Trudeau Signals Support For Canadian Trucking — And Some Carriers Really Need It

As Canadian trucking companies face an anticipated plunge in freight volumes, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Monday a 75% wage subsidy would extend to any business facing a revenue plunge of at least 30% because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking during his daily news conference, Trudeau made clear that trucking companies — along with any other business in Canada — could qualify for up to C$847 per employee per week. He highlighted Quebec trucking and logistics company Energy Transportation Group as a potential beneficiary, saying the subsidy would help ensure it "can keep moving essential goods like food and toilet paper."


Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau highlighted Quebec-based Energy Transportation Group during a news conference outside his home in Ottawa on Monday. (Video: Office of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau/YouTube)

While carriers like Energy continue to enjoy robust demand for vital consumer goods, others already are hurting. Carriers specializing in auto parts and oil services have it the worst, with fleets completely idled and layoffs hitting drivers and other employees.

Auto parts carrier: ‘We're down until they come back up'

Verspeeten Cartage in Ingersoll, Ontario, temporarily laid off its roughly 110 employee drivers. The company hauls parts for General Motors, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler, all of which halted their plants' operations in North America.

"We're down until they come back up," Verspeeten President Scott Verspeeten told FreightWaves.

He said the company is looking into the wage subsidy and whether it could rehire any of its employees even if they won't be working. Meanwhile, he said, Verspeeten has financial reserves to last several months.

"We're OK for now, and I'm sure we're better off than some," Verspeeten said.


The Outbound Tender Volume Index – Canada (OTVI.CAN) on FreightWaves' SONAR platform was 15% off its March 19 high as of Monday as trucks move less freight in the country.

In St. John, British Columbia, D.R.S. Energy Services is contemplating what to do with its 45 employees and 27 trucks.

D.R.S. serves the energy sector in British Columbia and Alberta, where the historic plunge in oil prices is having a catastrophic impact on the industry.

"We were surviving until two weeks ago. Now I'm thinking we'll be down for three months," President and owner Sandy Beech told FreightWaves.

Beech and his business partner are also looking into the subsidy and other government assistance as its trucks sit idle. He has yet to lay off the drivers but did cut back the maintenance shop to three days per week.

Barring a return to demand for hauling for rigging equipment and other oil services, Beech hopes the provincial government will grant him permission to begin mining a gravel pit. The project, delayed by more than a year, would allow the company to extract and haul gravel.

In Quebec, Energy Transportation Group CEO Shawn Girard said his company has no need to apply for the wage subsidy as demand for essential goods remains strong. But he found Trudeau's message reassuring.

"It's comforting," Girard told FreightWaves. "We don't need it right now. But will we need it a month from now?"

Posted In: CanadacoronavirusCovid-19FreightwavesJustin TrudeautruckingGovernmentNewsMedia

Ad Disclosure: The rate information is obtained by Bankrate from the listed institutions. Bankrate cannot guaranty the accuracy or availability of any rates shown above. Institutions may have different rates on their own websites than those posted on Bankrate.com. The listings that appear on this page are from companies from which this website receives compensation, which may impact how, where, and in what order products appear. This table does not include all companies or all available products.

All rates are subject to change without notice and may vary depending on location. These quotes are from banks, thrifts, and credit unions, some of whom have paid for a link to their own Web site where you can find additional information. Those with a paid link are our Advertisers. Those without a paid link are listings we obtain to improve the consumer shopping experience and are not Advertisers. To receive the Bankrate.com rate from an Advertiser, please identify yourself as a Bankrate customer. Bank and thrift deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Credit union deposits are insured by the National Credit Union Administration.

Consumer Satisfaction: Bankrate attempts to verify the accuracy and availability of its Advertisers' terms through its quality assurance process and requires Advertisers to agree to our Terms and Conditions and to adhere to our Quality Control Program. If you believe that you have received an inaccurate quote or are otherwise not satisfied with the services provided to you by the institution you choose, please click here.

Rate collection and criteria: Click here for more information on rate collection and criteria.