Canada’s Transport and Labour Ministers recently confirmed to CTA that both departments are busy sharpening their tools aimed at increasing enforcement of Driver Inc. companies.
In a letter to CTA, Labour Minister Filomena Tassi issued perhaps the Labour Ministry’s most forceful outline to cracking down on Driver Inc. and confirmed it will soon begin targeted enforcement, roll out penalties and even name-and-shame certain non-compliant companies.
Minister Tassi said ESDC continues to work with CTA, Transport Canada, Revenue Canada to protect the integrity of tax, safety and labour laws and is taking measures legislatively and operationally to ensure Driver Inc – specifically the scheme to misclassify employees and independent contractors – does not undermine the law as well as the comprehensive modernization of the Labour Code.
“New compliance and enforcement tools will enable the Labour Program to impose penalties and publicly name violators who do not comply with the regulations Under the Code. Furthermore, new legislation will prohibit employers form treating individuals as if they were not employees, especially those who do so in order to avoid obligations or deny employee rights,” the letter stated.
Minister Tassi cited targeted inspections of suspected Driver Inc. companies as one instrument in Labour’s toolkit. In the meantime, Labour has ramped up communication to inform employers and employees of their roles and responsibilities regarding labour standards and occupational health and safety.
Similarly, Transport Minister Marc Garneau also wrote CTA and acknowledged data from industry and government which shows a clear connection between Driver Inc. companies and their poor on-road safety performance. In the correspondence, Minister Garneau expressed his commitment to continue to work with CTA to improve truck safety on a number of fronts. CTA had recently sounded the safety alarm for Driver Inc. companies based on an analysis of the numerous fleets assessed by Ontario’s WSIB for Driver Inc. violations.
“As we all know, a culture of non-compliance is seldom isolated to just one set of rules,” said CTA Chair Jean-Claude Fortin. “It’s much deeper than that. These unscrupulous practices are often ingrained in the business models of these companies, pushing them to cut corners wherever and whenever they can.
“CTA is pleased to see both ministers acknowledge that Driver inc. is a problem and that they are working with their counterparts in other departments to take a comprehensive and proactive approach to enforcement.”
Meanwhile, the Minister of National Revenue also confirmed to CTA that CRA has initiated actions related to Personal Services Businesses (PSBs) and Driver Inc. noncompliance. CRA confirmed its commitment to protecting the integrity of the tax system, including launching several onsite visits to certain trucking companies.
The news complements CTA’s new Cost of Compliance, shipper awareness campaign on Driver Inc, which aims to educate customers of freight services within the supply chain on how to choose responsible transportation providers and identify whether freight carriers are cheating on taxes; cutting corners on safety; polluting the environment and otherwise putting shippers at risk of liability and public scrutiny.
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