The campaign is self-explanatory: "End Canada's Lunch Bag
Three groups representing a wide spectrum of 200,000
Canadian truck drivers want the government to allow truckers the same
80-percent meal deductions on their income tax forms that U.S. truckers will
have by 2008.
The current rate allows Canadians to deduct 50 percent of
their meal expenses while away from home.
Meal deductibility in the U.S. is currently at 75 percent,
which was increased from 50 percent in 1999. The U.S. rate will be 80 percent
Joanne Ritchie, executive director of the Owner-Operator
Business Association of Canada, said the issue is about fairness across the
board, and that's why OBAC, the Canadian Trucking Alliance and Teamsters Canada
have joined forces on this issue.
"This is patently unfair to one of the largest groups of
workers in Canada, many of whom, as a requirement of the job, spend much of
their time away from home and must purchase all their meals - not just one per
day like an office or factory worker - from restaurants and truck stops," Ritchie
and the others stated in a letter to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.
Based on average wages, and using current federal and
provincial tax guidelines, the 50-percent meal deduction costs Canadian truck
drivers about $1,300 per year in income tax compared to a proposed 80-percent
Estimates in the province of Quebec, where tax structures
differ, show a $1,500 loss per truck driver.
Canada's current per diem for a truck driver's meal
deduction from personal income taxes is $51 per day using the receipt-free
- By David Tanner,