Ontarians Would Support Enforcement of Driver Inc.

Three in four Ontarians (75%) support or would accept the federal government taking action to stop Driver Inc. — effectively mirroring the opinion of Canadians across the country.

Fifty-seven percent of Ontarians surveyed said they would ‘strongly’ support (33%) or support (24%) enforcement action – mirroring the overall average of respondents across Canada – while another 18% said they would accept further action. Only 8% said they would oppose or strongly oppose such intervention.

This view is shared by majorities across the country, across all demographic groups, and across supporters of all the main federal political parties.

Forty-eight percent of Ontario respondents said the most “worrying” aspect of Driver Inc. is that workers under the system do not have the same rights, protections and benefits as those working for compliant companies that don’t use the scheme. This was the highest level of concern across all provinces. Alternatively, 36% of Ontarians said they were most concerned Driver Inc. would push compliant companies out of business, further increasing pressure on the supply chain.

The good news is the Government of Canada is listening to industry and  beginning to escalate enforcement of Driver Inc. CTA and OTA were very encouraged that the issue was acknowledged in the Government of Canada’s Fall Economic Statement and more recently, Federal Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan committed to stepping up enforcement through “punitive” labour measures and tools.

These words have been followed up with actions throughout the fall as an additional 14 companies – beyond those identified in the initial enforcement pilot – have been audited by ESDC in Ontario for Driver Inc. violations and are receiving enforcement action. ESDC has also begun a national enforcement campaign against Driver Inc. with 17 companies identified. To date, three audits have been initiated and two companies have been found to be in noncompliance. The national campaign against Driver Inc. is expected to ramp up in 2023 as resources allocated in the Fall Economic Statement become available to the Department.

“There is no doubt that Ontario is the hotbed for Driver Inc., as recent report on the growth of zero-employee firms clearly shows,” said OTA Chair James Steed. “The recent actions by Minister O’Regan and ESDC enforcement officers are welcomed by the Ontario trucking industry and we very much look forward to working with ESDC in 2023 to step up targeted enforcement on Driver Inc. in the province to ensure violating offenders are brought into compliance.”

These words have been followed up with actions throughout the fall. ESDC’s Labour Program has already taken steps toward enforcement measures against non-compliant employers. During its pilot project in Ontario, the Labour Program found about 60 percent of federal road transportation companies were misclassifying employees. Enforcement measures have included Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMP). In these situations, the Labour Program can publish the names of employers who have received an AMP.

Meanwhile, OTA and CTA continue to work with other federal departments with enforcement capabilities, like the Canada Revenue Agency, to ensure tax compliance is also a priority.

The Abacus Poll was commissioned by the Canadian Trucking Alliance. It was conducted randomly with 1500 Canadians aged 18 and over, between October 21-26.

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