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Canadian Federal Government Launches Targeted Inspections and New Fines against Driver Inc.
The Canadian Federal Government will commence a number of schemes aimed at curbing the excesses of Driver Inc. in the course of the year. Driver Inc. is a business operation that wrongly categorizes its staff as an independent service provider.
According to the spokesman of Employment and Social Development Canada, this new legislative development will come into effect in 2020 and will entail the identification of default employers that have not complied with the regulations laid out in the Canada Labour Code. He went further to reveal that these individuals will be penalized.
He also added that organized inspections focusing on the carriers that wrongly classify their members of staff will be carried out sometimes within the year. He, however, stated that the opportunity will be given to employers to proactively make necessary amendment within their organization to comply with the Canada Labour Code. In addition to this, series of awareness and sensitization campaign will be carried out to contact the organizations that are not aware of their responsibilities.
The Spokesman disclosed that the Federal Labour Program has planned to launch a sensitization and enlightenment program targeted at road transport organizations this spring. The program will incorporate information-sharing sessions on occupational health & safety, and labour standards. This is to heighten the level of awareness among drivers and carriers on the prerequisites of the Labour Code.
A Review of Past Enforcement
Suffice to mention that some enforcement schemes were introduced in October of 2018 when Patty Hajdu, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour spoke publicly about the challenge of the misclassification of staff as independent service providers among truck fleets organizations. During an industry briefing, Hadju stated that both employee and employer groups have agreed that misclassification was indeed a real issue, which has produced an atmosphere of instability in the industry.
The government has made information resources available online to help in the classification of business as an employee or a contractor. Additional communication materials will be deployed to create awareness for drivers and carriers to spell out their rights and obligations under the Labour Code.
The Ontario Workplace Safety & Insurance Board has indicated that it’s not business as usual for truck fleets organizations. Late last year, the Ontario Trucking Association revealed that dozens of truck fleets companies in Ontario have been fined for using the Driver Inc. to circumvent the payment of premiums.
The Policy Push
Recently, the alliance started a public policy campaign to describe the growth in the business model challenge and the implication on the economy. According to the alliance, the Driver Inc. has costs the federal taxpayers an estimate of about $1 billion. A large chunk of this money is attributed to the non-payment of income taxes by drivers, who claim business related expenditure, something they are ordinarily not entitled.
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