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New program to establish benchmarks for mandatory entry-level driver training

OTTAWA, Ont. -- In a response to addressing the trucking industry’s shortage of qualified workers, Trucking HR Canada, the Canadian Trucking Alliance, and provincial trucking associations have collaborated in a project that will soon...


OTTAWA, Ont. — In a response to addressing the trucking industry’s shortage of qualified workers, Trucking HR Canada, the Canadian Trucking Alliance, and provincial trucking associations have collaborated in a project that will soon establish the benchmarks for mandatory entry-level driver training across Canada.

Driving the Future is a three-year project led by Trucking HR Canada with support and funding from Employment and Social Development Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program. Its aim is to distinguish the steps an entry-level driver needs take in order to be certified, as well as clearly defining the skills that carriers expect out of their introductory drivers.

Angela Splinter, CEO of Trucking HR Canada, says the program will “make graduating drivers more employable, and better meet the trucking industry’s needs.”

“We are beginning a process that we believe will result in truck driving being recognized as a skilled occupation,” says David Bradley, CEO of the Canadian Trucking Alliance, “which will enhance the attractiveness of the job and the industry while enhancing highway safety.”


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9 Comments » for New program to establish benchmarks for mandatory entry-level driver training
  1. Billy says:

    No doubt more rigorous and standardized trianing is needed. However you are dreaming in technicolour if you think that is going to do anything to address the problem.

    The big appeal for us old guys was the lack of supervision, just go do the job. Do it right no problem carry on, do it wrong look for a new job.
    Now with satellites and electric logs telling you when to go when to stop no matter what your body is telling you. No longer can you split that time and take a nap when you need one or just don’t want to fight the rush hour traffic in some metropolis. Which just takes what would have been say 45 minutes and turns it in to 2 hours of available driving time. Then some bonehead in an office that has never been in a moving truck but has a degree in logistics wants to do everything but the actual driving for you via the satellite.

    People don’t want to be gone from their homes,family and lives to do some triangle that works for the company but keeps the driver gone for two weeks to earn peanuts, get treated like dirt but half the people you deal with, be forced to park in dodgy spots and still be well rested to go when some idiot has decided you should be ready. At the rate some of these places are going it will be like some of the American outfits where the poor bastard is out for three months and is on the phone begging dispatch to send him a comcheck so he can buy a loaf of bread of some balogna and go back to his truck and wait two days for his hours to reset.

    Yeah Dave, you bet just give ‘em some more training then once you get them going lie to them about how much they can make if they just sign this lease purchase (should read indentured servant)and really get them stuck.

  2. ken webster says:

    There is no shortage of truck drivers until they pay level comes up and shipper will pay real cost of running a truck many owner opp. and farmers will leave the trucks parked There are over 200 trucks sitting in Huron county alone. The drivers have got other jobs as bank teller can make $15 to $18 per hour and will get paid for every hour. Many large shippers do not treat the small truck owners fairly. Over 60% of truck drivers are doing other jobs. This Fed. Gov. will not so anything except allow the trucking co.to mislead new drivers

  3. Georges Olivier says:

    Another way to curtail highway driver shortage, is to eliminate the restrictions that apply to commercial driver licensing at 65, and older. If it were true that people aged 65, and older, were public menace because of their health being affected by age, the streets would be filled with cadavers! Let’s call on the government, to revoke the law that calls for mandatory license renewal, every year at 65, and older! The 65 year old (and older!) long haul drivers, are the most dedicated commercial drivers in the country…and certainly, the most experienced as well!

  4. Brad says:

    Both of the above posts couldn’t be more absolutely “bang on”! But it’s a shame the thoughts of real drivers aren’t given the consideration they should be. As Ken said in the first post…There is no driver shortage in this country…it’s the shortcomings of the trucking industry that have pushed experienced, qualified/excellent drivers into other lines of work. What choice do we have??? The regulatory boards seem to turn a blind eye to the real issues and apply bandaid fixes for deep rooted issues that need considerably more focus. Training and hiring immigrants is not a solution. Provide adequate compensation for the work, experience and time away from home that real drivers deserve and watch this industry flourish as it once did.

    Billy made some excellent points as well:
    “The big appeal for us old guys was the lack of supervision, just go do the job. Do it right no problem carry on, do it wrong look for a new job.
    Now with satellites and electric logs telling you when to go when to stop no matter what your body is telling you. No longer can you split that time and take a nap when you need one or just don’t want to fight the rush hour traffic in some metropolis. Which just takes what would have been say 45 minutes and turns it in to 2 hours of available driving time. Then some bonehead in an office that has never been in a moving truck but has a degree in logistics wants to do everything but the actual driving for you via the satellite.”

    This couldn’t be more true. Trucking is a tough lifestyle and most people aren’t cut out for what it truly demands. But one of the biggest appeals to the men and women that have trucking in their blood, was the freedom…. that’s the draw. Take away the freedom and you take away the passion for the job. Take away the compensation along with it, and you have the industry we see today. What incentive is there for experienced drivers to remain? Not to mention the ridiculously over-looked “hours of service” regulations that are active! I used to run by my own body’s clock. I knew when I was tired, I knew when I could go…and the old HOS gave me flexibilty to work within its guidlines. Now, if a driver is tired, they cannot sleep, or they LOSE that time from their total day….then it screws everything up, not too mention the driver could face consequences from dispatch for not utilizing the available hours to drive that day. It’s unbelievable how much MORE DANGEROUS it is to operate within THESE guidelines, yet it’s not addressed!?! If it’s not broke, don’t fix it!! Progress is not always a result of change.

    After 23 years of long-haul trucking across North America, I finally through in the towel. Before I quit completely, I got rid of my equipment and drove as a company driver…not a decision I wanted to make, but the industry gave me little choice. After several years as a company driver, I realized the industry “strangle-hold” was increasingly tighter with every year, the compensation for the time and work I did was pathetic, and the quality of “drivers” I was meeting on the road was so degraded that I was no longer proud of being a driver. It’s sad. There are so many fantastic operators out there (not driving), and so many more that could be, but unless real focus and attention is given, and SERIOUS revisions are made…this industry will be destined for the under-qualified, passionless, undignified bottom feeders that we already see taking a majority.

  5. tony godsoe says:

    All of the above statements have merit. There is no true driver shortage just an unwillingness of new people to do what we do for the little compensation we receive. This generation does and will not do any work with out pay from an employer, why should they many companies still expect drivers to give their first hour free to the company then go drive long haul for .34 cents per mile. If you breakdown in their truck Oh well all part of it no pay. Meals and on road expenses are way too high. Educated young people do the math before anything else. Physically demanding work everyday it takes years off of your life, Families suffer this industry has to change, Do not even speak about the lack of respect from shippers and dock personnel that is a whole article in itself.

  6. Dale Senior says:

    Driver shortage the real problem

    I come from a truck driving family. My grandfather was a driver as was my father whom I learned a great deal of both my driving skills from as well as my industry knowledge.

    In 1989 I obtained my class A drivers licence and over that time have watched an industry slowly but surely destroy itself.

    I remember my father saying to me back then although proud that I was following him into the family business that I may want to rethink my entry into this industry as he had already started to see the changes ahead.

    Oh dad how right you were! Trucking was never an easy job but there were some great benefits.

    1. Pay
    In 1989 my first year as a driver, I was a company driver for a carrier of about 100 trucks. In that my first year with no previous experience I made $48000. Not bad for a kid right out of high school. ( I want to add in 1989 most plumbers, electricians and other tradesmen were not marking that).

    2. Respect
    I was proud to say to anyone I was a 3rd generation truck driver. That was usually followed by a lot of compliments and thank yous for being who we were and the chivalry that we showed.

    3. Relationships
    The relationships I built with customers back then have served me till present day. The ability to work with both my shippers and receivers because I could get to know them on a first name basis was not only beneficial financially to both parties, but helped build my interpersonal skills to where they are today.

    4. Freedom
    Although one part of the job that never changes is the long and sometime lonely hours the bright side of that is the freedom I felt behind that wheel.

    I now have a son old enough to be the 4th generation that the industry professes it needs so bad because of the driver shortage. I now see myself in my fathers shoes telling my son not that he may want to rethink following me into the business but that he would be crazy if he did.

    Why do you ask ?
    See my above mentioned benefits that I noted when I started back in 89

    1. Pay
    I know there are many drivers now not making what I was back in 1989. I also don’t know any plumbers or electricians that are making anything less than 80000 per year
    If you want to bring people (qualified people) ones that will both be safe on the road as well as productive into this industry start by giving them the skilled trade designation they deserve.

    The knowledge and training that goes into making a “professional driver” rather than a “steering wheel holder” needs to be rewarded.

    There is so much more to being a professional driver than making the truck go forward.
    Boarder crossing
    Hours of service
    Permit conditions
    Federal regs
    Provincial regs
    State regs
    Cargo Securement
    Weight restrictions
    The list is to long to keep going and so are the tickets that a driver can incur for not knowing even one part of his industry. This knowledge can’t be gained in 6 weeks of training. It is like any other trade and needs to be treated as such through apprenticeship programs.

    I have 25 years experience in every sector of the industry. Would I not be considered a master tradesmen in any other trade?

    I pose 2 questions to the industry that I cannot comprehend.

    1. Although you will not call us a skilled trade you will hold us accountable for infractions to regulations that we must understand and know. I also need to have a special licence in order to operate a tractor trailer. If this isn’t skill then how can you hold me accountable for failing to have the licence in which I need to operate as well as my failure to comply with the regulations in which you drafted.

    2. Pay structure
    Pay per mile. I asked this question last week. In any other trade in which danger increases so does the pay that goes with it. Here is a huge short coming of trucking.
    A welder makes $40 per hour but if he is an underwater welder he makes $100 per hour. Why? It’s more dangerous !
    A dri…

  7. Bev says:

    I guess all the drivers who still have a positive feeling about long hauling are just too busy to comment.
    34 cents a mile !!! I was out there for over 30 years and I hadn’t worked for that little for the last 10 yrs I was long hauling the last year I was longhauling I was paid 42.5 cents p/m plus border crossing extra drops and layovers.
    Sure there were bad days but they were something to get though and move on not dwell on for days.
    I don’t understand all this complaining about being away from home for 2 weeks, there are many other jobs that keep the bread winner away for much longer periods, military personnel are away from their families for months.
    I used to sit in the drivers room and listen to the BMW’s (bitchers, whiners & moaners) go on and every time I came across them I heard another chapter in the “Poor me” saga.
    I worked for a man one time who said “If you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the problem” I think he was more correct than not.

    To those condemming young and new drivers and insinuating that they are to blame for all these wrecks and jackknifs this brings to mind a chain reaction I came by on the 401 a few years ago,the first rig stopped to avoid a crash and 5 more that were following too close all smashed into him and each other. The young driver in the lead truck looked hardly old enough to be out there while EVERY ONE of the other tailgaters looked well over 40….. guess who they were blaming, yep that dumb sob who stopped “all of a sudden”.

    Keep smiling,

    Bev Plummer
    Prof Driver Ret.

  8. rpsmith@live.ca says:

    Excellent comments there folks. Good read.

  9. Martin says:

    Don’t know how people or drivers can blame the young and inexperienced driver for recent collisions. There are no statistic’s for such an event. It is a well known fact that most drivers will have some kind of incident within 18 months after being hired on to a new company. A company I worked for knew this stat and tried their best to keep all drivers that they had. Shooting for Zero Recruiting.

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