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Couriers get tax cut

Montreal Mirror, March 17, 2005

By Kristian Gravenor

Tom Ostreiko can now lunch on even more of his favourite soup from PVM and stew from a Polish joint on St-Mathieu, because the feds now allow non-motorized couriers to write off $15 of food-fuel, up from $11 a day.

The idea is that food is to couriers what gas is to drivers. "Everybody has to have lunch in order to be productive," says Ostreiko, a counsellor at the Montreal Biker Messenger Association. "In the case of a courier, if you don't eat you slow down so much it becomes not cost effective."

The news means an extra $1,000 per year for non-motorized couriers, according to Wayne Scott, head of Toronto's Hoof&Cycle Active Transport Workers Guild. Scott started fighting for the deduction in 1981 before the feds finally relented in 1998. The $11 total was based on a similar total for train workers, and when that recently got hiked, Scott demanded and received a similar new deal for couriers.

His crusade has made him popular among his colleagues. "I haven't had to pay for a beer in years," says Scott.


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