highwaySTAR Magazine - Trucking Careers


Life and Family

Doing Your Job

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Trucking's not just a job for you; it's your career! Here's where you'll find great information to support that career. We'll be bringing you features on issues that interest you such as vocational profiles and freight focus. Our Questions & Answers section is here to give you great advice.

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Drivetrain Spec'ing
Smart spec'ing is the difference between what you want and what you need.


Dad’s Idol Hours

While proud dad and driver Leo Leblanc was hauling freight across the border, his 17-year-old daughter, Casey, was strutting her stuff for all to see on national television. Casey made the Top 5 on CTV’s Canadian Idol series this summer winning praise for her renditions of hits like The Pretenders’ “I’ll Stand by You,” and Burton Cummings’ “Timeless Love.” Daddy Leo tuned in from the road watching his daughter from the truck when he was close enough to the border to catch the signal.

Casey could be seen taking her kudos – and lumps – from the judges. “It was pretty tough to watch her take some of the beatings she got from the judges, but she stood up there on stage and took it right square on the chin,” says the proud Dad. “She’s got more guts than I do.”

Despite getting the axe in the sixth round, Casey returned to her native New Brunswick as a hero – 500 people were waiting for her at the Fredericton airport when she returned. “She had to miss her prom and graduation for the chance to compete, but it’s all been worth it,” says Casey’s Dad. “You’re still going to see lots of Casey. There are all kinds of avenues opening up for her right now, which is pretty awesome for a 17-year-old. When I was that age I was looking for a gas-jockey job.”

Leo Leblanc works for McConnell Transport out of Woodstock, N.B.

In the Magazine

You'll find these and other stories in the highwaySTAR print magazine this month. Available at your favourite truckstop.

  • New HOS regs and team drivers
  • An Alberta driverıs antique Kenworth collection
  • Trucks that can back up themselves

Questions & Answers

My carrier is getting fuel surcharges paid, but is not paying the appropriate fuel surcharge to his owner operators. Are there any court cases that speak to this problem?

I'm sure there are a few cases in the courts at the moment relating to fuel surcharges. Many owner-ops aren't getting their due on that front. However, I doubt any of those cases will set precedent.

Payment of fuel surcharges is a matter of an agreement between the carrier and the owner-op, and therefore subject to an interpretation of any contract that may exist between the two parties.

There are no laws in Canada governing the payment of surcharges like there are in the US. Canadian owner-ops are on their own to sort it out.

Here's the problem: Most owner-ops don't read the contract closely enough to determine the carrier's position on the surcharge payment. Usually, the carrier agrees to "pay if the carrier gets paid," but how the heck is the owner-op supposed to know if the carrier was paid, or more importantly, how much the carrier was paid?

That kind of a deal is simply unacceptable with fuel the price it is.

I'm afraid to say your options here are limited to the terms you agreed to in the contract. If the contract is specific about how much will be paid and the carrier is not living up to the agreement, I suggest you file a claim in small claims court BEFORE the amount in question exceeds $10,000. At less than 10 grand, it's still a small claims court issue.

If the terms of the contract are too vague for your liking, I strongly suggest you discuss an amendment with the carrier. If the carrier doesn't want to talk, you need to walk -- after serving him with an order to appear in court to settle the disputed amount.

Not a really good deal, eh?

Jim Park

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