The need for long-haul drivers is seen to be particularly troubling. The total number of truck driver vacancies in Canada has increased over 138% between 2016 and the first three quarters of 2019 – climbing from 8,600 to 20,500 during this timeframe. The rapid resurgence of employment of truck drivers combined with the drop of unemployment rates amongst drivers suggests that the pre-COVID predictions of vacancies exceeding 25,000 unfilled positions by 2023 will be realized. Trucking HR Canada says, the initial job losses were concentrated in accommodations, food service, retail trade and cultural industries. Workers in these sectors could be attracted to trucking jobs because of slowdowns.
Given the lack of young Canadians choosing careers in transportation and trucking, the labour gap has been on the rise for years. Fortunately, the government is doing its part to support the industry through wage increase incentives, safety training requirements, and immigration initiatives to attract foreign workers into the profession.
The federal government generally manages immigration programs. However, each province can create additional immigration pathways that address their unique regional labour needs. While a few provinces overlap in categories like IT and high-skilled workers, long-haul trucking is present in every province’s program. This is a clear indicator of the significant labour shortage across the country—and the constant struggle to keep up.
Immigration continues to be an effective mechanism of supplementing the high demand for talent—despite processing times and quotas compared to high-skilled and professional streams. Nevertheless, this is certainly a positive start.