Owner of local delivery service poised to ‘take the hit’ as carbon tax increase boosts gas prices

carbon tax

Martin Charron, owner of Ottawa-based delivery and courier service Gopher-It Deliveries, is taking calls from his car today as he drives throughout the city, delivering packages and satisfying customer orders.

At the same time, he’s attempting to offset the rising costs associated with the latest increase in the federal carbon tax. 

Starting today, the price of carbon pollution is increasing from $65 per tonne to $80 per tonne, meaning a federal carbon tax of 17.71 cents a litre on gas in Ontario, an increase of approximately three cents per litre. 

OBJ360 (Sponsored)

For small delivery and courier services like Gopher-It, this increase could be make-it-or-break-it in an already competitive market.

But with this latest increase in gas prices, and many questioning whether companies like Gopher-It will be able to offset the cost, Charron says, “just watch me,” even if he has to “take a hit” himself.

The company was started in 2017. Charron purchased it from its original owner and founder in 2021. But, he says, it’s “changed a lot.”

Gopher-It partners with locally owned and operated businesses including Bridgehead, Happy Goat Coffee Company, Strawberry Blonde Bakery, and Beyond the Pale Brewing Company to offer a variety of delivery services, including same-day and rushed delivery. 

Raising delivery fees for local companies is “not an option,” Charron said. 

“As a local courier business supporting local businesses, we cannot raise prices to offset the increase and have it impact our partners,” he explained.

At the same time, Charron said he is not willing to compromise his drivers’ wages. Gopher-It’s approximately 50 delivery drivers are independent contractors who pay for the gas and maintenance of their own vehicles and are paid a competitive wage to offset those costs. 

While the wage varies based on drivers’ commutes and vehicle size, Charron said drivers are paid a minimum hourly wage of $22, and he vows that isn’t going to go down. If anything, he said, he’ll raise it.

“As an employer, there’s no way I can touch my drivers’ wages. They need to be paid more as (gas prices) go up and I cannot raise the (delivery) prices,” explained Charron. “There is competition out there. Our No. 1 competitor is an app that charges so little and pays drivers even less. How do you compete with that?

“I do it with valued partnerships and by being on the road myself.”

If a local business has been promised $5 delivery, for example, Charron said he won’t be raising that — he’ll just “make up the difference myself.” 

It’s his commitment to helping local businesses and paying delivery drivers a competitive wage that motivates him, Charron said. So he’s planning to build more partnerships with local businesses, work to streamline logistics, pick up as driving shifts himself, and “hope it’s enough.”

“It’s a constant game. You wake up, see that gas prices are up, and I just have to roll with it,” he said. “I do my best to make sure nobody but me is affected by it.

“I’ll take the pay cut so they don’t.”

Get our email newsletters

Get up-to-date news about the companies, people and issues that impact businesses in Ottawa and beyond.

By signing up you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. You may unsubscribe at any time.