Looking back to 2020, the Canadian trucking industry was facing an existing labour shortage of 20,000 jobs. This shortage is expected to surge to 50,000 vacancies by 2024—ultimately affecting demand, labour productivity, and attractiveness for new talent. Consumer needs were higher than ever, with more online shopping transactions, an active economy, and unemployment at reasonably low rates across the country. Enter the COVID-19 pandemic. Within weeks, more than a million Canadians lost their jobs—left scrambling to survive in the new normal. Although a few industries grew to thrive during the crisis, most had to deal with layoffs, work reductions, and closures. Unfortunately, trucking companies were not spared these damaging effects.
Given the lack of young Canadians choosing careers in transportation and trucking, the labour gap has been on the rise for years. Alongside COVID’s impact on the labour market, finding and retaining talent will continue to add to the evolving challenges. 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.
Eligibility requirements for nomination vary from province to province, but most require applicants to have some foreign and/or Canadian trucking experience, meet minimum language skills, and have a job offer in Canada. Employers must also meet minimum requirements: being in active business for a particular number of years, employing a majority-Canadian workforce, and reaching specified annual revenue minimums.
Immigration continues to be an effective mechanism of supplementing the high demand for talent—despite.
longer processing times and lower quotas compared to high-skilled and professional streams. Nevertheless, this is certainly a positive start.