Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Chrystia Freeland, today delivered the Fall Economic Statement. Considered a so-called ‘mini budget,’ the statement addressed several key CTA initiatives including, Driver Inc, immigration, and border operations.
The Economic Statement notes “there is a long history of companies using the misleading “Drivers Inc.” practice, whereby drivers are encouraged to self-incorporate and operate as independent contractors without being provided information on the downsides of the practice. By not classifying drivers as employees, companies are denying them access to important rights and entitlements under the Canada Labour Code, such as paid sick leave, health and safety standards, employer contributions for Employment Insurance and the Canada Pension Plan, and provincial or territorial workplace injury compensation.”
The statement also directly mentions the recent enforcement pilot conducted in Ontario by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), in which gross noncompliance related to Driver Inc. was found. As the Economic Statement notes, “in a recent pilot enforcement project to educate federally-regulated transportation employers about the new rules, more than 60 per cent were found to be in contravention of the misclassification rules.”
The Economic Statement goes on to note that further action is needed to combat Driver Inc. and that “further action responds to calls by the Canadian Trucking Alliance and Teamsters Canada, representing both employers and workers, to address this coercive practice.”
Stephen Laskowski, president of the Canadian Trucking Alliance said members are happy to see their Alliance’s calls for action on Driver Inc. officially listed as a priority for the government in the Economic Statement.
“As the statement notes, both ESDC and CRA will be making compliance a priority and we look forward to working with both departments to ensure hard enforcement is commenced nationally as soon as possible,” he said.
Key Details on Driver Inc. Enforcement.
- The 2022 Fall Economic Statement proposes to provide $26.3 million over five years, starting in 2023-24, to Employment and Social Development Canada to take stronger action against non-compliant employers through orders, fines, and prosecutions to enforce the Canada Labour Code. This will improve working conditions for thousands of gig workers, newcomers, and racialized Canadians while creating fairer, safer workplaces for everyone by ensuring that federally regulated transportation employers are not illegally misclassifying their drivers.
- The Canada Revenue Agency is currently working across sectors, including the road transportation industry, to encourage greater awareness and foster compliance with tax rules governing the use of incorporated employees. Further details will be provided in Budget 2023. Canadians are encouraged to report suspected tax avoidance to the Canada Revenue Agency, either online or by phone.”
The Fall Economic Statement as notes key investments in border operations, including proposing to provide $137 million for the Canada Border Services Agency to enhance its frontline capacity and hire additional officers to help alleviate border pressures, as well as prevent prohibited or restricted goods from entering Canada.
“The work being done by border officers is even more vital today, considering current supply chain stresses. There is now, more than ever, a pressing need to invest in border officers to facilitate the efficient movement of goods and truck drivers at the border. CTA strongly applauds this announcement,” said Lak Shoan, CTA director of Policy and Industry Awareness Programs.
Immigration is also a key theme in the Statement, with Canada’s new immigration targets rising to reach 500,000 immigrants in 2025. The Statement also mentions the Express Entry Program as key to meeting labour demands, a program the trucking industry was recently granted access to.
“CTA has been discussing with the Government of Canada how we think it can help stabilize the trucking industry’s labour force,” said Jonathan Blackham, CTA director of Policy and Public Relations. “Ensuring the trucking industry is prioritized in key immigration programs, like Express Entry, remains a key priority for the Alliance.”
CTA will provide a deeper analysis to members over the coming the days and will continue to work with the Government of Canada to action these key commitments. CTA will also be working with the government to action the National Supply Chain Strategy which will be announced in Budget 2023 and will be designed to help alleviate supply chain stresses, create resiliency, modernize cargo and clearance inspection practices, along with other key measures.