HALIFAX, N.S. – The president of the Canadian Trucking Alliance made an impassioned plea Wednesday for action against carriers involved in illegal and unsafe activities in the hiring of foreign drivers.
“We need to cut this out like a cancer,” Stephen Laskowski said of fleets exploiting unsuspecting foreign job seekers.
His comments followed a recent expose by the Globe and Mail, which revealed that even carriers with a history of multiple-injury accidents and safety violations were cleared to hire newcomers under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
Laskowski told delegates at the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association annual conference in Halifax, N.S., that it is time to deal with the issue.
He reminded them that stopping the immigration programs is not the answer because “90% of all labor growth in all industries (in Canada) is tied to immigration”.
But he offered an easy way out: Don’t allow companies that do not have safety and labor protocols in place to participate in immigration programs.
“Access to immigration shouldn’t be a right, it should be a privilege.”
Laskowski called the non-compliant fleets a “giant drag” on the broader trucking industry. He said non-compliance is actually a business plan to gain a market advantage, and governments had allowed it to continue.
“We don’t need that garbage. We don’t need a three-page expose about that stuff that goes on in our industry, and we need to start holding federal and provincial governments accountable to do something about it.”
He said the alliance will launch its own campaign soon to bolster the industry’s image.