Taxation avoidance and labour abuse are arguably the main areas of delinquency by Driver Inc companies, but their unscrupulous behaviour often spills into highway and equipment safety non-compliance, say the Canadian Trucking Alliance and Teamsters Canada.
In a joint letter to the Council of Ministers Responsible for Transportation and Highway Safety, CTA and Teamsters Canada outlined how Driver Inc companies often exhibit a pattern of recklessness and non-compliance in virtually all areas of their operations, including safety.
Data from Ontario’s WSIB and MTO, for example, shows “how the on-road safety performance records of Driver Inc. corporations captured under WSIBs enforcement efforts show a clear trend of non-compliance having a spillover effect into the areas of safety management,” the latter states. “This puts at further risk the drivers working for these operations (who lose all labour rights protections, overtime pay and vacation) and the Canadian motoring public that unfortunately must share the road with the vehicles these companies operate across our highway network.”
CTA and Teamsters Canada have been calling on all levels of government to put an end to the labour misclassification and tax scam, known as Driver Inc., which as a matter of practice, removes all labour protections for workers, creates an unlevel competitive playing field as participants do not pay taxes and further expands the underground economy.
Recently, CTA and The Teamsters wrote the ministers of the federal departments responsible for labour and taxation to urge a concerted and coordinated effort to stop the Driver Inc. business model.
As the ultimate authority over whether these trucking operations are permitted to operate their vehicles on Canadian roads and offer their services to the supply chain, Ministers responsible for transportation across Canada also have an important role to play, says CTA and Teamsters Canada.
Specifically, CTA and TC are asking officials responsible for truck safety oversight to work with ESDC and various Workers Compensations Boards (WCB) counterparts in reviewing audit data of companies found to be in gross non-compliance.
Repeat offenders should then no longer be permitted to operate; and their safety fitness certificates issued by a province of territory should be cancelled and their operations must cease immediately, CTA and TC urge.
“These corporations have clearly demonstrated a blatant disregard for their workers, public road safety and their responsibilities as businesses to pay their fair share to fund key government social and infrastructure programs,” the letter states.
Many trucking corporations who make it a standard practice to operate outside the law will undoubtably attempt to “ghost” – avoid consequences of their actions by registering numerous safety fitness certificates across multiple jurisdictions – so, therefore, the cancelation of safety fitness certificates must also apply to all known affiliated companies and companies under the control and direction of the primary owner or ownership group.
“If there are real consequences for operating under the Driver Inc. model, this scheme can be successfully eliminated with your cooperation, allowing compliant trucking companies to operate without fear of unfair competition while also protecting the rights of our most critical resource – our workforce.”