Ontario government launches new program in effort to get women into trucking industry

Premier Doug Ford was in Ayr, Ont., on Tuesday morning to announce that the provincial government would provide funding to women and other underrepresented groups to enter the trucking industry.

The new Gap in Trucking program will see the province provide up to $1.3 million to train 54 people to become truck drivers.

“This project will provide 54 participants with up to 200 hours of training needed to obtain tractor-trailer and straight truck licences,” Ford told reporters.

“And because we need to break down barriers to help get more women into the trucking industry, the program will reimburse participants up to $4,500 for child-care and other living expenses.”

Ford also noted that women make up two per cent of those who are working as truckers in Ontario.

“That’s just not good enough,” he said.

Those 54 people who will receive training will represent just a drop in the bucket of the 6,100 job vacancies that Ford says are in the trucking industry.

“And over the next decade, we’re going to need thousands of new truck drivers, thousands of skilled workers to help build the factories, homes and infrastructure are growing,” he said.

The province says the first cohort of people accepted into the program are expected to begin on July 1, with training to take place in Kitchener, London and Toronto.

Several people from the Waterloo Region have already applied to be in the program, according to Women’s Trucking Federation of Canada president Shelley Walker.

Her group will help administer the program, which will see participants receive $1,000 for transportation and child-care support, $300 for equipment and a $400 weekly allowance.