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Canadian Trucking Alliance head bemoans ‘bastardized’ freight marketplace, Driver Inc

CTA President Stephen Laskowski calls out “small but growing” segment of the trucking industry that is circumventing regulations, including the practice of intentionally misclassifying employee-drivers as contractors.

Photo: Surface Transportation Summit

Canada’s freight market “is being bastardized” by members of the industry who dodge regulations, the president of the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) said. 

“The frustration is that a small but growing segment is using management techniques that are based on circumventing regulations to reduce operations to gain advantages,” Stephen Laskowski said on October 16 during scathing remarks at Newcom’s Surface Transportation Summit near Toronto. “Where are the regulators?”

Laskowski, whose organization represents carriers across Canada, listed an array of practices across the country and by U.S. carriers including bypassing emissions devices, modifying electronic logging devices, evading taxes and using industry insurance or no insurance whatsoever.

Within Canada, he singled out the practice known as Driver Inc, where employers intentionally misclassify drivers who don’t own trucks as contractors to avoid taxes and others withholdings. He called upon federal authorities including the Canadian Revenue Agency to take steps carriers engaging in Driver Inc practices. 

“It’s a massive underground economy,”  Laskowski said. “The feds need to step up.”

With the forthcoming federal election, set for October 21, Laskowski said the CTA would press the next government to expand immigration programs so the industry can fill trucks and other positions.

“If we don’t change our immigration practices, we are going to have a serious problem in our industry,” Laskowski said.

Still, Laskowski said the federal government must exclude troublesome carriers from immigration programs. 

He pointed to the recent investigation by The Globe and Mail newspaper, which found some carriers misused a temporary worker program, exploiting underqualified drivers and placing the public in danger.   

“We want to grow the industry, but why would you grow from the bottom,” Laskowski said.


  1. Mike

    Driver Inc is alive and well in the USA, and you all know that… They come here from Europe or wherever, mainly Europe in my neck of the woods, and Russia. They rent an address, buy trucks, bring their buddies from overseas and pillage the system. The drivers are 1099, the drivers pay the cargo and all other insurance along with fuel. The owner pays them a percentage and collects his checks overseas where both the front office and back office is loaded, along with the dispatch office. They have no employees, they pay no taxes. They can afford to haul cheap, and laugh all the way to the bank. Me or you operated like that, we would be in prison.

    1. Noble1

      If American & Canadian truck “drivers” formed an alliance it would be relatively simple to put an end to that sort of inequality . Then expand to Mexico . Those three North American Countries are the most populated in North America and include the most truck drivers in North America .

      Why US & Canada first ? Language ……….

      Then you must think bigger . And if we can manage to put our differences aside and create rapport with immigrants rather than judging them , especially Asian, Russian & Indian truck drivers , it will render it much easier to expand to their countries as well .

      Think long term about creating a fair prosperous sustainable change for truck drivers worldwide despite their age, race, and gender . Nobody will ever F*** us again .

      In my humble opinion ……………

  2. Noble1

    You’re going to love this one .

    The major carrier above which I omitted to mention has a contract to haul for a Crown Corporation . I’m mentioning this now due having spoken with another “Broker” who hauls for the same Crown Corporation and is also looking for incorporated drivers to drive his trucks .

    From my perspective , the Crown Corporation has a union . Union employees are a tremendous cost . In an attempt to bypass the “union” the Crown Corporation hires independent brokers . The broker then hires driver inc .

    So the Crown Corp attempts to cut costs by undermining and bypassing the union through back door dealing by hiring subcontractors . The subcontractor undermines the Government through the use of a loophole by hiring driver inc , LOL !

    Apparently what comes around goes around .

    The absurdity of the whole situation is that the CTA is complaining to the Government due to the driver inc lack of compliance with “regulations” aka a lack of ethics , LOL !

    And this my dear friends confirms what I have been advocating all along . GOVERNMENT & CARRIERS & their associations cause the problems , and the little truck driver is the one that ends up really getting screwed and blamed .

    This is insanity at its best !

    In my humble opinion ………..

  3. Noble1

    I just had an interesting conversation with a broker looking for truck drivers who is a broker(truck owner) hired to haul by a major carrier .

    The “broker” is looking for incorporated truck drivers specifically . I had a friendly conversation explaining to the “broker” what driver inc really implies and the “broker’s” responsibility concerning the actual relationship between the “broker” and the hired “Driver inc” according to regulations .

    The broker was unaware ,but not anymore ,lol . However , the “broker” still chose to continue to conduct business in the same fashion . The broker wants driver inc to drive the broker’s truck to haul loads for the major carrier .


    Example : If Major motor carries included a clause within their subcontractor contracts which indicates that the subcontractor MUST conduct themselves according to regulations and emphasize what the regulations are concerning driver inc. if the “broker” chooses to hire a driver , then the “broker” would be held accountable for breach of contract if the “broker” didn’t abide by regulations concerning driver inc ! Simple enough .

    The major carrier in question is quite competitive and has been growing quite rapidly since 2014 up to date .

    That being said , I stand by my earlier comment . A Truck “Driver” Alliance would rectify the problem and many others .

    When you have “Truck Drivers” EDUCATING Truck owners(brokers) on regulations , that in of itself tells you there is a major problem .

    In my humble opinion ………….

  4. Noble1

    “Where are the regulators?”

    Driver inc, is just the tip of the iceberg within the CAN OF WORMS THE TRUCKING INDUSTRY HAS BECOME .
    The CTA a major motor carrier alliance has been lobbying government concerning driver inc in an attempt to level the playing field competitively . Some of their carrier members are competing for truck drivers . That’s why the CTA got involved in this issue.

    It has nothing to do with ethics ,however , they use the ethic argument to push their cause/agenda .

    I certainly do not condone the driver inc. structure . I’m against it due to it not favoring the truck driver employee per se .
    There’s a simple remedy to it . Truck drivers must unite . Then they will be in a position to eradicate it permanently , BUT not in the major motor carriers favor . I have another plan to deal with them and too deal with you .

    For far to long truck drivers have been squeezed into accepting low wages and abuse , then used as a scapegoat . And if they were not squeezed financially abusively by the powers that be , then their would be no need for them to take advantage of the driver inc. loophole . The solution is not found in closing a loophole . They will simply find another . THEY’RE CLEVER !

    We must look at both sides of the coin . THE REASON FOR THE CAUSE , not only the effect .

    We can also discuss the per mile pay structure which is extremely unfair and exploitative . I don’t see the CTA throwing a tantrum over that sort of pay structure . Why ? Because it favors carriers/them . They even tend to use such a device as PC Miler which short changes truck drivers . I don’t see the CTA throwing a tantrum to rectify such abuse !

    The point is there are reasons that drive people to act unethically and this is what must be analyzed in the trucking industry . Through a Truck Driver Alliance ,I can guarantee that no driver would feel the need nor have a desire to act unethically . However, they would be treated more than fairly , I guarantee you that . NO MORE TRUCK DRIVER EXPLOITATION would solve a lot of problems caused by major carrier competiveness .

    People who live in a glass house shouldn’t throw stones .

    In my humble opinion ………………

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Nate Tabak

Nate Tabak is a Toronto-based journalist and producer who covers cybersecurity and cross-border trucking and logistics for FreightWaves. He spent seven years reporting stories in the Balkans and Eastern Europe as a reporter, producer and editor based in Kosovo. He previously worked at newspapers in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the San Jose Mercury News. He graduated from UC Berkeley, where he studied the history of American policing. Contact Nate at [email protected]