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CanadaNews

Exposé of immigration scheme in Canadian trucking prompts warning from feds

Government says employers who abuse the foreign worker program face “serious consequences” after a newspaper reveals how some carriers exploited under-qualified job-seekers and put them on the road.

The Canadian government said any employer found to break the rules of a temporary worker program would face “serious consequences” after an investigation by The Globe and Mail exposed a scheme that saw trucking companies with poor safety records luring inexperienced foreign workers into driver careers.

Canada’s second-largest newspaper found that some trucking companies and immigration consultants were exploiting job-seekers through Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program, which allows companies to temporarily fill vacancies from outside the country when the jobs can’t be filled. The investigation revealed an array of allegations such as payments for jobs. 

“Any employer found to have violated the rules of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program will face serious consequences,”  Isabelle Maheu, a spokesperson for the program’s administrator, Employment and Social Development Canada, wrote in an email on October 8. 

Maheu would not say whether Employment and Social Development Canada was investigating any employers mentioned in The Globe and Mail’s report. But she wrote that allegations of misuse are being investigated.

“The Government of Canada takes very seriously its responsibility to protect the integrity of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, as well as the safety and welfare of temporary foreign workers, and does not tolerate any abuse or misuse of workers,” Maheu wrote. 

Trucking companies across Canada frequently struggle to fill driver positions. Statistics Canada reported more than 20,000 vacancies in trucking during the second quarter of 2019, a number that has been increasing in recent years.

But within the industry, there is growing anger about employers who cut corners to fill trucks and improve their operating margins. 

“The article put the final piece of the puzzle together,” said Wendell Erb, CEO of Erb Group, an Ontario-based trucking company that specializes in refrigerated transport. 

The Canadian Trucking Alliance responded to the Globe’s report, saying it was “embarrassed by the actions of a small element of our sector.” 

The organization, which represents carriers across Canada,  called on improved oversight by federal and provincial authorities and also singled out a practice known as “Driver Inc.” where drivers are intentionally misclassified as independent contractors to avoid tax withholding.

The organization also stressed the importance of immigration programs that help fill trucks and other positions in the industry. 

“It’s imperative our valued new immigrants end up with the majority of compliant, responsible fleets operating in Canada,” the organization wrote in a statement.

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Nate Tabak, Canada Correspondent

Nate Tabak is a journalist, editor and producer in Toronto. He covers Canada for FreightWaves, with a keen interest on the cross-border economic relationship with the United States. Nate spent seven years working as an investigative editor and reporter based in Kosovo. He covered everything from corruption to the country’s emerging wine industry. He also reported across the Balkans and investigated Albania’s multibillion-dollar marijuana industry with a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Nate grew up in Berkeley, Calif. He enjoys exploring Toronto with his wife and is always looking forward to his next meal.

7 Comments

  1. Over 200 complaints after the article in the paper. Some the biggest offenders was large us trucking companies with offices and training schools in Ontario Canada and some large trucking companies in Canada with over 1000 employees. The C.T. A and the B. C. T.A and O. T.A . I talked to the O. T A yesterday morning and asked what they do to correct the problem of their members on cheating new truck drivers to Canada and no response from them. The O. T.A. Members have not paying at the hourly rate in the contracts, and forced other small trucking companies out of business by under bidding them. 5195239586

  2. TOLD YOU !

    Major motor carriers and their lobbying associations cause the problem then offer a solution to the problem they caused that will cause another problem , LOL ! These people are a freaking joke and they themselves are a disgrace to the industry !

    In my humble opinion ………

    GOOGLE THIS !
    Why the Ontario Trucking Association wants foreign workers to fill trucker shortage

  3. More immigrants equals more accidents due to inexperienced workers that are from Countries that don’t have any “rules of the road”.

    1. I used to think that as well until I really started to analyze the situation , interact with them ,and even work with them .

      We Caucasians tend to jump to conclusions a little to quickly in my humble opinion . First analyze the one’s who drive cars in our country . Count the number of times that you have been cut off , tail gated etc by a Caucasian .

      Compare that to the number of immigrants that do that . In my experience ,I’ve been cut , disrespected and duped a lot more by a Caucasian than an immigrant . In fact when I went to truck driving school my Caucasian teacher would fall asleep on the passenger side while I was driving . Can you imagine that ?

      And I’m one all about safety ! The freaking clown would FALL ASLEEP ! His cop out was ,”you see how I trust you otherwise I wouldn’t nod off” . Wait that’s not all . One day I do my inspection on the outside of the truck and notice that one of the drive tires on the cab has a flat . So I tell him and he checks and we can see the nail still in the tire . He says don’t worry about it we’re just driving around town .

      Anyways back to “immigrants” . You cannot put them all in the same basket . Just like you can’t put all Caucasians in the same basket . Some people are reasonable and some are not . Some have been well trained and some have not . Some have been exploited and some not , while some exploit and some do not . You get the picture ?

      And when you read the type of articles like the one above and or hear their stories , how can you not feel compassion ? Not only are some not properly trained , they are exploited in a country that they are not accustomed to . They are judged tremendously because they look different and come from somewhere else . Some can hardly speak English . Can you imagine how difficult it must be for them to adapt ?

      You should see the propaganda they are influenced by to persuade them to join the trucking trade . I’ve seen advertising videos . It’s truly unbelievable ! They are promised the good life of fame and fortune . And I’m not exaggerating . The video shows dancing and music with exotic cars and amazing looking trucks and big wads of cash with beautiful models and mansions , LOL !

      Then they arrive here and it ain’t quite the same story .It’s each one for themselves . And if one just happens to make a mistake and gets in an accident and is deemed to have been negligent and kills someone in the process , and ends of in jail for years in a foreign country where a lot tend to be racist , can you imagine being in their shoes ? What a nightmare !

      The way I see it is we should look out for them , talk and listen to them ,and help them . Don’t get me wrong , some are freaking crooks just like some Caucasians .

      In my area there are very few immigrants , in fact I hardly see any . And you should see how the people generally drive in my area , especially during rush hour ! I can’t blame the color of their skin , it’s the same color as mine ! I can’t blame the country they came from because they came from mine ! And these people jeopardise my safety and their own !

      So who is to blame ? How about the clowns that structured and or allowed the so called curriculum at a driving school ? What about these people who are suppose to oversee these GOVERNMENT regulated operations ?

      And your license is obtained through a government establishment that TESTS you before granting you the privilege to drive ! Now if we have crooks in the government system who bypass certain regulations and accept cash to grant licenses without testing , then that’s also a major government problem in regards to not overseeing the work ethic in their establishments !

      My point is yes some are abusive , but most are just following what they are being told in a strange foreign country . And either they adapt or they end up realizing something is definitely wrong and they need to reach out in some way so that we know what’s going on .

      Isn’t that what “truckers” are attempting to do with all their complaints about unfairness , low wages , HOS , etc etc ??? Are we not trying to alert and render the public aware in some way that we as truck drivers are at the end of our rope and fed up of the BS that is imposed upon us ?

      We’re all in the same boat buddy ! Everyone has either a similar story or a slightly different one but the fact is we all have a story about the BS that is imposed upon us . AND “THAT” is what’s not normal !

      My motto is be a friend and make a friend . You would be astonished at what some truckers have to go through especially immigrants if you were to simply be a little more approachable and listen .

      The one’s I blame are government , and trucking associations(major motor carriers) due to their constant and never ending BS propaganda manipulating whoever for their own benefit without thinking about the consequences ! THEY CAUSE PROBLEMS ! Then they manipulate for regulations that favor their cause .

      And we put up with that BS ! Perhaps we are the one’s who should get our heads checked .

      In my humble opinion …………..

      PS , not to worry , after PASSING my truck driver regulated test , I managed to find a company that trained me extremely well , although they took advantage of me as a new driver . I began by HAULING CARS ! One of the most difficult jobs in trucking . Luckily I had the right mentality and aptitude .

      Be wise and be safe ,10-4 !

      1. Trucking will not get better till gov. Makes it mandatory training by trucking companies that hire new comers, and I mean all cultures , also need to know the language, and in canada or the u.s it’s English

        1. In regards to truck driver training .

          “Mandatory” training doesn’t mean “quality” training. Quality training depends on the curriculum(the educational context) and the qualifications of the teacher(s) .

          Simple example . If you go to a truck driving school and all they make you do is drive around the same block apart from inspecting the truck , we can’t consider that as quality training .

          Another example . If you go to a truck driving school that doesn’t have tankers , you’re not really qualified to drive a tanker . Although you may still manage to get a job hauling a tanker . The same concerning hauling cars , and or hauling logs off road in the mountains , and or bulk tankers and or dump truck trailers .

          The specialized haulers that I have mentioned demand understanding that cannot be understood by simply learning how to haul a dry box or flat bed .
          The burden of training to haul the specialized trailers that I mentioned remains on the carrier/employer . There is no “mandatory” training on hauling those type of specialized trailers except if you’re hauling dangerous goods . Most companies make you take a dangerous goods course off of the internet which is a joke !

          I know drivers that took 5 1/2 month courses paid by government , over 600 hours of training hauling dry box and flat bed BUT couldn’t shift properly and couldn’t back up . Though they are considered to have experience enough to obtain low insurance premiums as if they have been driving for 3 years due to following a 5 1/2 month course at a specialized trucking school . How is that for quality while following “mandatory” Training ?

          A kid is considered an experienced truck driver after taking a 5 1/2 month course by insurance companies ???

          And a government trucking test in order to obtain a CDL is extremely easy to pass . It’s based on a percentage score ! Not a 100% passing mark !

          The current problem concerning truck driving courses/schools are much bigger than they appear . Some teachers and some schools may be good while others not so much . But if you pass the test ,then you’re good to go .

          In my opinion ,most trucking schools are not equipped for proper truck driver training . That being said , there is one heck of a good one in France . That school should be used as an example to follow and improve upon from there .

          On another note :

          You wouldn’t believe how many brokers(who don’t have a CDL nor know anything about driving a semi or the business and regulations) own trucks and hire drivers to haul for them . We drivers are the one’s they depend on to be educated ! And most of these clowns attempt to force the driver into being incorporated in order to obtain the truck driving job ! They don’t understand the employee/employer relationship .

          Now that is a major problem that you generally don’t read nor hear about . Any ignoramus can buy a truck and hire a driver to drive for them . You wouldn’t believe the headache that causes .

          I’ve been around the block a few times and I can guarantee you that the problems in the trucking industry are so profound that government can’t fix them . They are oblivious to what is really going on .

          Government are understaffed . They are backlogged with so many complaints about driver inc.
          It takes a moment to screw over a driver and nearly a year, sometimes more, for them to rectify the problem . And that’s just concerning driver inc .

          Major motor carriers are also a joke and they have their own agenda .

          It would take government over 20 years to rectify the can of worms the trucking industry has become .

          However, if truck drivers united , it would take truckers one tenth of that time .

          In my humble opinion ………………

  4. I read Manitoba came out with some new regulations concerning the story about immigration abuse in the trucking industry lately . You should see some of the requirements they’re asking from immigrants to become a truck driver , LOL !

    A grade 12 education or the equivalent is one requirement ! I know of some great trucking schools that require grade 9 in their government subsidized trucking program .

    Think about it . What in the heck will a grade 12 teach you to perform better as a driver on the road ? Look at all these grade 12 “4 wheelers” on the road .

    The system is out of whack . We have ignoramuses in office with grade 12 educations and college/University degrees that legislate these type of stupid regulations . That’s the problem .

    In my humble opinion ………..

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