Trampling workers’ rights and basic human rights should never be the cost of doing business, says the Ontario Trucking Association.
OTA says that parts of the trucking sector are all too familiar with labour abuse through the growing Driver Inc. scheme, which is based on taking advantage of workers and keeping from them benefits, entitlements and labour protections they have rights to under the law.
Often, penalties and enforcement systems are not tough enough to change behaviour and dissuade employers from operating under Driver Inc.
Minister McNaughton’s announcement to introduce legislation that will significantly increase fines for companies that withhold passports from workers, was welcomed by the OTA. The fines reportedly will go from $1,000 or less to between $100,000 to $200,000 – the highest maximum fines in Canada for businesses and people who are convicted of withholding a foreign national’s passport or work permit. Violators could also face jail time.
“Minister McNaughton should be applauded for his swift action in dealing with this problem, which has roots in the Driver Inc. scheme in the trucking sector,” said OTA President Stephen Laskowski. “Whether it’s withholding passports, withholding wages, blocking workers from their rightful benefits, or charging obscene amounts of money for visas and LMIAs, the days of treating these companies with kid gloves needs to end. We also look forward to working with several government departments on other strategies and legislative changes which would help put an end to the overall abuse and misclassification of truck drivers.”
OTA will be providing input to Minister’s McNaughton’s legislation and will strongly advocate that enforcement on this issue is focused on the trucking sector. It also sees a strong enforcement role for the federal government and have been advocating for joint federal and provincial cooperation on these matters.