How COVID-19 Started to Impact the Trucking Industries in Canada?

Truckers Eye Flexibility in Canadian Hours-of-Service Rule ...

Trucking has been challenging nowadays because of COVID19. Most trucking companies are struggling and laying off truck drivers.

Truck drivers who are working on transportation segments such as auto haulers are mostly affected by the closure.

For example, the Challenger Motor Freight of Cambridge Ontario has laid off 40 truckers.

According to Geoff Topping, the HR Vice-President of Challenger Motor Freight, some of their business shut down due to the provincial shutdown. Some of their drivers have been laid off, but the trucking business continues to operate.

He added that another 20 support staff will also be laid off, but will continue to receive company benefits.

Moreover, the Ontario-based auto parts hauler, who requested its anonymity, said they hit the hardest by COVID19 closures.

Four hundred truck drivers of the company are both owners-operators or independent contractors. Most of them do not work now because of the fleet’s heavy reliance on the automotive industry. Because of this, truck drivers choose to stay at home.

The company executive said that they predominantly do auto parts. But since the auto industry is completely down now, only 10% of general freight is executed.

As a result, more than 80% of its employees are laid off now in the company. This accounts for 80 office staff.

Meanwhile, in Alberta, the Mullen Group laid off some employees this March. The pandemic caused the unexpected decline in economic activity, which resulted in sudden termination of employees.

Another report was from Quebec’s Groupe Robert. The company has laid off a few drivers but kept undisclosed numbers of the people affected.

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The cuts are not limited to for-hire fleets.

According to Mike Millian, president of the Private Motor Council of Canada, several PMTC members are in the process of laying off truck drivers and other staff.

Furthermore, he said that many of them are struggling whether to act now or wait for the government’s announcement of the distribution of relief packages.

The federal government has reported stimulus measures worth $107 billion. This includes a 75% wage subsidy for small and medium-sized companies, tax deferrals, interest-free loans, and aversion to layoffs.

More information will be released in Ottawa any day this week.

Millian ensured that some of its members continue to provide essential services. Some staff is delivering food, medical supplies, store supplies, and more. This outweighs those who do not have enough work to keep truckers moving.

For some fleets who look for work, Millian suggested to PMTC to contact its offices to assign truckers for carriers where power and labor are lacking.

He added that the trucking industry remains a resilient one and the hardest test yet.



Joel Curtis

Joel Curtis from Texas is a 30-year veteran in the trucking industry. He's driven refrigerated, flatbed, tankers, intermodals and more. You can find him as the primary author at America's Driving Force and at industry events.

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