- by Susan Green
Driver Inc. companies are the scourge of the trucking industry. They cheat on taxes, break numerous labour laws and, according to a detailed safety analysis of convicted offenders, many are also unscrupulously unsafe operators.
So, then, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that Driver Inc. carriers would set their sights on public support funding and may be defrauding the Government of Canada through CEWS and CERB, says Canadian Trucking Alliance president Stephen Laskowski.
PSB workers are meant to be contractors – not employees – which makes these Driver Inc. companies ineligible to receive any funds under the CEWS. Yet there are growing reports that Driver Inc. companies are taking advantage of the benefits of the CEWS by shifting their payroll classifications of their supposed PSB workforce to employees for the sole purpose of receiving the CEWS subsidy and then planning to switch back to the “PSB” model following the crisis and end of the subsidy.
“CTA continues to work with the Canada Revenue Agency and ESDC to educate the industry on understanding the tax and labour implications of being a legal Personal Services Business, while stamping out Driver Inc. from our industry,” said Laskowski. “But now the federal government has another reason to go after these law-breaking companies – COVID-19 relief fraud.”
There are additional reports that Driver Inc. companies are trying to maintain their driving workforce during the crisis by not only topping up driver pay with ill-gotten CEWS funds but also with “under the table” payments.
“While CTA works with the Government of Canada on enforcement and audits of Driver Inc companies – including those already convicted by Ontario’s WSIB of Driver Inc. offenses – we are asking the industry to report Driver Inc. companies to the CRA tax cheat tip line,” added Laskowski. “Known as the CRA Lead Program, this platform is an excellent way for everyone in our industry to demand action against Driver Inc. companies and drivers.”
Here are the type of cheating offenses covered by the CRA Lead Program:
- not declaring all income
- creating false expenses or tax deductions
- taking cash “under the table”
- not filing tax returns when required
- setting up a fake business to claim losses and reduce taxes
- businesses not remitting proper source deductions
- falsely claiming tax benefits or credits
- creating false or deceptive documents or records
- charities making profits from non-charitable activities
- individuals receiving the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) who do not meet the eligibility criteria
- individuals receiving the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) who do not meet the eligibility criteria
- businesses or charities that are misusing the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)
To learn more about the CRA Leads Program click here.
Laskowski also reminded Ontarians to use the anonymous WSIB hotline (1-888-745-3237) to provide them with new auditing targets in the battle against Driver Inc.
Dozens of carriers have been convicted and their names have been provided to both CRA and ESDC for action and Laskowski is urging the industry to help expand the list of Driver Inc. being targeted for enforcement action.