“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 posits 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.
This is a great opportunity for international truck drivers who are considering Canada as their next home!
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 the recent changes to Express Entry for skilled workers would help attract new talent. In response, he said that while the industry is encouraged, measures would need to be implemented to ensure the success of workers long term. 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.
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 license is required to drive straight-body trucks.
- A Class 1 or A license 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.