Canada’s economy moves by trucks, piloted by professional commercial drivers, who need to be highly trained to meet the needs of the North American supply chain and the high standards of safety upheld by the Canadian trucking industry.
As all Canadians have become acutely aware, there is a critical commercial driver shortage exacerbating the North American supply chain challenges everyone has been experiencing. In its 2022 Pre-budget submission, the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) has submitted a plan for the Government of Canada to address the critical commercial driver shortage and help secure Canada’s economic recovery by stabilizing the supply chain.
“Currently there are over 23,000 truck driver vacancies in Canada, and this is expected to increase to over 55,000 vacancies in 2024,” said CTA Chair Jean-Claude Fortin. “This shortage of professional drivers is having a negative impact on the supply chain and by extension the economic recovery of Canada.”
Recent data made available to CTA shows a 30% to 45% decrease in the availability of trucks year-to-year for the North American business community, which relies on Canadian fleets to move their products. Other data shows that load volumes have more than tripled at times when compared to last year. Consequently, the number of trucks available per load has in some instances declined from about three trucks per load a year ago to 0.5 trucks per load currently.
To address the shortage of commercial drivers and to ensure the business communities have steady access to trucking services, CTA recommended the following measures be contained in the upcoming budget:
- The Government of Canada approve Trucking HR Canada’s proposal to the Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program (SWSP). This proposal focuses on shorter term support to help address barriers for new entrants entering the trucking industry.
- CTA would like to see widely available and long-term new training funding support established for trucking, like forgivable grants to cover entry level training costs.
- An institutionalized wage subsidy program to support the onboarding/training of new entrants into the industry. This is needed to support post-licensing on-the-job training.
- CTA would like to see the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) application process streamlined, a recognized employer program introduced, and a seamless path to permanent residency created for our sector.
- Establish training tax credits for carriers to support investments in their training programs and onboarding new drivers.
- Establish a national Driver Inc. enforcement campaign to ensure current drivers are not working in the underground economy and that their rights are protected.
- Establishing a federal-provincial heavy truck rest stop infrastructure program to support our commercial drivers.