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The Rising Demand for 20,000 Truck Drivers in Canada

Austin Campbell

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Truck Drivers in Canada

In the vast expanse of Canada, where highways stretch for miles, the truck industry serves as the lifeline of the nation. However, a looming challenge threatens this crucial sector – a shortage of at least 20,000 truck drivers in Canada, and the numbers are set to rise in the coming years.

A recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers for Food, Health, and Consumer Products of Canada (FHCP) sounded the alarm on this critical issue. The trucking industry, being the backbone of Canada’s supply chain, faces an economic “risk” due to the growing shortage of drivers.

The Shortage and Concerns

Frank Scali, FHCP’s Vice President of Industry Affairs, acknowledges the dynamic nature of truck driver shortages, especially exacerbated during the pandemic. A striking revelation from the PWC report highlights that one-third of the existing drivers are on the brink of retirement, potentially leaving a labor gap of 30,000 in the near future.

This shortage is not limited to a federal scale; it resonates provincially as well. Ontario, for instance, identified a need for 6,100 drivers in June, emphasizing the urgency to address this crisis.

Moreover, the report identifies key factors contributing to this shortage – an aging workforce, demographics, and driver pay. To counteract the deficit, the industry must appeal to the younger generation, making the truck industry an attractive career choice.

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Industry Initiatives and Government Actions

Marco Beghetto, Vice President of Communications for the Canadian Trucking Alliance, sheds light on the industry’s efforts to combat the shortage. Initiatives like the “Choose to Truck” social media campaign aim to make the trucking industry appealing to Gen Z and Millennials.

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Acknowledging the gravity of the circumstance, the Canadian authorities have facilitated the entry of truckers through diverse initiatives, also including the Federal Skilled Worker Program (Express Entry), the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), and the Provincial Nominee Program.
Notwithstanding the positive changes, challenges endure. Beghetto underscores the need for meticulous screening to ensure equal pay, adherence to labor statutes, and apt training for drivers.

Transport Express Entry Draws in 2023

As of now, only one round of Express Entry draws has been dedicated to candidates with recent work experience in transport occupations. This specialized draw occurred on September 20, 2023, resulting in 1,000 Invitations to Apply (ITAs) with a minimum CRS score of 435.

Recent data from IRCC, as reported by the Globe and Mail, suggests that category-based draws for transport occupations will make up ‘one to two’ percent of the remaining ITAs for the rest of 2023.

Immigrating to Canada as a Truck Driver

For those aspiring to be part of this essential industry, meeting certain requirements is essential. Completion of secondary school, on-the-job training, and obtaining the necessary licenses are the initial steps.

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While the median wage for truck drivers in Canada is $24, some provinces offer significantly higher salaries. As an example, the Northwest Territories flaunt a median of $30, with a high pay of $36 per hour, while Alberta attains a wage rate of $37.45 per hour.

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As Canada faces the challenges of a trucking crisis, the invitation for 20,000 drivers becomes increasingly urgent. The trucking industry, essential to the nation’s operations, requires a strong and immediate response to navigate the tough roads ahead.

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