Five Steps to Better Trucking: CTA Makes 2021 Federal Budget Recommendations

The Canadian Trucking Alliance reiterated five important industry positions that would improve the safety, diversify and expand labour opportunities in trucking, cut down on the trucking industry’s environmental footprint and boost competitiveness by cracking down on non-compliant carriers, among other policies. 

CTA’s recommendations, which dovetail with Canada’s own economic, environmental and social goals, were made last week to the federal government in our 2021 pre-budget submission:

  • Standing up for business and promoting Equity: The industry is asking the federal government to crack down on widespread tax evasion and labour code violations in the trucking industry by addressing Driver Inc. “To ignore Driver Inc. is to ignore Tax and Labour Code violations in the single largest job class the federal government has jurisdiction over. Combating tax evasion and protecting workers rights are key points that appear in federal mandate letters. CTA wrote. New evidence supported by enforcement data also shows potentially widespread CEWS fraud among these carriers. There is growing speculation some of these companies are also utilized by all levels of government through various transportation contracts.
  • Cap the carbon price for diesel fuel at its current price. CTA believes there are opportunities to introduce policies, programs and other fiscal measures to assist the trucking industry in its recovery from the pandemic while cutting the sector’s carbon footprint. By stimulating further growth and innovation in the green technology sector, the industry would help accelerate Canada’s ability to meet our 2030 and 2050 climate targets. The industry also asks that the government create a commercial vehicle incentive fund to give purpose to the revenue currently being generated by our industry. Instances of double taxation, like in Quebec, should also be addressed. “CTA struggles to see any policy rationale for the carbon price on heavy trucks. If the Government is going to maintain a carbon price on diesel fuel MECC must provide incentives for the ongoing purchase of mandatory carbon-reducing equipment.”
  • Invest in skills training in our sector. COVID-19 has not changed the long-term labour demands of our aging sector. In fact, it has only served to make things worse by unexpectedly accelerating retirements and slowing the rate of new entrants. In the latest throne speech, the federal government announced historic spending on training to get Canadians back to work. CTA would like our sector included in such labour investments. “Trucking has been excluded from many funding programs, such as those aimed at the skilled trades. Trucking directly competes for labour with many of these industries and it is time the sector receives equal access and support. As the industry looks to attract new entrants, it is also raising the bar when it comes to safety and training. In this, the federal government and the provinces have committed to introducing a national entry level training standard for tractor-trailer drivers (Class-1). CTA has long championed this initiative; however, these efforts will also increase training costs in our sector substantially. Now more than ever, trucking needs meaningful support from the federal government.”
  • Supporting immigration and protecting new Canadians. CTA approached ESDC and IRCC about improving the TFWP and other programs to ensure workers are not abused. CTA wants more screening measures to ensure only safe and compliant carriers can access the program and strongly supports creating pathways to permanent residency and citizenship for TFW. Both of these issues were discussed before the onset of COVID-19 and we hope this will continue with a renewed commitment from the federal government.
  • Support key infrastructure projects aimed to help facilitate Canadian trade. Canada’s economic prosperity dependents on the ability of its industries to compete for market share in the North American supply chain. Therefore, well maintained bridges, highways and interchanges, border crossings, and adequate access to major freight centres are of the utmost importance to the industry and government needs to recognize the essential role trucking plays as it sets infrastructure spending priorities.