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.