Trucking HR warns of looming labor shortages

OTTAWA, Ont. – Truck drivers have faired better through the Covid-19 pandemic than the average Canadian worker, Trucking HR Canada said in a labor market update released Tuesday.

“Although unemployment spiked to record levels in May 2020 for all Canadian workers including transport truck drivers (13.8% and 14.1% respectively), there was a significantly faster recovery among truck drivers, whose unemployment rate fell to 3.9% in September, compared to 8.4 % for all occupations,” Trucking HR said.

“In October, the unemployment rate among truck drivers edged slightly higher, to 4.9% — still well below the unemployment rate of 8.1% across all occupations.”

Trucking HR said the upward trend in employment is even higher than it had predicted, signalling that a return to pre-Covid labor shortages could happen sooner than anticipated.

The organization had forecast a shortage of more than 25,000 truck drivers by 2023.

It said all signs indicate that the pre-Covid predictions of vacancies will be realized, potentially sooner rather than later.

“This factor serves as an urgent call to action for industry and government to work together to overcome this labor shortage so as not to hinder economic recovery,” Trucking HR said.