Meal Allowance Change: Government of Canada Invests and Supports Canada’s Commercial Truck Drivers

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The Canadian Trucking Alliance is applauding Transportation Minister Marc Garneau’s announcement today that the Government of Canada will be providing needed relief by increasing the federal meal allowance for commercial truck drivers grappling with soaring food costs as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.

“The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has changed the day-to-day lives of truck drivers while choking off many affordable and healthy meal options available to them on the road,” said CTA President Stephen Laskowski. “Today’s announcement by Minister Garneau to increase the meal allowance rate for truck drivers is yet another example of how Ottawa is showing incredible support for the trucking industry and its workforce throughout the COVID crisis.”

The simplified method (flat rate) for meal allowance will now increase from $17 to $23 per meal. The new policy is effective immediately and retroactive to January 1, 2020. To learn more about this policy change click here.

Prior to COVID-19, truck drivers had many more options to rest and eat, including cost-efficient, full-menu or buffet-style establishments where they could pick and choose a variety meal options based on price, value and dietary needs. The constrained supply of restaurants has left drivers with less healthy and more expensive options, which have only escalated in price since the outbreak of COVID-19 – especially in the more remote areas many truckers find themselves while on the road.

“The meal allowance policy change will assist our essential workers who continue to move our nation’s domestic and two-way trade with the United States. These positive changes to the meal allowance policy is an investment in securing the Canadian supply chain and is a symbol of the value and respect cabinet – and Minister Garneau, particularly – has for our nation’s commercial truck drivers,” added Laskowski. 

The Canadian Trucking Alliance would like to thank and acknowledge the efforts of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, Teamsters Canada, Women’s Trucking Federation of Canada and Private Motor Truck Council of Canada and the provincial association members of CTA who have all been involved in educating the Government of Canada for this needed policy change.

Both Minister Garneau and the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue, whose department was responsible for crafting the new policy and approving it, had supportive words for both the industry and the policy:

  • Updating our policies is an integral part of our People First philosophy to put Canadians at the centre of everything we do. The increase to the reasonable amount for meal benefits and allowances, as well as the flat rate amount for meal expenses, demonstrates CRA’s commitment to ensuring our tax system is fair and meets the needs of Canadians today.”

The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue

  • “On behalf of the Canadian government, I would like to express our gratitude to all those who work in Canada’s trucking industry. This year, more than ever before, you’ve been on the front lines. You have kept our country going, moving food, medications, and so many other essential goods that keep Canadians safe and healthy… Canadians owe much to the tireless work of Canada’s truck drivers, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. These increased meal allowance rates will ensure that truckers and other essential workers can access affordable meals as they travel long distances, transporting critical goods and supplies.” –The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport

CTA is encouraging members and drivers to send supportive messages over social media or through e-mails to both Ministers.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance would like to thank and acknowledge the efforts of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, Teamsters Canada, Women’s Trucking Federation of Canada and Private Motor Truck Council of Canada and the provincial association members of CTA who have all been involved in educating the Government of Canada for this needed policy change.

Also, a special thanks goes out to Ontario Trucking Association Board member, Ron Uloth, of the Rosedale Group, for hosting today’s press conference with Minister Garneau.

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