by Rob Penner

There’s been a lot in the news regarding temporary foreign worker programs and the government’s tightening of the rules in an attempt to stem the flow of foreign workers entering the country.

I don’t want to get into a debate on whether that is good or bad in general. Rather, I’d like to focus on how in today’s safety-conscious and highly-regulated trucking industry, a professional driver still gets lumped into the same labour pool as a McDonalds drive-through employee. Or a nanny. Really?

For whatever reason, we are all struggling to attract people into our industry and given the average age of our drivers, there are surely hard times ahead. We absolutely need to ensure the role of a truck driver is elevated to “skilled labour” if we want to keep immigration as a tool to sustain and grow our business, as we are simply not generating enough interest here at home.

To be considered skilled labour, we have to be prepared to establish and adopt mandatory entry-level training and all that goes with it. Our associations are all working hard to separate our industry from the general labour pool, and it is my hope that we all get behind this initiative for the long-term health of the Canadian Trucking industry.

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  • Just like everyone thinks they can make a hamburger because they have a frying pan, everyone who drives a car thinks it’s that easy to drive a truck. Just like everyone with a university diploma thinks that they are smarter than those with less education and know better how to regulate trucking. Just look at the STUPID rules they have been coming up with the last few years. All of this done by people who think that everyone works from 9 to 5 monday to friday…

  • I couldn’t agree with you more Rob. The Earning Your Wheels course was originally developed to be the basic entry level training for a Canadian Class 1 but it was never implemented. Much of this has to do with individual provinces determining their own licensing standards.
    If the job were elevated to a ticketed skilled position, and the government allocated monies for student loans for an advanced course, then I believe we would find more young people, as well as people changing careers, entering the trade.

  • Hi-my god, finally the most profound and honest statement regarding “driver training”, elevated to a trade classification! This would put the “PROFESSIONAL” meaning back in the Industry! The monetary value would increase and Canadian school graduates would now consider “TRUCKING” as an option along with other trades. The “driver shortage” also decreasing as well as our existing commercial accident rate.

  • When did truck drivers achieve a “professional” status? What professional accreditation society grants them that such recognition? And to what standards levels did the applicants swear to maintain so to support their achievement of “professional” status recognition, which remains a long abused and over-complimentary definition of todays’ “average” truck drivers, the likes of which are hardly considered within any Nation’s cognitive elite, and indeed far from being “professionals.”

  • Foreign truck driver program has been called the male nanny program as a way to get into Canada for the last 10 years. I know a truck driver who came to Canada from low wage country. He stopped driving truck to take a job as shift manager in AB (at a fast food place). as it paid more than driving a truck. The trucking industry needs bring a training program and pay truck drivers at least as much as other skilled trades by the hour. The CTA needs to force all its members to pay drivers $22.00 per hour off the logbook or the e-log, and pay overtime after 50 hours per week.