DAILY NEWS Feb 21, 2013 9:20 AM - 11 comments

Canadian trucking industry could be short 33,000 drivers by 2020: report

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OTTAWA, Ont. -- Though tens of thousands of truck drivers are approaching retirement age, very few young people and immigrants are entering the industry, according to a new report from the Conference Board of Canada (CBC). According to the report, funded by the Canadian Trucking Alliance and titled “Understanding the Truck Driver Supply and Demand Gap and Implications for the Canadian Economy,” the gap between the supply of drivers and the demand for them – estimated at 25,000 by 2020 – could be costly to the Canadian economy.

“The food we eat, the goods that we enjoy and even the homes we live in are in large part delivered by trucks. The inability to meet a huge demand for drivers could be costly for the trucking industry, consumer goods and the Canadian economy,” said Vijay Gill, principal research associate at the CBC.

While truck drivers make up nearly 1.5% of the Canadian labour force –approximately 300,000 truck drivers overall – participation of young people, ages 15 to 24, has dropped off significantly in the past decade. As a result, the average truck driver’s average age has increased from 40 years in 1996 to 44 years in 2006, an average that surpasses that of many comparable occupations.

While the report notes that the driver “gap” could reach 25,000 by 2020, the CBC says it could exceed 33,000.

The report also notes that a change in policy to recognize the truck driving occupation as a skilled trade could attract more domestic and immigrant entrants into the industry.

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Reader Comments

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very impressed with the comments so far,in particular, John Maywood...well said.

As for a driver shortage?, every point made above is the reason why...when will they wake up and realize ever increasing ridiculous input from government with no clue of how it really is, or the toll that life on the road takes on your body, and your family life.
They have decided for us when we will rest, when we will break, why, and for how long....wages have been pretty much frozen for years....the appeal of life on the road and the freedom it offered for some has been taken away from us. They have taken away the very things that attracted many drivers to this difficult profession in the first place.
They input HOS regulations that a Philadelphia lawyer would struggle to understand, change it every time guys start to get a grip on it, then tell us to park, sleep or reset ...in Canada my first question is where??? There is a major lack of roadside parking available, truckstops overflow and force you to move on and seek somewhere to rest. They ticket you for using ramps or anywhere else we can fit...what do they suggest we do?
The appeal of this industry began to dim in the late 80's in my opinion, and the constant meddling by people who have never been there, or even understand it have ripped it apart, increasing regulation, mandatory pollution devices ( that cause more issues than they solved), stagnant freight rates and a 'brotherhood' that seemingly no longer exists on the highway among us has set the stage for the future issues this career and this country face. Like most things, only when it's so broken it will be nearly impossible to fix will the powers that be wake up and realize what a good thing they have ruined.
Imagine if your boss from your office job called you every night and said..that's it..tired or not, go to bed. And stay there till I TELL YOU you are rested. yep, sign me up, can't wait to live like that for an average wage at best.
And I wish they would stop referring to it as a 'driver shortage' the shortage is not in manpower available out there to do the job, the shortage is in attracting people willing to sign up for this punishment in the first place. The alternative career options for those entering the work force will continue to outshine trucking for the foreseeable future.

Sad, but true.

Posted March 5, 2013 08:38 AM


Been driving 26 years only worth $16.32 an hr $.50 more than what I was getting 15 years ago quite an incentive for someone new to get into the industry

Posted February 26, 2013 10:54 AM

John Maywood

In a few short decades being subjected to unreasonable, impractical regulatory direction, from people who for the most part have absolutely no concept of what the trucking environment should entail, we've turned what was once an enviable profession with people lining up for the chance to drive professionally, into one, where in a country with significant unemployment, we can't muster up enough interest to meet percieved future demand.

Posted February 25, 2013 01:22 PM


No shortage of drivers, never has been, just a shortage of good paying freight for owner-operators and wages for drivers

Posted February 22, 2013 04:02 PM

Mohinderjit Singh Toor

As I know there is also one major issue of class 1 drivers shortage. Thats my personal experience I want to share.
I came in canada as a new immigrant feb.2010. I was more than 16 years driving experience in my country and never a single accident. I was too much excited for getting class 1 licence. But our province laws or ICBC not permited to give me class 1 licence. I have to wait for 3 years for class 1 . So my carrier goes back 3 years.
This is not only my story I knew so many person whose are able to drive class 1 truck but problem is same as me.
So BC licencing authourity should think about that.

Posted February 22, 2013 01:59 PM

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