Report Says Canada Currently Needs 20,000 Truck Drivers

Report Says Canada Currently Need 20,000 Truck Drivers
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The Canada trucking industry is currently in search of at least 20,000 truck drivers, and may require tens of thousands more in the upcoming years.

This rising shortage is a significant “risk” to the economy, as per a report released by PricewaterhouseCooper for Food, Health, and Consumer Products of Canada (FHCP), given the country’s supply chain’s reliance on trucking.

“Truck driver shortages tend to ebb and flow,” said FHCP’s vice-president of industry affairs, Frank Scali.

“Through the pandemic it became a bit of a crisis for a while, as some drivers left the business and volume went up.”

The PWC report posited that one third of the current drivers are nearing retirement, and the labor gap is set to reach 30,000 in the upcoming years if recruitment does not pick up.

This is true not just federally, but also on a provincial scale. As per the Ontario Trucking Association, for example, the provincial government claimed in June that 6,100 drivers were needed across Ontario to fill the labor gap.

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The Causes of Canada’s Trucking Shortage

As per the report, Canada trucking’s ageing workforce, demographics, and driver pay are factors that are contributing to the shortage. The industry must continue to connect with young people and the next generation of workers, it claimed, to battle against the shortfall.

Vice President of Communications for the Canadian Trucking Alliance, Marco Beghetto, was invited to many media programs to discuss the report and the industry’s planned response to the shortage.

He said that trucking Canada is in the middle of its largest public relations effort to make the industry desirable to the youth. The Choose to Truck social media campaign, for example, is aimed at making the industry more appealing to Gen Z and Millennials.

How the Government Has Responded to Fix the Shortage

The Canadian government has made it possible for foreign truckers to get a Canada work permit or Canada permanent residence through the Federal Skilled Worker Program (Express Entry), the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), and the Provincial Nominee Program (non-Express Entry).

Beghetto was asked if recent changes to the Express Entry aimed at skilled workers would help attract new workers, to which he said that the industry is encouraged, but measures to ensure long-term worker success need to also be emplaced. This would include screening both potential drivers and trucking carriers to ensure that employers are compliant, will pay fair wages, comply with labor laws, and properly train drivers.

As per the Ontario Trucking Association, Beghetto further said that the federal government must do more to fight Driver Inc., which is a tax avoidance and labor abuse scheme used by carriers operating in the underground economy.

Many drivers under this system get denied basic rights and benefits that other federal workers get, such as vacation pay, sick days, severance, etc., which Beghetto wants fixed.

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Employment Requirements to be a Transport Driver in Canada

Those looking for a transport job need to meet the following requirements:

  • Completion of secondary school is usually required.
  • On-the-job-training is provided.
  • Completion of an accredited driver training course of up to three months duration, through a vocational school or community college, may be required.
  • A Class 3 or D licence is required to drive straight-body trucks.
  • A Class 1 or A licence is required to drive long combination vehicles.
  • Air brake endorsement (Z) is required for drivers who operate vehicles equipped with air brakes.

Prospective drivers may also need to get a certification from a regulatory authority before they start working. The occupation is regulated in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, and Saskatchewan.

Wages for the occupation in question are at a median $24, but certain provinces boast much higher salaries. The median in the Northwest Territories, for example, is $30, with a high pay of $36 per hour. Alberta has a high pay of $37.45 per hour.

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Colin Singer
Colin Singer is an international acclaimed Canadian immigration lawyer and founder of featured on Wikipedia. Colin Singer is also founding director of the Canadian Citizenship & Immigration Resource Center (CCIRC) Inc. He served as an Associate Editor of ‘Immigration Law Reporter’, the pre-eminent immigration law publication in Canada. He previously served as an executive member of the Canadian Bar Association’s Quebec and National Immigration Law Sections and is currently a member of the Canadian Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Colin has twice appeared as an expert witness before Canada’s House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. He is frequently recognized as a recommended authority at national conferences sponsored by government and non-government organizations on matters affecting Canada’s immigration and human resource industries. Since 2009, Colin has been a Governor of the Quebec Bar Foundation a non-profit organization committed to the advancement of the profession, and became a lifetime member in 2018.