TSQ: Should trucking companies be recruiting from overseas?
December 1, 2011
MILTON, Ont. - British Columbia's recent changes to its provincial nominee program (which provides accelerated permanent resident status to qualified workers from other parts of the world) to include long-haul truck drivers as a permanent part...
MILTON, Ont. – British Columbia’s recent changes to its provincial nominee program (which provides accelerated permanent resident status to qualified workers from other parts of the world) to include long-haul truck drivers as a permanent part of the program has brought a touchy subject to light for the industry: should Canadian carriers be recruiting drivers from overseas?
While some argue that such programs are a necessity to fill empty seats with qualified drivers, others are calling the practice a raw deal and one that takes jobs away from Canada’s workforce. We dropped by the Fifth Wheel Truck Stop in Milton, Ont. to ask drivers if Canadian trucking companies should be searching for drivers in other parts of the world.
• Mike Lynch of LCL Bulk Transport in Green Bay, Wis., says he’s in not favour of such far-reaching recruitment practices – especially when both Canada and the US have so many unemployed looking for work.
“The US has a 9% unemployment rate and I think that they could retrain these people that are unemployed and properly train them to be safe drivers,” he told Truck News.
“They could put people in their own country back in employment and work trucking into the peoples’ lifestyles.”
• Neil Vlatz, an owner/operator with Black Pearl Express in Straffordville, Ont., echoes Lynch’s sentiments, saying we should be looking for skilled workers in our own backyard.
“I think that there is enough job loss here and that there would be enough people here,” he said. “If you want to qualify anyone then get people from over here. I don’t think there’s any need to bring anyone else from anywhere else.”
• Tom Beggs, a driver with Ulch Transport in St. Mary’s, Ont., disagrees, saying the mass exodus of older drivers from the industry is going to require seeking out talent wherever carriers can find it.
“I don’t think that there are enough people around the rest of Canada that can fill the jobs for Canadian truck driving,” he says.
“There are so many people, especially in the truck driving business, that are coming up for retirement, and there are not enough people to fill those jobs. If they have to bring them out of another country to fill them, fine by me.”
• Martin Domingues, a driver with Mesilla Valley Transportation out of El Paso, Texas, says for those who are hard workers, they shouldn’t feel threatened by workers from overseas getting trucking jobs.
“I think that for the people that are lazy here and don’t want to work, it’s going to be harder for them to get a job, and that is why they are taking people from other places to get the jobs because obviously they don’t want to work and just (want to) collect government benefits. If you are a hard worker then you have nothing to worry about,” he says.
“Trucking isn’t a job for everyone; it’s a hard life, but it’s good pay.”
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