Truck News

News  June 24, 2014 11:00AM

APTA says Atlantic Canada needs temporary foreign truckers

DIEPPE, N.B. – The inability to hire temporary foreign workers will result in trucks being parked across Atlantic Canada.

By altering the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and making it both more expensive and more difficult to import labour, the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association (APTA) believes the federal government is crippling the trucking industry.

The association says under the new, stricter rules, “carriers won’t be able to move the goods; they will literally have to park trucks and refuse contracts.”

In particular, the APTA singles out the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) fee—which is increasing from $275 to $1,000 for every temporary foreign worker position requested by an employer—as being particularly harmful to trucking companies. It also feels the requirements for employers to provide more detailed Labour Market Information and the shorter duration of work permits will make it harder to trucking companies in Atlantic Canada to acquire and retain the employees they need in order to function.

“Our members are extremely concerned about this situation. The program worked well for our industry and now they have no idea where and how they will find drivers to move the goods of their customers. Every company hauling commercial goods today is looking for drivers; it is a well-documented fact that the industry has a shortage of drivers. This has just amplified the situation and it will change the landscape of our industry in Atlantic Canada,” said APTA executive director Jean-Marc Picard.

“The Conference Board of Canada released a document in 2013 highlighting the driver shortage that we are facing today as well as what to expect in 2020. Up to 33,000 drivers will be needed for our industry by 2020 and you can certainly review that number now because of the Temporary Foreign Program being almost inaccessible.”

According to Picard, Atlantic Canadian trucking companies don’t want to rely on imported labour, but businesses have no choice but to look outside the country for drivers.

“The trucking industry would prefer hiring qualified Canadians as truck drivers; it is not in any trucking company’s business plan to grow their businesses using TFWs. It is expensive and lots of barriers exist, so companies that use the program only do so when they have exhausted their ability to attract qualified Canadians.”

“Efforts are being taken across Canada to attract drivers. In Atlantic Canada, we are constantly promoting the industry, removing barriers, making funding accessible etc., but also the truck driver occupation needs to be recognized as a skilled trade. We are at a critical point in time for our industry because the average age of drivers is increasing every year.”

Although its focus isn’t on drivers but on the executive-level, the Trucking Human Resources Sector Council Atlantic is operating one program that is receiving some attention and funding.

Kellie Leitch, the federal minister of labour and minister of status of women, recently announced financial support for four projects designed to support women in Atlantic Canada. This includes $242,721 for a three-year project with the goal of increasing the recruitment and advancement of women in leadership positions in the region’s trucking industry.

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17 Comments » for APTA says Atlantic Canada needs temporary foreign truckers
  1. steve says:

    the gov. should allow 2 work permits per company per year at $500 each if they live in the owner home or have their home with a bedroom and own kitchen and one bathroom per 2 workers. the gov. $2,500 for each work permit to encourage companies to hire worker here first. the companies in the maritimes should not be able to hire anymore foreign drivers until they pay their drivers $22.00 per hour plus over time after 44 hours per week plus $25.00 per day meal allowance when on the road.

  2. TomN says:

    Maybe if you took those monies you pay the government and put them toward driver pay maybe you would attract more drivers. I find it difficult to believe that, with the high rate of unemployment in the maritimes, you cannot find capable people that you can train.

  3. GJD says:

    Money attracts drivers….period. If trucking companies make it attractive drivers will come. No decent driver wants to spend time away from home at starvation wages when you can find easier jobs right at home for more money. End of story…

  4. Patrick says:

    Thses comments above do have some merit to them. Look within Atlantic Canada your resources are there.we know its all about the dollar.

  5. Patricia says:

    not suprised to hear that the McCain’s and the Irving’s would rather pay cheap wages to foreign workers that to pay a decent pay to a Canadian. . .

  6. jerry says:

    Cut welfare back and pay a decent rate you would be surprised how many drivers you could get. Getting public to reallise that they don’t own the roads and to treat the drivers like human beings would help as well

  7. Sara says:

    Do you know how many people out here in the west have left their families back out East because these exact same companies can’t provide a decent living wage for a family to live on? Its these companies that tear families apart. Most of these guys wish they could be at home instead of thousands of kilometers away from their kids! These companies give them no options – you cant tell me that hiring foreign labour is their only option.

  8. John says:

    So when recent truck school graduates go to these companies and apply they are told that they are “not qualified” drivers.
    No shortage of applicants.
    These companies only want “qualified” drivers with over two years experience so they can pay lower insurance rates and expect the government of Canada to subsidize their massive inefficiencies.
    So they cry to the Federal Government and based on their own self reporting claim that there are no “qualified drivers” anyway.
    Recent trucking school graduates (of which there is NO SHORTAGE) are told to hit the road … no pun intended.
    It looks like the free ride (no pun intended again) for some of these companies is hopefully coming to an end if Jason Kenney is on the ball with this?
    You hire recent Canadian trucking school graduates FIRST and train them FIRST before you fraudulently claim you can not find drivers.
    This truck driver shortage is a MYTH!

  9. Wayne says:

    John is exactly correct. Lots of truck driving schools turning out class 1 drivers who then cannot get the two years experience required to get a job. A few companies do have good student training programs but these are all to few. Many of these middle aged students cannot start out on the dock like younger folks can, and need to be well trained by these trucking companies then will give 20 or more good productive years to the business.

    All companies in Canada need to start training future employees to fill the holes left by us boomers who have retired. Many companies looking for trades folks, but do not have a apprentice training program.

  10. John Pringle says:

    Companies were allowed to run the apprentiship programs, and the graduates they get now are useless, and the companies do not want to hire them, that is in most every field. Truck drivers are under paid, undervalued and abused, the companies made a lot of money paying drivers a very low wage, and wanting everyone that came in the door to have multiple years experience. They brought in on themselves and now they will want government handouts and exemptions. They worked hard to get the system they wanted and government helped them along, now that the system is broken and they might need to pay a living wage they wine, when they get to the squeeling stage and start cutting the senior managements wages then they might have learned a lesson.
    I vote no temp foreign workers. Period

  11. Will says:

    It is about time that the government took a stance on the abuse of the TFWP. Too many imports only make things worse for those who have the experience, skill and knowledge and live in this country. I started in 1979 with my CDL and made a whopping $ 18.00 per/hour. Today some 35 years later I still make the same or if not all to often less per hour. The trucking industry has created its own crap pen and the can continue to wallow in it. The low wages and disrespect truck drivers get is deplorable. Its not the governments fault its us Canadian drivers that allow the trucking companies to run us over and over and over with their cooperate nonsense and greed to appease share holders alike. Hooray someone finally has the balls to put an end to ruining professional drivers livelihood and quality of life and pride, which by the way we don’t have because we are all very under paid and treated like the freight we haul. This stronghold on the TFWP is the best news I have heard in awhile. Maybe now the trucking companies will pay attention to the local CANADIAN, EXPERIENCED PROFESSIONAL DRIVERS………

  12. w says:

    TFWP is garbage………

    This country needs to take of it’s own, which it does not……

    Abolish the program permanently, education and training for actual citizens instead of creating job loss and homelessness……

    I’ve worked in one job or another since I was ‘ 5 ‘ yes 5…
    Stop sending all our tax dollars overseas and starting taking care of our own from coast to coast….. I’m in Ontario by the way……. TFWP hell………

    Both levels of government send money elsewhere, think and vote on that…..

    Other countries can pull themselves up by their own bootstraps…

  13. w says:

    that’s care by the way lol……

  14. Shane says:

    Big companies love the tfw program and labour groups do not.nothing else needs to be said so hopefully publications like this one will realize that being puppets for the rich who don’t want to tackle the real problem(low trucker wages)only makes them lose credibility with the trucker,like me,out here on the road.

  15. John says:

    I have been trucking for 41 years accident free yet I have to go to the West to get a job that pays me what I need to survive. Like many people I know are in the same boat, no shortage of drivers in Atlantic Canada the shortage is in our pay, if you see the owner arriving to work every year in a new car or truck and ask about a raise and are told no money available it knocks the wind out of your sails especially knowing the good job you are doing, but management can not figure this out. So you quit and go west for more money and respect meanwhile the company you were with says shortage of drivers can the Government help, yes we will allow you so many drivers over the next year but you must pay the newbees the same as the experienced ones that just left your employment, but we will help you by paying a portion of the wages for training. A trucker has to be classed as a trade before anything will be done as far as wages go, because without us there is no trucking company.

  16. steve says:

    Truck driving needs to paid like a trade (over $21.00 per hour) then we can talk about a shortage. Many large trucking companies have been cheating drivers and owner-ops. They just brought in more foreign drivers to cheat. I would give all trucking companies 2 work permits at $500.00 each one for driver trainer one for person to repair trucks. after that all permits would $5,000.00 each. no trucking company would get more than 10 permits in one year until the average driver was making $75,000.00 per year running legal

  17. BOND says:

    I’ve been saying this for approximately ten to fifteen years now. Not being prejudice in anyway, how can we justify getting the wage that we should be getting, by allowing foreign truck drivers in the Maritimes. APTA has displayed a lack of concern to all Maritime drivers and Owner Operators, with their statement in truck news. Until drivers learn to stand for themselves, and disallow being made to feel threatened by their employers, things will not change.

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