Newly-Arrived Canada Immigrants To Be Paid To Train As Truck Drivers In Ontario

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Newly-arrived immigrants, women and others from groups deemed to be under-represented will be paid to train for trucking Canada jobs in Ontario, as the province announces $1.3 million in funding.

The investment will go to training for 54 people from these groups. That may seem like a drop in the bucket considering that Ontario is estimated to need at least 6,100 more truckers to fill jobs going begging for a lack of workers to fill them.

But Ontario Premier Doug Ford is confident the program will get the ball rolling and help those who may not have ever before considered a career in trucking to do so now.

“This innovative program will help break down barriers to attract more women into the trucking industry,” said Ford.

“As we build Ontario, we’re going to need all hands-on deck. That’s why our government is working hard to ensure that all skilled occupations are more accessible and welcoming for women and all under-represented groups.”

In Ontario, only two per cent of truck drivers are women. Since women are traditionally more likely to be the primary caregivers for young children, the new program will reimburse up to $4,500 for childcare and other living expenses.

“The trucking sector in Ontario continues to experience significant skills and labour shortages,” said Stephen Laskowski, president of the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA).

“As a multifaceted and diverse industry, there are many opportunities in trucking for Canadian women, who will be an instrumental resource in helping us solve our labour shortage. This program is an essential component of the types of investments required to build a strong workforce that can support our economy into the future.”

The project, which is being led by the Women’s Trucking Federation of Canada, will provide participants with up to 200 hours of training needed to obtain AZ (tractor-trailer) and DZ (straight truck) licenses.

Instructors will use both virtual reality systems and in-cab, hands-on training to teach jobseekers how to operate a commercial vehicle, perform manoeuvres, conduct inspections, maintain the vehicles, and understand commercial vehicle systems and controls.

“Truckers are the everyday heroes who keep the wheels of our economy turning, and we need to ensure more people have a chance to explore these purpose-driven careers,” said Ontario Immigration Minister Monte McNaughton.

Ontario Paying Women, Immigrants To Train To Be Truckers

“I was proud to make Ontario the first province in Canada to guarantee truckers the right to access washrooms and our government will continue to invest in training to ensure everyone in our community gets a shot at earning bigger paycheques for themselves and their families.”

Under the new initiative, the provincial government wants to remove barriers to women participating in the trucking industry by making participants eligible to receive up to $1,000 for transportation and childcare support, $300 for equipment and a $400 weekly allowance.

The first cohort of in-person training begins on July 1, Canada Day, and will be available in Kitchener-Waterloo, the Greater Toronto Area, Ottawa, and London.

The project will also cover:

  • training for forklift operation;
  • defensive driving;
  • workplace violence and harassment, and;
  • human trafficking awareness.

“This investment in the trucking industry directly helps more people achieve fulfilling careers as professional drivers,” said Shelley Walker, chief executive officer of the Women’s Trucking Federation of Canada.

“With a significant and growing skilled driver shortage facing Ontario’s trucking industry, this initiative is timely in both removing barriers to employment and supporting Ontario’s economy.”

There are more trucking jobs going begging for a want of qualified workers to fill them in Ontario than anywhere else in Canada, making the country’s most populous province rife with opportunities for foreign nationals who want to work there under economic immigration programs.

Job Bank, the federal government’s job-hunting and career-planning website, was listing 954 trucking jobs, categorized under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2021 with the code 73300, in late June.

The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) was by far the most trucking job intense region, with 545 of these positions in the province centred in the provincial capital.

Toronto Has The Biggest Concentration Of Trucker Jobs In Ontario

In Ontario, the median hourly wage for trucking jobs is $24 but that varies from a low of $17 per hour right up to $32.34 per hour, reveals Job Bank. Based on a standard 37.5-hour work week, that would be $63,063 at the upper end of the annual wage scale for truckers in Ontario.

But truck drivers are also often paid bonuses by the kilometre, enabling them to earn significantly more.

With transportation companies desperately looking for truckers to replenish and grow their aging workforce, both the federal and provincial governments have been helping out with immigration policies to grant work permits and permanent residence to qualified foreign workers looking for these kinds of jobs in Canada.

That means experienced truck drivers with a job offer in Ontario have a specific pathway to Canadian permanent residence.

Applicants must first register in the OINP’s Expression of Interest (EOI) system and receive an Invitation To Apply (ITA) before they can apply online to be nominated by the Ontario government for permanent residence.

Once nominated, the next step is to apply to the federal government through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). The IRCC makes the final decision on who becomes a permanent resident.

Refugees With Truck-Driving Skills Are Welcome To Apply Under The EMPP

Ontario is also one of the nine provinces participating in the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot (EMPP) which allows employers to hire skilled refugees and other displaced individuals, including for trucking jobs.

“Canada is a global leader in helping skilled refugees connect with employers struggling to find workers in critical areas, while giving newcomers the opportunity to restart their careers and their lives here in Canada,” said Immigration Minister Sean Fraser.

“Our government will continue to develop and scale innovative immigration measures to help employers address their critical labour shortages and provide refugees with the opportunity to live in safety while rebuilding their lives.”

Foreign nationals who are not refugees can also immigrate to Ontario as truck drivers through the federal, Express Entry Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program.

In mid-November last year, truck driver was one of 16 occupations added to the FSW’s list of eligible occupations when the IRCC updated to the NOC 2021 classification system.