The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) is applauding a new pathway to permanent residency for truck drivers already working under Canada’s Temporary Foreign Workers Program.
And it’s proposing a “certified employer” program that would ensure fleets respect safety and employment standards before hiring future arrivals.
“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,” said CTA president Stephen Laskowski.
Based on 2016 Census data, the Conference Board of Canada estimates that an annual average of 1,516 non-permanent residents worked as truck drivers between 2015 and 2018, Trucking HR Canada says, citing its Labor Market Information. This total includes those working under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and others who hold non-resident work permits.
The Temporary Foreign Worker Program changes were announced in April by Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Minister Marco E.L. Mendicino.
Close to 90,000 temporary foreign workers and graduated international students are expected to be eligible for permanent residency under the initiative. About one-third of the total includes essential workers in occupations other than healthcare – including transport truck drivers, and delivery and courier service drivers.
Eligible workers looking for a permanent residency path need to have at least one year of work experience in the last three years.
“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,” Mendicino said.
The Driver Shortage
The CTA noted that the pathway could help to bolster the pool of available truck drivers, and said it would like to see the policy expanded to include future truck drivers coming through the program.
“The trucking industry is exploring ways to attract current and future Canadians to our sector, but it’s clear we need more support,” Laskowski said. “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.”
Trucking HR Canada calculates that there are 20,000 vacant truck driver positions in the country, and 61% of fleets say they can’t find enough drivers. The Conference Board of Canada notes that 30% of Canada’s demographic growth will be through immigration this decade, and that all labor force growth will be linked to immigration over the next five years.