The Ontario Trucking Associated congratulates premier Doug Ford as the province’s 26th premier and welcomes him to work with the trucking industry on a host of competitive and compliance issues.
In a letter OTA president Stephen Laskowski and chairman Steve Ondejko expressed the industry’s excitement toward the incoming premier’s promise to bring positive economic changes to Ontario. But for trucking to continue as the lifeblood of Ontario’s economy, the government must help the industry solve the worsening professional driver shortage to ensure there’s capacity to get goods to market.
To bring immediate relief to the driver shortage, OTA asked Ford to implement an immigration program for the trucking industry, similar to one recently introduced for the Ontario construction industry, which would allow qualified trucking firms to bring professional foreign truck drivers permanently to Ontario, as well as develop a provincial funding program for qualified trucking companies to hire and train unemployed Ontarians to our sector.
“We want to make sure new entrants or immigrants coming into our sector are employed by compliant companies that follow safety, labour, tax laws,” said OTA president Stephen Laskowski. “We need to make sure compliance is rewarded and that new entrants to our country and industry are employed by carriers following the law rather than those who are not interested in safety or tax compliance.”
OTA suggests these new training and immigration programs can be paid by cracking down on tax-evading trucking companies known to implement the so-called Driver Inc. model.
“The revenue you would recoup and collect from these illegal operations would pay for a truck driver training program several times over. It’s time to end this madness with some much-needed law and order while rewarding hard-working Ontario trucking companies with tax fairness,” Steve Ondejko.
Measures to ensure competitive fairness and combat non-compliance compliance will unquestionably be the top issues OTA will raise with the incoming Minister of Transportation John Yakabuski. Minister Yakabuski was elected to the Ontario Legislature as MPP for the riding of Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke since 2003. For the official opposition, Minister Yakabuski served as the Labour and Training Critic and Chief Whip. He also served as the House Leader for the Official Opposition and as a member of the General Government Committee.
“The same companies who deploy Driver Inc. to avoid taxes often exploit other gaps in the system, such as circumventing hours-of-service rules for truck drivers and removing mandated emission controls from their vehicles with impudence. It’s time to end non-compliance in our sector,” says Laskowski. “OTA looks forward to working with Minister Yakabuski on issues of non-compliance in our sector, as well as with working with the Ford government on his campaign promise to reduce diesel fuel taxes in the province.”