I think everyone reading this column should go directly (figuratively speaking of course) to www.cthrc.com, and spend a few minutes getting acquainted with the Canadian Trucking Human Resources Council (CTHRC).
I’m serious about this subject. In a recent nationwide survey, the ratio of people that were familiar with the work and products of CTHRC was disturbingly low, and yet this is the national industry association that actively works on the very concerns that have been expressed by fleet managers, owners, dispatchers, training schools and just about everyone else in the trucking community.
CTHRC’s work addresses driver-training standards, accreditation of driver training schools, dispatcher certification, business training for owner/operators, and extensive research into the supply, or lack thereof, of qualified drivers. And that list only scratches the surface of CTHRC activity. I think it’s time for people in the trucking community to begin to understand the breadth of the work and the successes that CTHRC has enjoyed, so I called Linda Gauthier, CTHRC’s executive director and asked her to fill in some of the details. Many readers will probably be surprised to find out just how much the industry has accomplished through the Council.
The first thing that Linda wanted on the record is that the accomplishments are those of the ‘industry,’ not those of the CTHRC.
“The Council is the facility that industry uses to develop programs, conduct the research, and establish the standards,” Linda said. “It is incorrect, for example, to refer to the CTHRC’s occupational standards – they were developed by industry experts.”
That is an important differentiation. The products and services that have been developed are those that have been requested by industry, and they are all developed by the industry. Industry representation at the CTHRC is drawn from the private trucking and for-hire trucking sectors, organized labour, training establishments, owner-operators, and professional drivers, augmented by representation from Transport Canada and Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, with the latter providing most of the funding. In discussing specific products, Linda suggested, “Occupational Standards are the wellspring from which everything else flows – these may well be our most important products.”
To date the industry, through CTHRC, has developed occupational standards for the positions of professional driver, dispatcher, professional driver trainer, and transportation safety professional. Industry specialists have examined each of these occupations closely, and through a lengthy process we have identified specific attributes and skills that would help a person to be successful in any of them.
The resulting charts, available from CTHRC, are very useful for planning training or upgrading for people who are already in those positions, as well as for helping to identify candidates who are most likely to succeed in the jobs. The occupational standards can also be used to help generate interest among young people in making the trucking industry a career choice.
Linda pointed out that one of the key issues the industry wrestles with is the use of the term ‘Human Resource Management.’ It’s a term that the industry apparently does not relate to very well, even though H.R. activities are such a large part of the day-to-day work of front line managers and dispatchers, and of course of senior personnel. Rather, the industry is more comfortable with terms such as hiring and screening procedures, employee development, training requirements, and conflict resolution – all H.R. issues by other names. Linda surmises that this may be one of the subtle reasons why a comparative few in the industry are familiar with the CTHRC – because the term Human Resources is in the Council’s title and that may cause readers to skip right by.
On the CTHRC Web site (www.cthrc.com) you can find valuable information in a report entitled ‘Canada’s Driving Force.’
The report was the first of its kind to address labour market issues in trucking such as the shortage of qualified drivers, and the rate of turnover among that group. In fact, in the appendices to the ‘Profile of Driver Shortage, Turnover, and Expected Demand’ you can find the questionnaire that was utilized by the consultants. You can use this to examine your own company’s practices to see what you are doing right – it’s free.
And if you are looking to hire students who have been through a driving school, consider those who have been certified to industry standards from schools that have been accredited by the CTHRC (list available on the Web site).
Several of these schools teach to an industry-approved standard. In the absence of effective regulation, the industry needs to support those schools that voluntarily meet these standards.
These should be sufficient reasons to not only visit www.cthrc.com, but to find out more about and support the work of the Council.
If you need more information call the CTHRC office (613-244-4800), give us a call at the PMTC, or call your provincial trucking association – we’re all in this together.
– The PMTC is the only national association dedicated to the private trucking community. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org