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Should Canadian carriers be allowed to recruit drivers from overseas?


The following is a spin-off from my column in the December issues of Truck News and Truck West, which will be hitting your desks and cabs next week. I thought I’d repeat my thoughts via my blog, so that readers can weigh in with their own opinions and get some dialogue flowing…
In mid-October, B.C. carriers lauded a decision by the province to permanently include long-haul truck driving among the professions qualifying for inclusion in its provincial nominee program (PNP).
That essentially means B.C.-based long-haul trucking firms will be able to recruit qualified drivers from overseas and the province will expedite their immigration process, fast-tracking their transition to permanent resident status.
Reaction has been mixed. Many fleets insist they can’t find qualified Canadian drivers willing to accept the pay and lifestyle afforded by a career as a long-distance truck driver. Bringing experienced drivers from countries in Europe and the Middle East fills a vital need for the industry and will benefit the economy, proponents contend.
On the flip side, others are left wondering how conditions for professional drivers will ever improve if we’re simply willing to look further abroad for workers who will accept the way things currently are? Have we no appetite to improve conditions for our existing workforce to make professional driving an occupation in which one can earn a decent living, achieve some semblance of work/life balance and take pride in their profession?
In a recent e-mail exchange, Larry Hall, a former fleet owner and head of the North American Truckers Guild, told me he feels the PNP is “the single biggest thing to happen in this industry since deregulation.” He went on to say it “has the potential to undermine our entire labour force,” and he insisted the nation’s professional drivers are “willfully ignorant” of the program’s implications.
I certainly wouldn’t go that far. In my opinion, the PNP is a stopgap measure that will not have far-reaching implications on the industry, simply because it’s an ineffective, expensive and shortsighted solution to the driver shortage. It’s costly (some estimates peg the cost of recruiting a foreign driver through the program at $10,000), many drivers either return home or jump ship to another carrier when their initial contract expires and in many cases drivers who arrive here realize they were sold a bill of goods and the realities of long-haul trucking in Canada are not as glamorous as they imagined or were led to believe.
I feel the PNP programs will have limited long-term success and eventually will fade into oblivion as progressive carriers seek more effective, permanent solutions to attracting workers (and some are already doing this). While I’m skeptical of the PNP, I do believe immigration will play an important role in keeping the industry rolling.
We have an abundance of foreign-born and second generation employees working as truck drivers in this country; progressive fleets could be tapping into this pool more effectively and offering training and compensation that would elevate the quality of our overall driver force. They’re right here, folks, you don’t need to cross any oceans to find them.
As far as the PNP is concerned, I think when we look back on it five years from now, we’ll find it had no significant impact on the trucking industry, good or bad. Larry’s not so sure.
He sees the PNP as an elaborate ploy by big carriers to drive down wages. The answer may be somewhere in the middle. What do you think? Should provincial governments be enabling Canadian trucking firms to recruit from abroad when they’re having difficulty finding drivers here at home? Please discuss…


James Menzies

James Menzies

James Menzies is editor of Truck News magazine. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at james@newcom.ca or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.
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76 Comments » for Should Canadian carriers be allowed to recruit drivers from overseas?
  1. Gary Ball says:

    I do not understand why there is a problem finding drivers, when the Motor vechicle act is saying that the truck driving schools are putting out approxly 3 – 4 drivers a week per truck driving schools in Canada. I am not a showfisist, but I do have a proplem with the East indo’s driving our hwyways when they drill a hole in the sleeper cab floor and do their dirty jobs through the floor. If new drivers come from other country’s then I belive that they should grab my Truck drivers road reference hand book at my website or email me for a hard copy

  2. Dallas says:

    I do not believe there’s a driver shortage. The companys I work for receive applications from qualified drivers on a regular basis but… they pay a fair wage. If some carriers claim they’re experiencing a driver shortage I think the answer to why is obvious. How many class 1 drivers are not using their licence or have left the industry before retirement?

  3. Stephen Large says:

    That is the question, Dallas! I am currently building some county road in eastern Ab and I have 5 pieces of Cat equipment on the site and EVERY operator has their class one driver’s license but none of them will drive truck-period!! Myself and one other guy got our licenses in 1983 and the others have a bit less experience, but ALL of us agreed that there is too much policy/procedure for the pay! Couple that with the fact that the new hours of service rules make it so you can almost never end up at home while you let your logbook do it’s thing and now, most drivers would prefer to do something else! I still drive a bit, but usually stay within 160 km radius, so no log book or B.S. I LOVE to drive truck, but I get discouraged by all the stupid rules and the lack of experience/common sense of the other drivers.

  4. Glen says:

    The whole problem with the industry ISN’T a lack of qualified drivers, it is however a lack of qualified drivers willing to put up with the ever changing rules, low pay and poor treatment.
    Let’s take a quick look at the rules: We’re “allowed” (read required by most companies and your paycheck) to work 70 hours in a 7 day period, we can work up to 14 hours in any one day (but if you don’t want to get stuck in a reset or run south your stuck at 10-11 hours). Let’s see how this affects your paycheck, let’s do a little math
    average wage : $0.35 / mile
    average speed: 62.5 mph (100 kph)
    wage x speed = $21.87/hr
    At first glance that doesn’t seem too bad cause you want to got $21.87 x 10 = 218.70 for a ten hour day.
    Let’s first look at things that have to be logged but drivers don’t get paid for: 15 min pretrip inspection, 15 min post trip inspection, 15 min(min) fueling (your supposed to log waiting in line for fuel and receipt as on duty). Well just starting and ending your day has cost you 45 minutes of pay.
    There’s a ton of other factors that all negatively affect a drivers paycheck: breakdowns not many companies compensate you for sitting around waiting for a tow truck. Road construction, rush hour traffic, bad weather and driving through the mountains all slow down your average speed and increase the danger to you as a professional driver (isn’t ironic that the trucking industry may be the only profession that gets paid LESS when it gets more dangerous?)
    Heck let’s throw in loading and unloading, these can take anywhere from 30 minutes to all day and drivers seldom get paid more that 20 bucks per drop off or pick up if they’re paid for it at all:
    So let’s add it all up here:
    pretrip/post trip/ fuel:
    time .75 hrs pay: FREE
    Loading/unloading:
    time 4 hrs pay: $40
    delays(breakdown,rush hour, grade climbing etc): 2 hrs
    Driving:
    time: 3.25 hrs pay: (62.5mph X .35/m X 3.25hrs)=$71.09
    total: 40+92.97= 111.09 or 11.10/hr
    wonder why only about 1/3 to 1/2 of the licensed class 1 drivers use it? I think the problem is pretty obvious from the pay side of the argument.

  5. meslippery says:

    Some more math for you Glen
    Ontario mim wage $10.25 x 44hrs =$451.00
    $15.38 x 26hrs =$399.88 (over time)
    ————–
    70hrs -$850.88
    Your example 70hrs @ $11.10 per hr strait time$777.00
    Less than mim wage.
    Driver shortage OK.

  6. Siam Jones says:

    Truck Driving is low on the list of skilled jobs and the pay is comensurate with the skill level. Like other low-skilled jobs, like maids and dishwashers, anyone in a competative business in civilized countries will import cheaper labor to fill them.

  7. James says:

    Siam, if that is your view of professional drivers, I hope you do not work in the industry. It takes considerably more skill to navigate a vehicle weighing 80,000 lbs through city traffic, to comply with the myriad regulations that govern the industry and to calculate your costs down to the penny-per-mile than it does to wash sheets or silverware.
    James

  8. Steve says:

    I beleive the so called driver shortage is due to companies trying to lower rates. I wish I could say it’s to increase their own profits, but for most, that isn’t true. The only people that are earning profit off the drivers backs are shippers… So why do we have a driver shortage, as previously mentioned, who wants to drive a truck for less than minimum wage oh and be away from home for several days at a time… Not surprising the youth of today want no part of this industry, what do we have to offer? They can earn more money working 8 hours a day / 40 hours a week driving a forklift and they get to sleep in there own bed and watch their kids grow up… So what’s industries solution, bring in cheap labor that is looking to move to Canada and exploit them until their contract runs out… Sounds kind of like legalized slavory! Simply ridiculous. Fix the industry problems, make shippers pay what is right. Maybe it’s just me.
    What’s the solution (my opinion)? Make trucking an attractive industry to the youth of today. Canada has an unemployement rate of something like 7% with 54,000 people lossing their jobs in October alone. But people would rather sit on welfare than drive a truck due to the current conditions. We need to increase the rates, pay drivers what they should be paid… As a professional trade. We want drivers to be professionals, but we pay them less than minimum wage in some cases. There are drivers today earning the same or less than they did over 20 years ago. Improve the work / life balance so guys can be home more often to watch their kids grow up, look at developing more meet and turns for long runs to reduce the amount of time out on the road.
    Don’t get me wrong, there are good companies out there that are not experiencing a driver shortage. All the drivers at the company I work for make above industry average (mid $20’s per hour), get paid for almost everything from the time they turn the key, and sleep in their own bed everyday… We do not have a driver shortage, there is a lineup of long haul guys wanting off the road…

  9. Garry says:

    LOw skilled they say,you can teach a person to fly an airplane quicker than you can teach a person to drive a 140000 lb truck and trailer down the road, especially in BC,and the pay is most always below min wage if you take into account all the free time that is giving to packing houses,freight sheds,and any other.loading and unloading facilitys,after 52 years in the industry,and seeing the deterioration of the trucking industry,with laws and rules that have nothing to do with safety,it is all about a cash grab for goverment pockets,with there unreasonable fines and tickets

  10. Mike says:

    With all the effort put into finding drivers from overseas it makes me wonder if it just wouldn’t be easier to increase pay. I look through the want adds every few days and what strikes me is the pay by mile rates are the same as ten years ago. The same for the hourly wage. It’s no great mystery the industry can’t keep experienced drivers.

  11. meslippery says:

    Don’t get me wrong, there are good companies out there that are not experiencing a driver shortage. All the drivers at the company I work for make above industry average (mid $20’s per hour), get paid for almost everything from the time they turn the key, and sleep in their own bed everyday… We do not have a driver shortage, there is a lineup of long haul guys wanting off the road…
    Posted by: Steve | November 10, 2011 09:21 AM
    ————————————————————–
    That,s the answer, get the Feds to mandate hourly pay
    for all hours that have to be logged.
    Mandate a minimum pay (Steve said mid $20s).
    Lets try that before we import drivers.
    That will level the playing field. all carriers will be able
    to raise rates.

  12. Glen says:

    Here’s another interesting tidbit, in 1976 the average long haul driver paid 25 cents for his cup of coffee in the morning and made 25 cents per mile. In 2011 he’s paying 1.50 – 3.00 for that same cup of joe and making 35 cents per mile. Wages don’t even cover inflation let alone taxes and everything else

  13. meslippery says:

    Check this out Glen.
    Using 25 cents per mile x 60 mph =$ 15.00 per hr.
    Now enter $15 1976 in 2011 is equal to $59.18
    http://www.aier.org/research/worksheets-and-tools/cost-of-living-calculator

  14. Harry Rudolfs says:

    First off, I think it’s a shame that the first response to this blog is used as an opportunity to slam an ethnic group that Gary Ball doesn’t like. I’ve heard that story about the hole in the floor and it keeps getting passed around like an urban legend. It’s horribly racist. My workplace has an incredibly diverse ethnicity and the Indo-Pak drivers I work with are real gentlemen, great drivers and impeccably clean. Singling out a particular group is not the way to go. Listen to the discourse: they look different from “us”; they wear strange headgear turbans, instead of trucker caps; they don’t respect “our” values; they are welfare cheats and lazy, yet they are stealing our jobs by working too hard and too cheap. This kind of thinking is the lowest of the low and perpetuates intolerance. You can be better than that Gary and so can the rest of us.
    Secondly the driver shortage is here, and this will be good for wages not bad. The immigrant drivers from overseas will make great citizens. This is a country that has great freedoms and opportunities. A skilled driver from another continent can buy a house here, raise a family and get ahead in a country that for-the-most-part is welcoming to immigrants, and accepting of diversity and cultural differences. This is the case with the last round of imported drivers from a few years ago. Many are still active in trucking and have thrived in the industry. Yes there were horror stories. I recall one Brit trucker getting fed up and leaving his tractor at the airport in Minneapolis and flying back to the UK. Some drivers were tethered to a team partner they didn’t like and had no choice in the matter until they’d worked off their indenture.
    Why can’t we develop a homegrown driving culture? There’s only mild interest in doing so in my opinion and no concerted strategy. I’m not holding my breath.
    Lastly, what’s with all the bitching about low wages. Sure people get stuck in low-paying situations but there are great companies to drive for that pay pretty well. Seek out those employers and stop bitching, they’re probably hiring. You’re still going to have to work a lot of hours and odd ones at that, but trucking is a great profession with lots of opportunities. Do some research, ask around. You’d be surprised what’s out there.

  15. SRS says:

    Keep the foriegn drivers out of the seats unless otherwise. The Canadian carriers keep hiring these foreign drivers I really don’t see the Drivers wages or Rates going up anytime soon! These foreign drivers will drive for less cause its probably better money than where they came from. There is lots of experienced class 1 drivers out there, but they’ve been screwed over in the past and have left the industry to be home more, better pay, health benefits, and a lot less b.s!!
    Siam Jones keep flipping those burgers @ MCD’s ya tool!! Truck Driving isn’t no low skilled job, also it’s not a JOB it’s a Lifestyle.

  16. meslippery says:

    Scroll down on the link for the Purolator wage.
    Not bad Harry but that is the Teamsters
    Most drivers are not in a Union.
    http://www.fedexworkers.org/files/Comparisons_0.pdf

  17. Michael Gower says:

    The driver shortage is a myth purpotrated by the OTA/CTA/ATA membership. Importing drivers will not solve the CTA/OTA/ATA member’s problems but rather better wages and treatment of their staff will. What the CTA/OTA/ATA supporters suffer from is “driver churn”. They have a revolving door with their staff thus the empty trucks. If they would fix their revolving door their problems would be solved. Don’t believe me…when was the last time you saw a shipper or business owner in the business section of a newspaper lamenting that his product wasn’t being shipped due to a lack of drivers….try never.

  18. Stephen Large says:

    Hey Harry…It is unfortunate that some of the responses to this blog are racist against a particular ethnic group, however, if you think about when the trucking industry started it’s downward spiral compared to when those people started showing up in droves to sit behind the wheels of the trucks on our highways, you will find a similar timeline. Also, come to the western provinces, where we used to enjoy fuel cardlocks with beatuiful washrooms/showers, etc. to be used by anyone, anytime, whether or not you had purchased fuel, and ask the owners of these facilities when and why many, many of them are LOCKED like FORT KNOX at night and on weekends?!! I have spoken to dozens of cardlock managers who have grown tired of having their facilities vandalized or otherwise left in a mess. I was trucking in the 1980’s (and I assume you were too) and back then, nobody would think of leaving a FREE shower/washroom in a mess, nor would the owners of it think about having to lock it! If you look at the particular parts of the industry which are not using those people, you will also find that the rates have held up much better! Don’t believe me? Intermodal trucks can be found delivering sea cans anywhere for $50-$60-$70.00/hr but you won’t get a truck and trailer in the oilfield for much under $200.00/hr!. I have nothing against these people, but it is hard not to see when and why some of the great things in the industry have disappeared!

  19. Kevin says:

    First off I agree with Harry, stop with the Racist & Prejudice comments. We should all be above that by now. That is the same as me driving a Lexus and everyone telling me I am driving a Foreign car but it is made right here in Cambridge Ontario, CANADA, and made with lots of parts from Canada and the U.S. and with Canadian and U.S. Labour costs into it.
    Now lesson 1, there is a big driver shortage within the next 5-10 years, SIMPLE DEMOGRAPHICS show this. we are all getting older, the older we get the faster we hope to retire, especially with the medical and license requirements in Canada and the U.S.A.
    lesson 2, the socalled N.A. Mentality, of I deserve it and should not have to work for it has to change. New immigrants to Canada make up our fantastic COUNTRY (Canada and of course U.S.A.) WE LIVE IN> I welcome anyone new to the country and will give them the same opportunites we all get.
    lesson 3, New Immigrants arrive with not much in their pocket and not much to last, they are eager to learn eager to work and comtribute to the economy right away, most are grateful for the opportunity. Funny enough, in Toronto someone asked me how come most of OUR FAVORITE COFFEE STORES (T.H.) only had a certain ehnicity working in them. I said number 1 thank G-D they are working there, or we would never get our coffees. Number 2, they do it, because their education background and experience when they arrive is not recognized and hard to do the same job they had at home. Most new immigrants are just glad to work and earn something. No preconceived ideas, or notions or MENTALITY OF ENTITLEMENT>
    As for overseas job fairs and recruiting overseas. As long as the driver: can drive safely, willing to learn, willing to be trained, willing to do the hours, willing to take home whatever the agreed pay rate is, then bring them over, not in hoardes but on a TRIAL BASIS. meslippery, always points to Gov’t and hourly pay and short pay and speeding and EOBR’s and his list goes ad infinitum about the same old same old. The question was recruiting overseas. We need drivers, we need someone to learn, take a look at the European system where, EOBR’s are mandatory, drivers cannot afford to go over hours, automatic fines and suspensions. Not everyone not everywhere is paid by the hour, not everyone can be a millionaire. Yes driving is difficult, Yes the hours are tough, no It is not for everyone, No it is not HIGH TECH,( although it is getting more and more so), WE IN THIS INDUSTRY HAVE TO ENCOURAGE INSTEAD OF DISCOURAGING WHOEVER WANTS TO DO IT?!
    On that note James I agree it is a short term solution. Too much red tape at the border (they did away with that in EUROPE) to many delays too many hassles, and too many regulations.

  20. I think it may be time I chimed in here boys.
    James, I don’t really think I said that there was a covert operation amongst large carriers to drive down pay…….Really!
    My position has been and remains that: We must assure that the PNP does not violate its own policy – allowing employers to monetarily abuse enrollee’s by paying them less than industry average. This “is” part of the fundamental PNP policy and yet, it would appear that no one is monitoring this aspect of the program. I have asked for an investigation here in BC but have received no response as of yet.
    Personally, I don’t care if they import drivers from Mars, as long as they are “truly competent” and do not undermine the ability of the existing workforce to remain solvent.
    Driver shortage? I have a customer which advertizes his loads to about 20 carriers. When he has a load that he needs moved and no one is booking it, he raises the rate, if that doesn’t work, he raises the rate again…. The loads always move and he never cries about a “shortage of trucks” – like me, he is a realist!
    Yes, I did say that the PNP is the single biggest thing to happen in our industry since deregulation. Though I only agree in part with those who say it was a dark day when they deregulated the industry (during regulation, rates were good but I’m pretty sure the trickledown theory was flawed)((as my bank account attested to)) in my mind they have now deregulated labour. OK, now I will mention the unmentionable: “India”, now understand that I am only using India as an example because it is the prominent one on the list of acceptable countries to import labour from. If memory serves correct, India reached a milestone a few years ago – it was the second nation in the world to reach a population of a BILLION. It is a pretty safe bet that there is no shortage of labour available from India alone.
    We would be very foolish to not be concerned about an uncontrolled flood of imported labour; quite simply, where are the guarantees that we shall not want for work in the future – there are none; it is not a seniority basis system is it? If the work runs out, imported labour will not be getting laid off or be sent packing, they will remain here and they will be competing for the same dollars as you and I forever. This single issue will shape the future of trucking in North America and the end may not justify the means, a serious problem that needs a cognizant and responsible answer from the people which are kicking the door of imported labour off the hinges.
    The North American Truckers Guild consistently represents drivers; we seem to be the only ones which are willing to tackle a subject like the PNP because it is easy to play the racist card on anyone who is concerned about imported labour. This issue has never been about race, it has always been about making sure we don’t become sacrificial lambs or commit financial suicide while others gamble with our livelihood.

  21. meslippery says:

    Kevin I did not mention EOBRs or speeding in this thread.
    To answer the question if more carriers offered pay packages
    like the one in the link I provided in a earlier post,
    There would be no driver shortage and therefore no need to
    import drivers.
    I ask you to take a look a it, if you have not already.
    Line haul driver $25.52 per hour overtime after 9
    or $59,716.80 per year working 45 hrs per week not 70hrs.
    But if you did work 70hrs $109,480.80per year.

  22. meslippery says:

    Kevin brought up the European system.
    “take a look at the European system where, EOBR’s are mandatory, drivers cannot afford to go over hours, automatic fines and suspensions”
    They still try though.Must not be paid enough.
    http://www.trucknetuk.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=76977

  23. D C C says:

    I’m glad I don’t drive transports anymore. The constant bullpooping and excuses I used to get to put a glass ceiling in my career path was getting to me. And that was from companies founded by ‘white people’.
    Companies promise you bonuses amd yet they do all they can not to pay out even with excellent safety records.
    I do belive still, that good companies still exist and immigrants are hard workers. I work for an immigrant and he treats his workers and me, like family.
    Many people in my bussing fleet were former truckers and echo the same sentiment. The best way to fix this driver shortage is a total image and respect overhaul.

  24. Steve says:

    As mentioned in other posts, I don’t believe this is racial… I have no issues with the diversity of Canada, I work with many immigrants, from many different backgrounds, that are very hard working.
    The concern for me is, work availability for current drivers and our kids growing up. Seems to me that companies, instead of trying to work towards making trucking a viable carreer for exsiting drivers and future prospects, are more willing to look overseas to find workers willing to do the work for lower pay and less than desirable hours. Instead of finding a solution to attract workers from Canada, it’s easier to go outside and find people willing to do it for less. The trucking industry needs to get with the times and understand what motivates workers, pay / home life, and make the changes in their operations to allow for these desired work / life balances… Problem is nobody wants to think outside the box and make trucking a great option for kids coming out of school. I do not know any drivers that wish their kids would drive a truck for a living…
    My largest fear, if companies were allowed to import drivers without any restrictions, is these lower paid drivers will flood the industry lowering the pay for all drivers. Just like many other retail industries that offer little to no pay for their workers, while they post profits in the multi millions. I don’t think it is “entitlement” as mentioned above, it’s workers rights to earn a decent living (when working hard), instead of companies earning multi million dollar profits while exploiting their workers. Yes drivers can seek out the companies that pay more and drive for them, but how long will these “good” carriers be around?? Currently it’s a fight for qualified drivers, if the less than desireable companies want to compete with the “good” carriers than they must provide the same benefits (pay etc.), or their seats remain empty and they go out of business. But if they are allowed to go outside of the country, at will, to fill their seats, they no longer have to compete with the “good” companies. They can lower the rates and push the “good” companies out of business. Leaving only the less desirable companies to work for… We will be a third world country before long if this is allowed to go on in all industries, there will be rich and poor, that’s it! Middle class will be history.

  25. Paul says:

    I entered the trucking workforce in 97, and got out of it in 2008. I had maybe 2 years of employment that was decent. The other 9 years was a blur or poor treatment, poor pay, poor job security and basically an awful existence. For the job I was doing, I feel I definitely should have been earning a lot more money. And I know many guys just like me, who renew their AZ every 5 years incase, but hope that they never have to use it again. There is no shortage of drivers, just a shortage of decent employers. And recruiting overseas will just make the whole ball of wax that much more distasteful. Fix the problems with the industry, don’t just band-aid them with more third world drivers who have no vested interest in the quality of our society.

  26. K.A. says:

    There is no driver shortage, there is only a shortage of drivers willing to work for peanuts.
    The majority of the drivers for the company we are contracted to are from India and area and most of them are very nice guys. None of their trucks have a hole in the floor.
    That being said, there was a driving school in Calgary AB and one in Delta BC some years back where they were licensing unqualified drivers. After they got busted, the students had to retake their test and not one of them passed in BC.
    https://www.trucknews.com/news/calgary-driving-school-charged-with-fraud/1000195292/#
    ‘The results weren’t so encouraging in B.C., where more than 100 drivers who went through Delta Driving School were re-tested in the days following the bust.
    “All the drivers failed the re-test,” said Moira Wellwood, spokeswoman for the Insurance Corp. of B.C.’
    ‘ “Their method of operation was to advertise in ethnic newspapers – they were specifically drawing an East Indian and Middle Eastern type clientele,” Det. Robertson told Truck News. ‘
    It’s time to made this occupation a trade and start apprenticing potential drivers.

  27. Tom says:

    Having been a recruiter for the past 20 years I have experience many big changes in our industry when it comes to bringing on drivers. I look for someone who not only likes to drive, but has the passion for the industry. I mean when I look at a driver I look for a number of things but mostly at where he mind is at. Over the past several years I have met many drivers from different cultures and different driver experiences, but I have yet met a man or woman who takes on the position in a serious or professional manner. The driving schools are turning out hundreds of students every week across Canada whether it is in the West Coast or in the East, but they are not teaching the driver the proper elements of being a professional driver. Some of the fellows or women still don’t know how to do circle checks, back up, secure a load or even talk to a dispatcher. They get discouraged and leave the business pretty quickly. They is not a shortage of drivers, but their is a shortage of good trainers and mentors for these drivers. I agree with K.A. who says that we should make driving jobs a trade and maybe start apprenticing potential drivers, not just throw them out there when they get their license. There are many companies like temp agencies who put drivers out to work, but even these agencies don’t train potential drivers. Few don’t even have drivers doing a driving test before they start work, and seldom if a driver has a problem they can’t help them correct their mistakes. I also agree that for some drivers the wages or rates suck and the hours of work are unbearable. This can be fixed if we assess the potential ability of a driver prior to them getting their licenses. I stress I don’t want a driver who likes to drive, but one who has the passion for the work as well. Bringing in people from other countries may help, but they as well have to have the passion and the desire to learn the North American way of transportation.

  28. SRS says:

    Totally agree with you Paul!!! Our own people here in Canada that are backpocket Class 1 license holders would probably put their butts back in a seat if the wages are there, health benefits and etc are offered. The goverment regs like hos and so on is something that we’ll never get away from, but looking after our Canadian drivers is number 1. Offer incentives, a decent wage, better hometime, and health coverage. There’s lots of companies and o/o’s out there that are looking for drivers that don’t pay hrly, but %, no health coverage, no STAT pay, O.T. and on an on. Well that’s not very appealing to someone that’s looking into the trucking industry, when there buddy is getting hrly pay, o.t,stat pay, and full health coverage and home time. Whether your in the Oilpatch or OTR the wages are all over the board.
    Like Tom says ” make this occupation a TRADE and start apprenticing the new drivers”.

  29. SRS says:

    I meant like what K.A. said, not Tom. All good!

  30. ciciLiu says:

    Don’t get people wrong, there are good companies out there that are not experiencing a driver shortage. All the drivers at the company I work for make above industry average (mid $20’s per hour), get paid for almost everything from the time they turn the key, and sleep in their own bed everyday… We do not have a driver shortage, there is a lineup of long haul guys wanting off the road…

  31. KAREN says:

    Spent 10 years on the road, longhaul. Now, 10 years plus as a small carrier. When I run ads for drivers or look on driver link, the first thing I find is that 95% of the drivers can not or will not cross the border. We have tightened border security which can create hassles, we have different sets of h.o.s. rules, we have csa, which has many wrinkles that cause concern and we have a government spending millions throwing any and all unemployed workers into the transportation industry with only the knowledge of how to shift gears and how to fill out a log book.The “drivers” coming out of school today are just that — drivers. They are not truck drivers, they can’t blind side around a corner and down a back alley, they do not know about weight distribution, air leaks-not to worry, the truck keeps making air, fuel economy-got to put pedal to the medal to get this big rig up to speed, and I could go on and on.
    It takes a special person to be a truck driver, they spend days and sometimes a few weeks away from home and family, they deal with weather, other drivers, d.o.t., border security, shippers and receivers,dispatchers, etc.The successful truck drivers of today have a multitude of skills, they are patient, courteous, calm, brave, clean, hardworking-(no truck stop cowboys in this crowd) and they can “turn that rig around on a dime”. In short, they are far more skilled than most employees who do the same little routine day in and day out.Lets work towards making the government apprentise this industry and use the skilled truck drivers we have to really make “truck drivers”, instead of just drivers. The millions spent would then have some value. What a novel idea-Government actually doing GOOD, instead of pi–ing it all away.

  32. meslippery says:

    So Karen are you saying a good truck driver is worth his or
    or her weight in gold ? If so God bless.

  33. meslippery says:

    In a world of high unemployment we need a
    driver recruitment department?
    Maybe its just me but if all is well in trucking
    this would be silly.
    Like hire me please. but NO not at what you are paying.
    If no one will work for what you pay. PAY MORE.

  34. Dave says:

    The PNP will be the down fall of the trucking business. It is high time that the trucking company’s as well as shippers start biting the bullet and paying truckers what they are worth and not just getting legislation to help these company’s get cheap immigrant drivers to undercut pro-truckers because they want and NEED more pay as EVERYTHING these days increase except OUR PAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  35. Allan Brown says:

    I think Karen makes some very good points. I also believe that maybe companies need to retrain their recruiters. It has been written over and over that something needs to be done with wages and various other issues within the industry. I feel that companies when looking to hire drivers and owner operators need to shift their views. For example, have you ever has a driver gone to an interview with a recruiter and had them ask questions about you? And I don’t mean like where you have worked or what your experience is? Real questions. The same questions that carrier would expect their salesperson trying to build a relationship with a potential customer would ask in their first meeting with that potential customer. Questions about who you are, where you come from, your family, your life experiences.
    Another thing that carriers really need to do a better job on is being up front about what they offer. Recruiters too often hide behind inflated pay rates, or skirt around questions. Be honest. Lay it all out in black and white. How long do you think you will keep the driver that you misled about your package working for you anyway? The driver is told all these great things and shows up to work for your company only to find out many of things he was told are not accurate. How good of a start is that?
    Hiring a driver begins with the interview. Be genuine, be honest, give him or her all the details, be consistent, build relationships with the drivers, pay them fair, be appreciative, be unique and did I mention be honest. Perhaps the pending doom of the baby boom generation retiring, less and less people being attracted to the industry is going to cause some very difficult times for carriers trying to hire drivers.
    I feel that if this is the case then carriers will need to find intagible avenues of keeping drivers. Everyone will have to increase wages if the shortage ever gets as bad as predicted. But the more creative companies – ones that are willing to invest time and energy into making their company the best to work for will win out in the end.

  36. Harry Rudolfs says:

    I might be mistaken, but aren’t there some provinces currently using the PNP? And aren’t some programs to get Canadian truckers behind the wheel an abject failure? Canadians don’t want to truck and unless there’s a sea change in attitude and remuneration this will not change. Contrarily, most of the immigrants sponsored by the PNPs during the last driver shortage have made great citizens and many remain as drivers contributing to the industry. And this isn’t just the third world I’m talking about: trucking companies actively recruited in the British Isles, Germany and Holland, among other developed countries. Nobody talks about it but I recall that millions of dollars was spent to get aboriginal and first nations Canadians to get their commercial licences. Some of them did, probably to fulfill some edict from Human Resources Canada or social services, but very few Natives ever went trucking. That idea was a giant flop no matter how good the intentions.

  37. meslippery says:

    Ok Harry if we the Canadians dont want to truck there must
    be a reason? Just make it worth our while.
    Out sourcing everything has that worked out well?
    Think about your Kids or Grand kids.
    Lowest common denominator.
    If you think you are safe from someone taking your job.
    Well I once believed that. Its only a matter of time till
    there will be a lot of SH*ty jobs and they will go to the
    most desperate to work at the lowest wage.
    If thats what you want I do not see it ending well.

  38. Why is it that we always get bogged down arguing amongst ourselves over the peripherals?
    Terms like “Level the Playing Field” and “Driver Shortage” are like fingernails on a blackboard to me, these terms are conjured up by slippery salesmen as a means of attaining a goal, say them enough and they become catch phrases which tumble out of the mouths of everyone with an agenda.
    Population of Canada: 34,278,400
    Unemployment rate as of October 2011: 7.3%
    = 2,502,323 People without jobs in Canada
    Hmmm…..
    There are about 250,000 people behind the wheels of commercial vehicles in Canada and there are TEN TIMES that many people unemployed in the country.
    These may seem like obvious questions but – if there is a driver shortage….
    How many drivers are we short?
    How many of the 2,502,323 unemployed already hold valid commercial driver licences?
    I digress…..
    Problem Solving 101
    Step 1: Identify the problem
    Step 2: Take corrective action
    Step 3: Problem solved!
    Here’s where it’s all gone wrong:
    The problem has been misdiagnosed as a “driver shortage” when in fact the driver shortage is a “symptom” of the problem.
    The problem is easily identified as a continual degradation of the job:
    Long hours, poor working conditions, over regulation, increased responsibility, remuneration that doesn’t even come close to keeping up with the rate of inflation and the list goes on and on.
    Ask yourself this question and your answer should drive the point home:
    If “your child” was graduating high school tomorrow, would you recommend truck driving as a career for him or her?
    Being successful in your chosen career path should not be an incalculable risk – which is exactly what the trucking industry has become with the inattention to detail by our leaders; their lack of leadership in regard to stabilizing the labour force through building and maintaining appealing careers has brought us to this juncture and they are steadfast in their belief that the “symptom” is the “problem”.
    It is high time we put a stop to the relentless application of band-aids and got on with the job of flipping this industry into a trade and reinstating the deserved sense of pride in our profession and a job well done.
    Transport Trade Qualifications has been the mandate of the North American Truckers Guild since the start and it is an attainable goal – but only if we stand tall and unified in our quest. Nobody is going to give it to us, if we want it we’ll have to go and get it!
    So, are you going to stand tall with us or just sit around hoping that things improve on their own?

  39. The NATG is focused on addressing the problem, not applying band-aids to the symptom
    Pride in ourselves, respect for each other, “trained and skilled professionals”, a bottom up overhaul of the entire system.
    In order to change professional driving into a trade, we will need to have the National Occupational Code (NOC) of drivers changed from “Semi Skilled” to “Skilled”.
    Changing the NOC is done through the Federal Government and it will not happen without substantial lobbying efforts from professional drivers through an organization such as The North American Truckers Guild.
    We need you on our team, so if you are tired of complaining and seriously want to make a change for the better, here’s your opportunity.
    http://www.thetruckersguild.com

  40. John Heimlich says:

    I am not a truck driver but several years ago I looked into this industry as a career.
    This is what I discovered.
    This “truck driver shortage” is a total fraud.
    There is no truck driver shortage.
    What there is are truck drivers working for half the money they made in real terms 25 years ago.
    Wages have remained stagnant for a quarter of a century.
    Rather than train new drivers these large corporations go to the Canadian Government and complain there is a “shortage” then have the government use Canadian tax payers money to import drivers from overseas to do a job that there are thousands of Canadians willing to do if it paid a liveable wage like it did in the past.
    So in effect the Government of Canada is spending our tax dollars to keep Canadians unemployed!!
    How disfunctional can you get.

  41. James Menzies says:

    John, I do not believe the taxpayers are on the hook for any aspect of the PNPs. The carriers involved must cover the costs of recruiting and transportation for anyone they hire from overseas. And because the participating drivers are immediately employed, you can argue the PNP has the opposite effect, by attracting immigrants who immediately begin paying income tax.
    I’m not a fan of the programs, but let’s stick to the facts.
    James

  42. John Heimlich says:

    Like a lot of people who look into trucking I have a full time permanent job that is not in trucking.
    So anyone would ask themselves the following question when looking at this industry.
    Does this job and industry offer a better career than I have now (?), and yes, everything from long hours to time spent away from home is factored in.
    I really like Class Eight trucks too and would love to drive one.
    However, I keep coming to the conclusion that for drivers out there that this industry has been on a downward train for several years.
    Incomes are stagnant, and the rules of economics always apply.
    If there is a “shortage” of anything then wages/income should be going UP.
    But they are not in the trucking industry.
    They day I can make $75,000 a year as a long distance truck driver (company driver, total income before tax) then I will be applying.
    But when I can make the same amount of money elsewhere, or even more, then I will not be applying for a trucking job.
    The talent this industry wants are people who can get a career in any number of industries and choose trucking.
    Trucking is actively in competition with other industries and quite frankly it is not doing much of a job attracting talent.
    The day I see empty store shelves then I will believe there is a truck driver shortage.

  43. Dorothy says:

    Wow!Those are some really interesting comments and summations.You Folks are great and most of you are bang on.
    In Lindsay,On. there is a Truck Driving School.It is always busy and there is a trailer that the language one cannot read as a non ethnic.
    As one who has been in the Industry for a “day or two”. I have come to the summation that “the hurrier the Companies are to adapt new Unverified and Untried technologies,rules and regulations that an excellent,well paid Lobbiest has sold the”bill of goods” for the further behind we are going and must find a way to –stumble forward and find a path to –catch up.
    Bringing those into the Country who view English as a second language to their own is also not the way to go.Some who come are not here to actually “work” but to learn to accept a comfortable lifestyle with no attachments.
    The Trucking Industry is offering to some that of an aircraft carrier for a harrier jet.They come,settle in, many never coming through the proper channels and pushing aside those who have been waiting patiently for their turn and why,simply because they allege they want to be Truck Drivers.The miles are long,the pay not as they expected with the days chopped up and the knowledge that they really must acquire to function often escapes them so they head to the welfare department or,if they have survived long enough, many now are turning to the Unemployment Insurance for benefits.This is creating a new crisis in Canada.
    Thank-you Canadian trucking companies.

  44. David Perri says:

    I personally don’t believe there is a shortage of drivers, but ranther a shortage of quality professionals. The industry as a whole needs to make a paradigm shift elevating the standard and quality of drivers and those who wish to make the next step as an owner operator. The biggest opportunity is to attract drivers in their late teen years and educate and have practical experience. We often see the growing gap between a driving professional and someone treating it as ‘just some job’. This field of work isn’t a job, but a career that’s integrated within a particular lifestyle. Driving isn’t for everyone, but we shouldn’t marginalize the importance of the ‘driving’ function to simply as a cost measurement. Our (Trademark Capital Finance) customer base is composed of owner operators and micro-fleet owners and we have witness the growing trend of the successful folk who treat driver’s as assets and see them as a pivotal component of the quality of service and efficiency and the end result to a positive bottom line. Yes, cost is important, but in a competative market, proper service, safety and reliability is key as well, and the driver is at the forefront of the industry.

  45. John Coups says:

    Every comment posted has its own merit; wages, demands on lifestyle, respect, immigration, professional designation are a reality.
    To increase wages as many here advocate would create an unwarranted inflationary pressure on a fragile economy.
    David Perri is the first here to identify a driver as an “asset.” An asset is a product or commodity in which we invest with the expectation of a return, or profit. Our people are our greatest assets. Of those posted before me, who has hired a newly licensed driver? Who has a mentoring program? Who knows what is the biggest non-work related concern of their newest hire. Who is invested in their people?
    J

  46. Allan Brown says:

    @ John Coups
    John,
    I could not agree with you more. Companies need to be creative and authentic when hiring drivers. You are not just hiring a robot to drive a truck. Figure out a way to make this a career. Offer the opportunity to advance to different levels of a professional driver. Recognize good and loyal people and do it in a larger forum. Use the tools of technology like social media to help stay connected to your people. Think outside the box. Be different. Be better. Not always just about the money.

  47. Allen Roulston says:

    This topic is generating a lot of comments. This is my version of calculating the wages of a truck driver.
    Imagine earning 45 cents a mile (over the road) and running 3000 miles a week : $1350
    Anyone who has done this will tell you to expect to be away from home 5.5 days (or 132 hours)
    $1350 / 132 hours = $10.23 / hr which is just under minimum wage.
    I’ve long said the compensation for a trucker does not acknowledge all of the different roles the driver must perform.
    At night they are a security guard, so even if they are sleeping, they are essentially still on the clock.
    They are away from home, in foreign places, for extended periods of time, thus they should be receive isolation pay.
    A driver work is inherently more dangerous than most jobs, thus they should receive danger pay.
    Not only are there a wide variety of skills required to do the job well, there are also specific personality traits required.
    I gave up over the road driving simply because I could not manage being away from home 5 and 6 days each and every week.
    My life consisted of nothing more than driving, eating, sleeping . . . when I was an over the road driver.
    No quality of life in that situation, which brings me to the following comment.
    Very few people choose being a professional truck driver as their first choice of employment.
    It has become a job of last resort for many people.
    Sure, you can probably make twice as much over the road as compared to doing local work, but the cost to one’s health and well being just might not be worth the extra income.

  48. meslippery says:

    Allan.
    Not always just about the money.
    Maybe not but it matters.

  49. When I started in 1981, it was very difficult to find a job, the economy was in the toilet right after the 70’s oil boom and the only way in to the business was to find a carrier which had very low entry requirements (which meant you’d be taken advantage of) or find a sponsor at a decent company; either way, you really had to want to be a trucker to sign up for it.
    Today, companies give a quarter million dollars worth of equipment to a greenhorn and think nothing about it – quite a shift in management style. Today, when you are awarded your commercial licence and land a job, congratulations, you have just reached the pinnacle of your career!
    The only thing that sets a new driver apart from a veteran is the experience; thanks to equal pay for equal work, seldom do see a veteran being paid more than a greenhorn and in actuality, the only way to pull a decent paycheck is to put down the miles, thanks again – this time to “performance based pay”.
    If we think of it in terms of itemizing the things that are wrong with the “career”, we could build a substantial list, but if we concentrated on fundamental inequities, most likely we could agree on the basic reasons why – if we had it to do over, we would choose a different career path.
    Like a diamond, there are many facets and pay is only one. Some of the others are: self esteem, respect for one another, lack status recognition (apprentice, journeyman, master), danger goes up – productivity goes down and so does your pay (wintertime), work and personal time balance (I personally wonder why we find a 70 hour work week acceptable as “normal”)
    Just one more note in regard to balance; I make it a point of talking to the “old guys” (over 70) I come across and asking them why they are still on the road, though they have different ways of articulating the logic, invariably the answer is that they tried going home and found out that after a “life” on the road, they weren’t welcome at home (full time), that to me speaks volumes about the actual imbalance.
    At this stage of my life, I tend to look a lot further down the road and wonder what I can do today to ensure that the people coming up behind us are taken better care of than we were. It is my ambition to find a way to make a career in transportation a desirable choice for those who unwittingly jump into the deep end, as well, find a long term solution to road safety that doesn’t require layer upon layer of regulation and policing to deliver our country’s economy thereby diminishing the appeal of the driver’s seat.

  50. meslippery says:

    Here Here Larry.
    Right On .1980s
    It was a different time. It was Fun then we were young.
    It was great time.Now its well still 1980 or so pay wise.
    I miss it but .. You have to make it worth my while
    That in the end is why we did it.
    Cannot afford do it for Free

  51. It was a different time for sure and it was a lot of fun, I sure didn’t dread my time off coming to an end.
    I didn’t make a lot of money while I was honing my craft and I spent more time than I care to remember wondering how I would pay for the repairs I needed.
    I recall a time when a flat tire ate up my sustenance funds for the week – I went three days without food, (credit cards weren’t as prevelant as they are today….) they say those situations build character, one thing’s for sure, they build hunger!!!!

  52. Stephen Large says:

    Hey Larry, when I bought my first truck, my friend wanted to go with me to Livingston, Ca. Good thing he did- I blew a tire at Hamer, Id. and had NO way to pay for another one! He fished out the money for a new tire and we were back in business! It took me a couple weeks to round up the money to pay him back!!?? But we had fun back then!

  53. Mike Mitchell says:

    Why not get that guy from a mid country provincial trucking association to lobby for hourly wages and full benefits? He seems to have the premier’s ear.

  54. meslippery says:

    Larry and Stephen FUN FUN that is missing from this job now.
    One day it may come back.
    But I will be to old.
    Why did the powers be take all the fun out of it?

  55. Stephen Large says:

    Hey meslippery, I still have some fun out here once in a while! I work ONLY by the hour-no exceptions, with my 20 and 30 year old equipment. I have not had a truck or trailer payment for many years, so I don’t have to work my truck unless the rate is there! In the last 3 days, I have billed out over $6000.00 and only drove a little over 500 miles. Tomorrow morning, I have to go haul a new truck back to the dealership to have some electronic problems repaired(again!)and when I get to the dealer, they won’t want it here, or there, or anywhere that I would unload it, (same as any receiver would do to a driver who is trying to get unloaded and on his way)so I will just remind them that the clock is ticking and it’s $200.00/hour C.O.D. All of a sudden, it will be okay to drop it anywhere! If everyone charged by the hour for everything that happens, and then pay the driver the same way, 99 percent of the B.S. would disappear real quick!

  56. meslippery says:

    I agree Stephen. 95% of my career since 1982 was by the hour.
    The fun is tempered by speed limiters , EOBRs and stagnate wages.
    Todays new trucks float them back to the dealer for electronic
    problems. Your old paid for truck could be fixed by you at the
    side of the road. If not then a mobile repair.
    Its good for you though, 30 year old Kenworth floating a broke
    down 2011_ _ _ _ ?
    Here,s a said Read.
    http://www.alternet.org/economy/153393/how_goldman_sachs_and_other_companies_exploit_port_truck_drivers_%E2%80%94_occupy_protesters_plan_to_shut_down_west_coast_ports_in_protest/

  57. as long as they are qualified they can get them from where ever they are available.

  58. Paul Francis says:

    Driver Shortage? Do you mean a shortage of real drivers or are you refering to the wannabe sitting behind the wheel because it was easy to get there. Yes there is a shortage of real drivers. My influance to become a trucker was a show called BJ and the bear when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. Then I got into listening to singers like Red Solvine and others. The trucking songs like Phantom 309 and I’ve never forgotten the responsabilities of the professional driver these songs talk about, and the pride they take in staying safe (or should be taking) while on the road. Today we have a bunch of egotistical, selfrighteous wannabe’s who think they’re all that, and take their so called rights too seriously (the dangerous ones who would rather then excercise safety, excersise their rights instead). No wonder this industry is in peril! It all stems to the bad rap truckers have. Why would the public stand behind the needs and concerns of the trucking industry, when we are so hated by them? Thanks to the low class of drivers we have in the industry now. When I’m behind the wheel as far as I’m conserned my right go out the window and the public safety is my number 1 concern, and I never excercise intemidation towards other road users. Maybe if we had true professionals, the younger generations might look up to us and be interested in learning the right way of driving a truck, and we would be respected.

  59. 3 fingers says:

    Just a thought, why can we not import drivers from the US,closer to go and get them,they all ready speak and write english,and when they have made their money you know they are going to go home. This is only a thought from a home grown 40 year veteran .

  60. Lucien Bleau says:

    There is a shortage in the industry, a huge SHORTAGE of GOOD PAYING Driving Jobs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  61. John Boy says:

    OK, I’m a foriegn driver from the UK. For most of my life I have worked in construction and for the most part made damm good money. I did not come to Canada looking for work but rather for personnal reasons. I am a skilled Mason by trade and easily found work in this area. The guy I worked for was nothing more than a bully to his employee’s that would take his crap (not me). Anyway I was making average $750 per week before tax and working like a dog. After a year told him to shove it. Went to truck driving school and after passing was lucky enough to land job with a goverment agency (Parks Canada). The job was OK but not great, $20 per hour, full benefits after 6 month but no chance of overtime and was working with some of the laziest, bigoted dumbasses I have ever met.
    Got laid off after 12 month period and so applied to the truck company where I now work. I get treated pretty damm good and make pretty damm good money. My dispatcher works the ass of me but thats the way I like it I run that truck to the max every day I’m in it and I’m a pushy son of a bitch, I demand unloading/loading NOW.
    In the last 3 weeks I made $1350, $1490 and this week the miles are down so only $1100 (before tax).
    I have full medical benefits and I am home every week for my re set. Yes the hours are long and the job can get boring but you know what, thats pretty good money for sitting on my ass holding onto a steering wheel.
    All in all the reason why there is a driver shortage in Canada is because the average Canadian is Lazy! Yeah I said it, Lazy!

  62. Stephen Large says:

    Hey, John Boy…I am a Canadian, born in Alberta and have been trucking since my 18th birthday in 1983. I agree with you that a lot of Canadians and Americans are somewhat lazy. However, there seems to be a different set of rules how trucking companies and governments from each jurisdiction treat ‘drivers’ who came here from another country and got their license from a ‘school’ of some kind and drivers who got their license ASAP on their own and spent most of their early years busting their butt, working their ass off for the dispatcher and the company. I, too am a pushy son-of-a-bitch about getting loaded/unloaded, etc. and after 28 years and over 3 million miles hauling many different kinds of loads, from grain and livestock to oilfield/offroad and multi-axle mega-expen$ive oversize/overweight loads to nearly every corner of this continent, I have retained some experience and knowledge that some people would recognize as a valuable asset! But, most trucking companies label me and others like myself as “high-maintenance” and would prefer to have a nice, willing, eager newer driver, perhaps from another country, who may not have the terrible habit of asking “why” or “when” or “how much” that comes after many years of experience. The companies would much rather send a ‘driver’, who may never have hauled 8 axle b-trains through slippery mountains, or who may never have hauled a 2 million dollar load down a 15 percent grade at 110 degrees weighing 80 or 90 tons, or not have ran all over, racking up millions of miles without ever having an accident! These drivers have not yet learned to ask all the questions first and maybe get all the answers before heading out! Those pesky high-maintenance old-hands that want to know everything before they go are too much bother! Just send the guy who came here from a country where there are no mountains and nothing over 5 axles….he won’t ask so many questions! Another thing that I have seen (my opinion) is us fat, lazy Canadians would like to spend a bit of time with family and friends, when WE want to, you know, weddings, graduations, family vacations, family funerals, etc. But, the guy who came here from Slovakia or Pakistan or wherever overseas, doesn’t need that same time to be with their family…they live on the other side of the world, so they won’t be such a bother to the company and try to get home once in a while when it matters(only to the driver). Don’t get me wrong, many of the best drivers I have worked with are from some European or other country and are usually go-getters and I am sure that you are too! Let us know how you’re making out after a couple million more miles! 🙂

  63. John Andrews says:

    There Is NOT a shortage of drivers. There’s a shortage of drivers willing to accept the conditions of the industry. I also find the majority of “New Canadian” drivers are rude, disrespectful, and don’t posses the required skills. And from the mouth of a MOT. inspector. “we are well aware of the concerns, but cannot hold these drivers to the same standards. They just lawyer up and win” Personally I’m tired of the different standards based on where one is born. Also looking to get out!

  64. John Andrews says:

    John Boy: there’s a big part of the problem. Sitting on your ass and holding a steering wheel? Your license should be cut up immediately!

  65. I have spent much of my career analyzing the trucking industry and have come to the conclusion that perspective is everything. No matter what your expertise is, people get wealthy by solving problems; that is why the trucking industry is fertile ground for thinkers and doers.
    It doesn’t bother me if there are lazy people involved in the industry, my screening process will eliminate them from my company long before they get settled in (or hired) and that gives my company an advantage.
    I tend to agree with Stephen in his assessment of a driver’s ability to balance work time and family time:
    Using a 1 week stretch and a 70 hour work week coupled with the mandatory 8 hour sleep cycle each day, a week shakes out like this: 7 days X 24 = 168 hours
    A reset is 36 hours out of which, it would stand to reason that 12 of those are spent sleeping which leaves 24 hours of off duty time; that equates to 14.29% of the week which actually belongs to the driver. This only takes into account a driver who managed to make it home for his reset…..
    Compared to Joe Average who nets 36.9% free (awake) time at home per week, I’d say that a driver should be compensated financially for his investment in his “employers company”, but hey, that’s just me – I think that an OTR driver that has an annual before tax income of less than 72K is being robbed.
    I have been fortunate to visit many countries and I can tell you that Canadians are amongst the least lazy in the world. Friggin Eh!

  66. lrh says:

    I’m sure that rate of pay is part of the problem in some part of this industry. However in northern BC and Alberta drivers are paid very well and we still can’t find enough people. My drivers make $400/day for 12-13hrs. thier home every night and can work 300 days in a year if they want. Most other companies pay about the same, and everyone is short of drivers. I think the older guys are retirering and the younger ones don’t want to work that hard.

  67. Stephen Large says:

    Hey, lrh, I applaud you for paying an appropriate wage to your drivers!! I agree that as the older drivers retire, younger drivers are needed to replace them, but it seems like anyone under about 35 years old is not really looking for a job where they work 12-13 hrs a day, 300 days a year. It seems like they would like to start about 10am and be done about 3 or 4pm. They don’t really want to work Mondays or Fridays and WON’T work weekends. They don’t want to work in the mud or rain or snow or darkness. They don’t want to put tire chains on. They are not interested in crawling under the truck once in a while to see if anything is broken or falling off. So, most trucking jobs do not appeal to them! As long as they can text their buddies, use Facebook, and watch ‘the game’ on TV, nothing else seems to matter. As for the older drivers who are retiring, they have put their time in and are ‘winding down’ and probably don’t want to work 400 hrs a month. And they probably don’t need to. All of the drivers in between, the guys in their 40’s and 50’s, in Ab and BC especially, in my opinion, are tired of all the policy and procedure that is pushed onto them. There are rules that contradict other rules! Log books are a joke-especially working in the oilfield! If you have a Federal motor carrier profile, you MUST follow the federal rules, which doesn’t allow you to use the 160km radius eemption, so there you are, maybe hauling constrution equipment or gravel or parts of a drilling rig just a few miles at a time, and maybe several loads a day, and have to try to make all that fit in your log and still match all the other documents. Then, after you have run out of hours, you need to stop and sleep, whether or not you are tired or whether or not there is a place to park or eat or use the washroom. After your forced sleep, you are probably tired, but now you need to get going! Now, you have to get your striped coveralls on, and your steel toed boots, and your hard hat and your safety glasses(with side shields) and have some ‘safety’ person with a clipboard and hard hat and striped coveralls and steel toed boots and safety glasses and ear muffs, etc climb up on your truck and see your H2S ticket, TDG ticket, ground disturbance ticket, PDIC ticket, GODI ticket and whatever else they can think of. Never, ever, does anyone ask the only question that actually matters; “Do you know how to operate this thing?” As long as you have a pocket full of tickets, and all your ‘safety gear’ on, you are good to go. (Shouldn’t you take your coveralls off before getting in the cab? – are they not dirty from when you just crawled under your truck and checked all your brakes, wheels, tires, hoses, etc?) Now-get your own oversize permits, get your own directions, and make your own appointments to load or unload, but DO NOT TALK ON THE CELLPHONE!! Finally, you come to a place where there is a restaurant where you could get some breakfast and use the restroom, but there is NO TRUCK PARKING! I could go on and on, but it is apparent to me that if truck drivers were not regulated to death, maybe more people would be interested in driving truck for a living!

  68. Many fleets insist they can’t find qualified Canadian drivers willing to accept the pay and lifestyle afforded by a career as a long-distance truck driver as well as northern BC and Alberta drivers are paid very well and we still can’t find enough people. My drivers make $400/day for 12-13hrs. thier home every night and can work 300 days in a year if they want. Most other companies pay about the same,

  69. rsc says:

    when you have transport companies paying a AZ driver 17.00 per hour who in their right mind would drive a tractor trailer around Toronto doing deliveries to big box stores there is NO driver shortage just a shortage of pay. time for the goverment to regulate the rates again.
    PS you still have to take taxes out of that 17.00

  70. neil ramrattan says:

    this is a test from Neil IT. please let me know if you get this post.

  71. Now a days rate of pay is part of the problem in some part of this industry as well as the companies would much rather send a ‘driver’, who may never have hauled 8 axle b-trains through slippery mountains, or who may never have hauled a 2 million dollar load down a 15 percent grade at 110 degrees weighing 80 or 90 tons, or not have ran all over, racking up millions of miles without ever having an accident!

  72. There are rules that contradict other rules! Log books are a joke-especially working in the oilfield! If you have a Federal motor carrier profile, you MUST follow the federal rules, which doesn’t allow you to use the 160km radius eemption, so there you are, maybe hauling constrution equipment or gravel or parts of a drilling rig just a few miles at a time, and maybe several loads a day, and have to try to make all that fit in your log and still match all the other documents.

  73. Found this fantastic online driving schools information in Calgary the city Of Alberta. Now here’s for you to get it free online driving schools resources at new drivers of Alberta. Includes site related to Calgary online driving schools course.

  74. Thomas says:

    What would the world look like if all truck drivers went on a strike for a month or so. 🙂
    I would love to see the government handle that.

  75. chris says:

    So would it be worth my while Giving up my $14 an hour steady job over here in the UK ???

  76. gary woodley says:

    there is no driver shortage, there is only a shortage of companies that respect the driver enough to follow through a commitment made during the hire.
    lets face it the fact that companies in the 70’s and 80’s would give you time at home, pay you top dollar, went to he way side after free trade!
    since the 90’s companies use drivers and O/O as a source of rate cutting…. we made $20 dollars and hour then and now it is only a litte more and in
    many cases it is much less…when companies give respect like they did in the 70’s the driver shortage would not be worth mentioning
    …this is my rant..10-4

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