the costs of our goods .

    No cashier , no bagger , no bag , but higher cost with decreasing service and YOU the consumer must do all the work and supply your own bag .They don’t even supply you with a bag to carry the goods you bought from their store . And the public is playing right into this by believing it’s for recycling etc ? That’s how brainwashed the masses have become .

    The huge corporations are getting richer off of consumers backs and giving very little service in return while replacing the masses with technology .

    In other words , the masses are being fooled into paying more for less . And the truck driver is the slave until they manage to replace them as well . Where are we going with this save the planet hocus pocus ?

    Think about UBS braking system . At one time we could control our vehicles . Now they want to keep our wheels straight when we brake . Yes straight into a post , or a car , and or in the middle of an inter section due to a slippery road and our vehicle not stopping while applying the brakes . Very intelligent ,lol

    Look at our windshields . Certainly not made to be a rock shield nor a deer shield . They want us to watch out for deer crossing but they don’t put lights on the road ??? No , they rather put halogen headlights on our vehicles so that we can blind each other in unlighted areas on the road while saying to watch for deer crossing ??? And these same people want to talk to us about road safety and truck driver shortages ???

    How many people have we seen who do not know how to merge onto a highway ? They don’t appear to know what a “yield” sign means . It means to yield the way to oncoming traffic and prepare to stop , NOT a right of way for those merging onto the highway !

    Anyways , layoffs are a cost cutting gesture when demand decreases . And if demand decreases then freight tends to decrease as well and this increases the truck to freight ratio . There are too many truck drivers , not a shortage . And if some of them were not careful and got fooled into a malinvestment at the peak of an economy due to believing demand was high and or would remain high due to a driver shortage(LOL) , they will go bust in the correction(recession) that follows ……………… Careful when and who you believe ……

  • Where is the hocus pocus government and the green peace protests concerning their global warming hocus pocus in -40c/-50c weather ??? Apparently they keep that for the summer season ,LOL!

  • The OTA does not care about the average trucker. The OTA is pretty much looking for quantity versus quality of drivers, making the occupation more of a ‘wholesale’ pool of drivers rather than working towards keeping true professional drivers.