The Canadian Trucking Alliance is welcoming a policy change to the Temporary Foreign Workers Program by the Government of Canada which will assist fleets that are currently using the program.
Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, recently announced there is now an innovative pathway to permanent residence for essential workers, including truck drivers, who are currently temporary foreign workers already in Canada.
The CTA says the path to citizenship for current essential workers is an excellent first step to bolstering the driver pool in the Canadian trucking industry – and hopes to one day see the policy expanded to include future truck drivers coming through the program, further supporting fleets across Canada that are in dire need of drivers – now, more critically than ever, as the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the driver shortage even further.
“These new policies will help those with a temporary status to plan their future in Canada, play a key role in our economic recovery and help us build back better. Our message to them is simple: your status may be temporary, but your contributions are lasting—and we want you to stay,” said Minister Mendicino.
The trucking industry – and by extension, the domestic and international supply chains as well – grappling with a significant driver shortage, which could hamper the efficiency of the transportation of goods across Canada. This labour challenge has been mounting for several years and has become more acute during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Trucking HRCanada, there are 20,000 vacant truck driver positions while 61 percent of fleets say they can’t find enough drivers. Things are expected to only worsen as the economy – and transportation needs – heat up after COVID-related lockdowns are lifted long term.
Although driver pay has been steadily increasing and innovative HR and training opportunities continue to be explored industry-wide, a key part of the solution for the trucking sector and other sectors of the economy will involve immigration. The Conference Board of Canada shows that 80 percent of demographic growth in Canada will be through immigration by 2030 as well as over 100 percent of labour force growth over the next five years.
“The trucking industry is exploring ways to attract current and future Canadians to our sector, but it’s clear we need more support,” said CTA president Stephen Laskowski. “Trucks across Canada are parked, not because there is not product to move, but because trucking companies cannot find drivers to operate their vehicles. This hurts our industry and our economy.
“We will be working with the Government of Canada to make this policy change a permanent part of the TFW program, which would make the TFW program considerably more attractive to the industry as a way to address the driver shortage in Canada.”
CTA has proposed a certified employer program in which new arrivals to Canada are ensured employment at compliant companies that respect all safety and employment standards.
“We want to ensure these new entrants seeking employment in our country are not taken advantage of and enjoy the rights and privileges of all Canadian citizens so they and their families can flourish in our economy and society.”
CTA members who are already participating in the TFW program and want to learn more about how they can transition their current TFW drivers to permanent residency click here.