TORONTO, Ont. – A coalition of associations representing fleets, owner-operators, unionized drivers and more is calling on Canada’s federal government to help truck drivers and trucking companies who are struggling in the face of Covid-19.
Specific requests include a call for a three-month deferral of payroll taxes with an 18-month recovery period, and an adjusted meal allowance for longhaul and shorthaul truck drivers.
The coalition includes the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA), Private Motor Truck Council of Canada (PMTC), Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), Women’s Trucking Federation of Canada, and Teamsters Canada.
The need for such support is reflected in a recent survey of more than 100 trucking companies, noting plunging revenues, surging empty miles, and cash flow challenges, CTA notes.
“Ottawa has introduced a number of important and well-designed measures to help the Canadian economy through the Covid-19 crisis,” said CTA president Stephen Laskowski.
“But there’s some recognition that more may need to be done and specific measures are required for businesses like trucking which find themselves in a very unique circumstance during these uncertain times.”
The PMTC thanked all levels of government, saying they have been moving quickly to provide support for businesses affected by Covid-19.
“Situations that affect our great industry are changing daily, and as such, relief packages for sectors also need to adjust,” said PMTC president Mike Millian.
“Without significant cash infusions and relief, a large portion of this industry will disappear before Covid-19 allows our industries to return to a new normal.”
Millian also thanked the CTA for spearheading the industry initiative.
The national president of Teamsters Canada, Francois Laporte, said increasing the meal allowance is a small way to put some well-deserved money in drivers’ pockets as they face rising food costs on the road.
“Allowing their employers to defer their payroll taxes to a later date will also help support jobs,” he said.
“These are small asks from Ottawa that stand to do a lot of good.”
An OOIDA executive expressed optimism that the government will consider the coalition’s call.
“Hopefully these requests can be fulfilled, and bring relief to the people and small businesses that are performing the essential work that keeps goods moving,” said Norita Taylor, director of government affairs.
- This story has been updated with comments from OOIDA.
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