Driving the Underground Economy

Dec 02, 2022

Driving the Underground Economy

What is Driver Inc.?

Driver Inc. is a form of labour misclassification where companies avoid providing labour rights and entitlements to employees. In a pilot project conducted in Ontario by ESDC’s Labour Program, approximately 60% of federally regulated transport companies were engaged in employee misclassification, which equates to more than $1 billion of unpaid taxes being funneled into the underground economy.

More simply put, Driver Inc. encompasses those employers that work in a “wink-wink” fashion. By misclassifying employees to cut payroll costs, employers engaged in the scheme can offer lower rates, giving them an illegal advantage over their competitors.

In a poll released by the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA), 92% of respondents said the argument against Driver Inc. was strong due to workers under the scheme not having the same rights, protections and benefits as those workers working for companies that don’t use the scheme.

Why is it wrong?

Not only is Driver Inc. illegal, but by engaging in the practice, employers are putting the entire industry’s reputation on the line.

In the same poll conducted by CTA, 44% of respondents said that the abuse of workers was the most concerning aspect of the scheme; while 36% said they were most concerned that Driver Inc. would push compliant companies out of business, resulting in further strain on the supply chain.

What are the consequences?

ESDC’s Labour Program is working towards enforcement measures against non-compliant employers, including Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMP) and the publishing of employer names who receive these penalties.

The Labour Program’s national enforcement campaign is expected to ramp up in 2023 as the resources allocated in the Fall Economic Statement will become available. Similarly, the CTA is continuing to work with other federal departments, like the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), to ensure that tax compliance is a priority.

Of those surveyed by CTA, 73% of respondents support the federal government taking action against Driver Inc., with the highest support coming from the four western provinces (61% - B.C., 58% - Alta, Sask/MB). Further, only 8% of Canadians said they would oppose the government intervening.

Internally, when employers provide employees with a positive work environment and labour rights, employees exhibit higher levels of productivity and decreased turnover rates – but the opposite is true with Driver Inc.


If you suspect a business in engaged in the Driver Inc. scheme and cheating their taxes, report them to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) by submitting a lead to the Leads Program.

Submit a new lead online: How to report and send supporting documents - Canada.ca

By phone: 1-866-809-6841

                   Office Hours: 8:15 am to 4:45 pm, EST

By fax: 1-888-724-4829 

If you are a federally regulated driver who is not receiving labour rights and/or entitlements from your employer, file a complaint with Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).

To do so, you must submit the appropriate complaint form and any supporting documents by email to NA-ERO-GD@labour-travail.gc.ca or by mail to the closest Labour Program office. To locate an office, refer to:

  • The region offices listing, or
  • Contact the labour program at 1-800-641-4049

The STA, YWCA Saskatoon and Saskatchewan Ministry of Immigration and Career Training have launched a pilot-program to encourage more woman to participate in the trucking industry.

Learn More