History of Job Related Costs: Meals

History of Job Related Costs: Meals

Comparing costs of meals for truck drivers is a little tricky. I’m not referring to cost at the cashier but the impact job related costs have on your after tax money. A company driver (without a meal provision in their employer employee agreement) is compensated by Canada Revenue Agency and their notorious TL2. The guidelines currently allow $51.00 per day. However, the $51.00 is only the STARTING FIGURE not the after tax value. Here is a chart showing the scale since 2006. The increase is the effect the lunch bag letdown campaign had on company driver “non-refundable tax credits”.

Guidelines$ 51.00$ 51.00$ 51.00$ 51.00$ 51.00$ 51.00$ 51.00
Est. Tax Rate32.59%32.59%32.59%32.59%32.59%32.59%33.33%
 AFTER TAX VALUE$ 8.31$ 9.64$ 10.80$ 11.63$ 12.47$ 13.60*$ 13.60

* best province

Not bad! Unless you compare these numbers to an employer employee agreement which

includes a meal provision linked to National Joint Council figures.

2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

Allowable $76.95 $79.30 $81.55 $84.95 $85.20 $88.27**


Nothing against the lunch bag letdown (a raise is a raise) but the bottom line after tax difference is still 683% in 2010, however it does plunge down to 650% in 2011 (if you can wait that long). It’s still a phenomenal improvement from the 926% difference in 2006 or the 1293% chasm in 2002 but the inequality between the systems are still shocking. For a complete historical comparison since 1992 view the charts on our web sight thrconsulting .ca (industry research).

Unfortunately, the only option for a company driver is the government issued TL2 form, unless your employer agrees to include a separate meal allowance reimbursement like the industry did 25+ years ago. I still remember the changeover years when companies started stating the rate per mile and added “this includes your meals on the road”. Ah, the good old… “non-taxable benefit” days!

Imagine the tension that’s building between a company driver and a Lease/Owner operator who uses the Per diem or meal/subsistence allowance system. One is bumping down the road getting a “non-refundable tax credit” of $12.47 per day while the other is getting the October 1, 2010 $85.20 per day (after tax). Sooner or later the former is going to start asking their employer for a better agreement.

Or… maybe someone is going to end up lobbying the government to raise the $51.00 ($13.60) up to maybe $57.50 ($15.00). Wow… wouldn’t that be something? Imagine… $15.00 whole dollars! Maybe someone can ask the Canadian Trucking Alliance to do that.

Robert Scheper

Robert D Scheper has a Masters Degree in Business Administration and is the author of two books, “Making Your Miles Count: Taxes, Taxes, Taxes” and "Making Your Miles Count: Choosing a Trucking Company".

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