The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, yesterday announced the creation of the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot, a five-year federal immigration pilot involving a small number of communities and selected provincial and territorial governments to provide newcomers, including professional truck drivers, support in settling into the local community.
In media scrums, the minister expressed what the trucking industry wanted to hear about truck drivers: “(This program) is not just a temporary foreign worker program. It’s a permanent program to give permanent residency to skilled immigrants and their families.”
The Minister Hussen went on to explain that immigrants will be chosen for the pilot by matching their occupational skills with the needs of their communities and could include any number of professions, from truck drivers to teachers to lab technicians. He estimated that about 3,000 people and their families could participate in the pilot.
“The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) applauds Minister Hussen for the creation of this program. The trucking industry has a significant driver shortage and as our sector continues to work diligently to attract Canadian citizens to the occupation of truck driver, innovative immigration pilot programs like these will also help will gaps in the labour market while helping the Canadian economy grow,” said CTA president Stephen Laskowski. ‘Our hope is this program’s success will spur its evolution from a pilot to a permanent program, which will allow all qualifying Canadian fleets, regardless of location, to attract truck drivers from overseas to become Canadian citizens employed in the trucking industry.”
With a forecasted national driver shortage of over 30,000 by 2020, CTA members are working with organizations like Trucking HR Canada to develop innovative ways to attract all Canadians to our sector.
“Filling these driving positions immediately is crucial and this pilot will help do that. As an industry, we are continuing to review and implement both short and long-term solutions to the driver shortage,” said Angela Splinter, CEO, Trucking HR Canada.
CTA will be working with the Government of Canada to ensure that companies participating in this pilot program meet a trusted employer program which would evaluate and consider a company’s training, safety and labour practices. For more information on the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot please click here.