Home Truck News Federal minister meets with ACQ on Driver Inc. - Truck News

Federal minister meets with ACQ on Driver Inc. – Truck News

Marc Miller, minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship, was at the Association du camionnage du Québec (ACQ)offices on Monday to discuss industry issues related to immigrant labor. Driver Inc. was of course a major topic of discussion.

The minister spoke for more than an hour-and-a-half with: Marc Cadieux, CEO of the ACQ; Claude Robert, chairman of Groupe Robert; Jean-François Pagé, executive vice-president of Transport Hervé Lemieux; and Martin Lavoie of Transport Lavoie.

Minister Miller listens to ACQ representatives
Minister Miller listens attentively to Claude Robert and Jean-François Pagé. (Photo: Steve Bouchard)

Miller told sister publication Transport Routier that he was keenly aware of the issues facing the trucking industry, starting with the shortage of truck drivers, adding that this is a challenge that goes beyond the point of entry into immigration.

“The labor shortage is narrowing and becoming more sector-specific across the country, but it’s clear that we need truck drivers. My department is at the beginning of the equation, but it’s important for me to listen to your industry representatives, to know that there’s an ecosystem that’s been created that’s not necessarily very healthy,” he says, referring to Driver Inc.

‘I understand their frustrations’

Aware of the negative impact Driver Inc. is having on the profitability of reputable trucking companies in Quebec and elsewhere in Canada, he says he wants to work to curb this scourge, but also recognizes the scale of the challenge, pointing out that it’s easier in theory than in reality to tackle situations in gray areas.

ACQ CEO Marc Cadieux (left) and Minister Marc Miller. (Photo: Steve Bouchard)

“I understand the frustrations of ACQ members. I’d have them myself if I had a company. It’s a challenge I’m going to tackle with my colleagues in other federal and provincial departments.”

Miller is also aware that the industry is getting impatient. He reiterates that a budget has been allocated to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to curb fraud and conduct audits, and that it’s a long-term job.

He admitted he is limited in what actions he can take to address Driver Inc.

“I have to stay within my field of competence,” he says. “I told the ACQ people that I’m going to work with my colleague Randy Boissonneault (minister of employment, workforce development and official languages), who has the bulk of the work at the federal level.”

‘Infinitely better’ understanding

“There’s fraud, I’m not going to hide it from you,” he adds. “There’s work to be done and, in the context of a minister that has to reduce by 20% the number of people who are here on a temporary basis, this could be one solution among many. The other side of the coin is that we still need truck drivers. We have to act responsibly.”

Following the meeting, Cadieux praised Miller’s attentiveness. “Minister Miller concluded the meeting by saying that his ministry and the other ministries involved had a duty to the carriers with regard to Driver Inc. He told me that he had already understood the problem, but now he understands it infinitely better.”


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