Groups say Canada is eating truckers’ lunch

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Teamsters Canada, the Owner-Operators Business Association of Canada and the Canadian Trucking Alliance have launched a postcard campaign to lobby for changes in meal deductions for Canadian truckers. The campaign, dubbed “End Canada’s Lunch Bag Letdown,” features postcards distributed to drivers at trucking shows and truck stops and included with paychecks. Drivers can mail the cards to Jim Flaherty, Canada’s finance minister.

In 1994, Canada reduced the deductible percentage of meal expenses for all taxpayers from 80 percent to 50 percent to bring the tax rates in line with those in the United States. Given the obvious tax penalty to truckers, who must eat most meals away from home at times dictated by regulators and at places dictated by local ordinances, the U.S. government took steps in 1997 to restore the original 80 percent for truckers by phasing in gradual increases until 2008. Canada has yet to follow suit.

At the current 50 percent deduction rate, Canadian truckers stand to lose anywhere from $500 to $1,500 a year, campaign organizers say. “It’s time for the government of Canada to do the right thing and stop eating our drivers’ lunch,” says Joanne Ritchie, executive director of the owner-operators’ group. For more information or to submit an e-postcard, go to www.cantruck.com.