Canadian truck driver vacancies surge to record levels: Report

Trucking HR Canada is reporting a “staggering” vacancy rate among Canadian truck drivers, with 22,990 vacant driving jobs in the third quarter of 2021.

The numbers represent a 20% surge in job openings over the second quarter of the year. And it’s the highest point since Statistics Canada began tracking job vacancies in 2015.

“These driver vacancies are unquestionably a cause for concern,” Trucking HR Canada CEO Angela Splinter said, referring to Special Report: Vacancies in Trucking and Logistics. “Economic recovery in Canada is dependent on our industry having a strong workforce. It is clear that the trucking and logistics sector needs more support and programming to tackle the driver shortage.”

To compound matters, 44.3% of the unfilled driving jobs remained vacant for more than 90 days in the third quarter, compared to 34.5% in the second quarter.

“Truck drivers are increasingly difficult to recruit,” the report observes, noting that only 12.2% of the open jobs are filled in less than 15 days, compared to 20.8% in the previous quarter.

“This indicates the increasing challenges faced by employers in finding suitable job candidates, as across Canada only 32% of all job openings have been vacant for more than 90 days.”

Among the driver vacancies, 94.3% were full-time positions compared to 73.8% in other economic sectors, and 91.3% of the driving jobs were permanent rather than seasonal.

A vacancy rate of 8% in truck transportation lags only the 12.9% rate in the accommodation and food services sector, where many businesses have seen public health measures open and close their doors. Vacancy rates across all economic sectors averaged 5.4%.

Ontario accounts for 6,080 (26.4%) of all truck driver vacancies, followed by British Columbia at 4,280, and Alberta at 3,925.

Several trucking industry groups have also raised concerns that unvaccinated cross-border truck drivers will leave their jobs when a vaccine mandate is applied as of Jan. 15. The Canadian Trucking Alliance estimates that as many as 12,000 to 16,000 truck drivers will leave cross-border trucking based on current vaccination rates.

Senior government officials have confirmed to that there are no plans to change the enforcement date for Canada’s vaccine mandate.