Charlie Charalambous has many years of experience in risk management, education and working with transportation fleets across Canada. Charlie is the Director of Client Services for ISB Canada, MEE Division. An industry advocate, Charlie dedicates a lot of his time with different associations. He is the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the Truck Training School Association of Ontario (TTSAO), Chairperson of the Toronto Chapter of the Fleet Safety Council (FSC) and the Chairperson of the FSC Joint Executive Committee. Charlie can be reached at (905).699.8837

I am fortunate that in my role as the Director of Client Services at ISB Global Services MEE Division that I am often invited to different associations and events to speak on a variety of topics. Last year I spoke at a private Motor Truck Council of Canada educational seminar on the importance of qualifying drivers.

Qualifying drivers is not something new to commercial transportation companies. All recruiters and HR professionals know the importance of having pre-determined criteria that you measure a driver against when hiring them. Unfortunately, we are sometimes willing to overlook some of the little things because of the driver shortage and pressure to onboard new drivers and keep the trucks moving.

Companies need to look at the risks associated with not properly qualifying a driver. For example, is this driver the right fit for your organization and culture you have created? Do they have the experience you require for the type of equipment you operate? Do they have running the routes you will be sending them on?

I believe that one of the biggest risks with not properly screening drivers is the potential for receiving fraudulent documentation. Please remember that this is not directed at the majority of honest, hard-working individuals; however, there are some people (drivers and non-drivers) that have been caught submitting fraudulent documents when applying for a job. These documents can include (but are not limited to):

  • Abstracts
  • Training records (diplomas, transcripts, etc.)
  • Previous employment records
  • Criminal background searches

According to Stats Canada, in 2016, 17,504 counterfeit bank notes were circulated in Canada. I think that it’s easy to say that fabricating a previous employment record or a school transcript is probably easier than a $20 bill.

When researching this topic, I even reached out to a well-respected insurance industry friend, John Farquhar, who is a Risk Solutions Specialist with The Guarantee Company of North America, to see what his thoughts were, and he said, “Anyone with a computer can scan and modify documents such as a driver’s abstract or criminal background search. Having a service that has the authority and ability to obtain the needed original documents without fear of modification or alteration is a sigh of relief for any recruiter.”

I then took it upon myself to see if I could fabricate an Ontario Driver’s Abstract. Using only Microsoft Word, I was able to recreate this abstract in 20 minutes and that included copying and pasting the Ministry of Transportation logo directly from their website. In my presentations, I display both abstracts, and the consensus from the participants is that you cannot tell the difference. It’s that easy.

While I understand that time is of the essence when hiring drivers, I think it is important never cut to corners and always make sure that you are getting all the required documentation directly from the source. I work with recruiters that always ask for their candidates to bring their documentation to the interview and then order the same documentation from the source. This allows them the opportunity to verify that the individual is truthful and that they have all the facts. Depending on the study you read, hiring a driver and all associated costs is anywhere between $7,000 and $12,000. The cost of obtaining the documentation you need to qualify a driver is only a fraction of that.

As I stated above, this issue does not pertain to the majority of drivers who are honest and do not fabricate documents, however, as a result of the few that do, I believe that it’s essential for all trucking companies to do their due diligence and make sure they are protected.

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Charlie Charalambous has many years of experience in risk management, education and working with transportation fleets across Canada. Charlie is the Director of Client Services for ISB Canada, MEE Division. An industry advocate, Charlie dedicates a lot of his time with different associations. He is the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the Truck Training School Association of Ontario (TTSAO), Chairperson of the Toronto Chapter of the Fleet Safety Council (FSC) and the Chairperson of the FSC Joint Executive Committee. Charlie can be reached at (905).699.8837