The Ontario Trucking Association thanked the government of Ontario for its continued support of the industry during the COVID-19 crisis and asked it to double down on enforcement of carriers operating in the underground economy by misclassifying truck drivers and cheating on emission-control rules, among other illegal activities.
In a provincial pre-budget submission, OTA applauded the efforts of the government and WSIB, in particular, for taking aim at a small, but growing number of trucking companies that are using the underground economy by employing a scam known as Driver Inc. to fund their unscrupulous driver recruitment tactics and gain market share.
So far, WSIB has levied millions of dollars in fines to over 100 of these companies, but OTA implored the government to expand these efforts.
“If this practice goes unchecked, an increasing number of compliant trucking companies will be put out of business. OTA would like the provincial government to ensure that any contracts awarded by the province, or through a controlled entity, adequately screen the winning carrier to ensure they are not a Driver Inc. company and are in compliance will all tax, labour, and workers compensations laws,” the submission states.
OTA also lauded for leading the charge in Canada for cracking down on non-compliant companies who utilize technology designed to circumvent emissions and speed controls. The association urge the government to ensure that roadside enforcement has the adequate resources and technology necessary to enforce the law.
Throughout the submission, OTA also lent its support to the province toward introducing a regulation requiring provincially regulated trucking companies to install third-party certified electronic loggings devices (ELDs) in all their trucks. A similar federal mandate for nationally regulated carriers goes into effect June 2021.
As well, OTA recommended funding toward highway clearance and congestion related to collisions and illegal billing by towing operators.
While the government continues working with the trucking industry on vehicle/driver licence/registration issues during the COVID-19 crisis, OTA continued to encourage the province, under the phase 2 vaccination plan of essential workers, to include the trucking industry within this phase as essential workers.