Truck drivers exempt from Labour Code changes

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Parliament Hill
Business groups are sounding the alarm about recent changes to the Canada Labour Code.

OTTAWA, Ont. – Canada’s trucking industry appears to have secured a reprieve from wide-reaching changes to the Canada Labour Code, which took effect Sept. 1, but many questions remain.

A need to give federally regulated workers 96 hours of written notice about work schedules — and 24 hours’ notice about shift changes — exempts truck drivers, courier drivers, material handlers, warehouse workers, and shipper-receivers, according to the Interpretations, Policies and Guidelines used by enforcement teams.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) expects that it will be business as usual until further notice, and says it’s working with Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to address outstanding concerns affecting other job titles.

CTA supports modern labor standards. However, the alliance has always held the position that any new standards that come into place must make sense for the industry and the customers we serve,” said alliance president Stephen Laskowski.

Other changes to the Labour Code include the right to refuse overtime due to family obligations, a 30-minute break for every five hours of work, and a minimum eight-hour break between work shifts.

It isn’t the only business group to sound the alarm about the impact the scheduling changes could have.

“The federal government is trying to apply a one-size-fits-all, 9-5 business model to industries where that just doesn’t work,” said Dan Kelly, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

“Our trucking members in particular have been clear that these labor standard changes will be devastating. They are facing significant labor shortages and are doing what they can to attract and retain qualified workers. Business owners already know that a good work-life balance is essential to keeping their employees.”

The new rules also introduce more red tape for businesses that operate across provincial borders, potentially precluding them from making one-day and same-day deliveries, the CFIB says.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance has also been looking to have trucking removed from a requirement to refuse overtime for certain personal responsibilities, but said this may be less of a concern when those responsibilities are more clearly defined.

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

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  • Yes , they not want the ‘ refuse overtime’ because they can not push and hunt us anymore and lose some of power hahaha, and a 30 min break is nessesary because lots of drivers drive too tired all the time,thus don’t give trucking company owners all the power over us.

  • Of course they are because their business model only works by exploiting it’s drivers. Drivers are the only ones who have to make sacrifices for the company. They think this will make it easier to attract drivers.They really are clueless.

  • And so they believe they have won. The CTA is peopled by dinosaurs completely unwilling to accept the realities of the modern workplace, like it or not. The shortage will continue as more and more of the old guard retire or simply leave the industry in disgust. The CTA needs to remind itself regarding the ultimate fate of dinosaurs. The companies that refuse to acknowledge that drivers are not modern day oxen and human beings, with families, obligations and lives, will go the way of the dinosaurs and I hope I am around to dance on their bones.

  • More trash and filth from CTA ,CTA should be demanding overtime ,pensions and all other rights other workers have except drivers while i dont agree with the government CTA needs address lack of government over sight in funding trucking companies to run at a loss under the guise of job creation. Load brokes that cut loads 3-4 time before they are moved then a kick back is given then the trucking company moans it cant pay decent wages or a trucking company that fliters a load though 3 or 4 off its own companies on paper rhen telling employee thats all we can get CRA blindly engores it all.Government grant operating authority to anyone regardless of what their source of start up capital comes from ,industry is full of dirty money best money laundering system on the go.Again all under the guise of job creation whats the point of job creation if the jobs are all low paying for the hours worked CTA s answer is more immigrants more dirty money .When any reforms are mention CTA fearmongers increased costs to the economy while preaching safety.CTA should be demanding that the governent put the same money they put into the aviation industry use p3 groups to expand rest areas,truck stops,parking and to assist,secure truck stops we have now rather than allow them to be gobbled up for Condos. Well now lets talk about DEF def was forced on to the industry we meekly accepted it yet an hourly could never be accepted.Last company i worked for had 20 trucks in 18 months we spent 250000 where were we suppose to generate that money government and CTA could care less we went broke next company pays 1990 wages awesome but more job creation for immigrants and overseas capital flooding the industry thankyou CTA

  • These changes better not effect the extra week paid vacation time for truck drivers with ten years or more service time (* four weeks paid vacation time instead of three weeks for ten years or more of service time with the same employer) and the three personal days of paid sickness leave instead of none. We don’t have a union at work to stick up for us, so EDSC better do their job and look out for the workers as well!!

  • The provincial government is continuing to discriminate against the senior commercial driver. Have to jump through hoops to keep your license for minor infractions. Why bother to take the road test when you know that you will never pass. Some commercial drivers can still do a good job. Only want to eliminate senior drivers to give younger drivers a job, which probably not many want.

  • Slavery was also not immediately abolished … Many could not understand how they can live without slaves … Then everyone wonders why no one wants to become a trucker … Because in 70 hours of work the driver earns about $ 1000, and no one pays for time which driver is outside the family.
    A trucker spends 24 hours a day to do the job, and earns just $ 200-250 in 24 hours.
    Welcome to this high-salary business!

  • The trucking industry should be prepared for some changes. Unfortunately many drivers are taken advantage of by companies.

  • There is no labour shortage in the trucking industry. There are many qualified people who choose not to participate in the labour pool because of working conditions. If you want to increase available workers decrease the hos to a point where it’s profitable to work and balance family life.

    • ya i went to london from toronto with 6 skids….no shortage,just piss poor planning and drivers who choose other jobs instead of trucking…

  • The problem is lack of protection for truck drivers and lease ops. With E-logs that limits your income the high cost of living on the road. O T R truck drivers with more than 5000 hours experience need to make 1.9 times minimum wage plus overtime after 10 hours per day. Do this plus a 30 percent insurance subsidy for truck driver schools plus a 30 percent subsidy for new truck drivers for the first year up to $25,000 cd per company. Also make sure that the truck drivers can move to safe parking and pay double time after 13 hours per day on duty.

  • the trucking industry is so much in BED with employers its a joke. not many employers pay for pre trip, borders, wait time, emergency time like snow related etc YET the employers claim they want qualified drivers and employees. Time to start the largest union in the world!