The Teamsters are actively warning truck drivers not to fall victim to carrier companies trying to multiplate them into taking part of the tax evasion and driver misclassification scam known as Driver Inc.
“Whether you are a seasoned veteran or completely new to trucking, anyone can fall victim to the “Driver Inc” scam. Be very careful if you are told to incorporate as a trucking company to make more money. Unless you lease or own your own truck, you are likely walking into the “Driver Inc” scam,” the Teamster said in a statement.
Echoing the concerns expressed for years by the Canadian Trucking Alliance, the Teamsters statements attempts to educate drivers and shippers on the pitfalls of taking part in the illicit practice, which is often urged by companies so they can avoid paying taxes, complying with labour rules and providing employees with certain benefits and insurances.
“Victims of the “Driver Inc” scam work with considerably fewer protections and entitlements. They have no government compensation if they are injured while working. They cannot take paid parental leave, cannot benefit from employment insurance, and almost certainly will not have a government pension when they retire,” the statement rightly points out.
“Moreover, victims of the “Driver Inc” scam have a much harder time claiming overtime pay, paid sick days, vacation pay, severance pay, and the ten paid statutory holidays. And good luck accessing a group health and dental insurance plan. These entitlements are normally reserved for employees – not incorporated entities.”
Furthermore, the system also runs a high risk of drivers being audited by the Canada Revenue Agency. “Believing themselves to be a normal corporation, victims of the “Driver Inc” scam will make a series of small business deductions they are not entitled to. The government can order you to pay everything back, going back years, costing you tens of thousands of dollars.”
Dealing with companies involved in a scam carries its own set of safety risks, as well, the union says.
“If the company is willing to break one law, they are probably willing to break others too. Victims of the “Driver Inc” scam often report having trouble being paid for their work, being forced to work dangerously long hours behind the wheel, and being forced to operate unsafe vehicles.”
“Engage with shady and dishonest companies at your own risk.”
Finally, the statements points out how taking part in Driver Inc. hurts Canadians and the economy at-large.
“Employers who get their drivers to incorporate … don’t need to pay into social programs or offer their drivers any perks. They are the real bad guys in this story.
“Because these shady and dishonest employers save so much money off the backs of the government and their drivers, they can afford to offer their clients lower rates. This leads to more business, and unfair competition for other legitimate and respectable trucking companies.
““Driver Inc” scam costs governments over $1 billion annually in lost tax revenue, hurting all Canadians.”