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What would you do for work if you could no longer be a trucker?

BOWMANVILLE, Ont. - It's tough times for the trucking industry, with high fuel prices, a faltering economy and increased operating costs threatening many trucker's livelihoods. Owner/operators are fee...






BOWMANVILLE, Ont. – It’s tough times for the trucking industry, with high fuel prices, a faltering economy and increased operating costs threatening many trucker’s livelihoods. Owner/operators are feeling an especially tight pinch on their wallets, causing many to consider leaving the industry altogether, or worse, being laid off outright by their employers. (For a story on the plight of unemployed O/Os see pg. 48).

For many, being a trucker has been a lifelong occupation and the prospect of moving into another field is daunting. But do drivers have a contingency plan if they find themselves pushed out of trucking? Truck News went to the Fifth Wheel Truck Stop in Bowmanville, Ont. to find out if drivers have plans for life after trucking.

Leonard Ouellet, a driver with Laidlaw in Quebec, says he would do anything in his power to stay behind the wheel. “I’ve been driving a truck for 42 years and I still love it,” he says. “I’ve never done anything else but that all my life. I don’t think I would change. I like what I do. I like to be alone. I’m my own boss, that’s my own truck.”

If push came to shove, Ouellet says he would still try to find work doing something on the road, as he still gets a charge out of the beautiful scenery he sees every day on the job.

Mario Canuel, a driver with Brasseur Transport in La Prairie, Que., agrees with Ouellet, saying the transition to another type of job would be difficult.

“I really don’t know what I would do. It’s all I’ve known all my life,” said Canuel, a driver for 31 years. Though Canuel found work as a dispatcher for seven years, he likely wouldn’t entertain it as an option and would rather continue truck driving for as long as he possibly can.

Tony Fareh, a Montreal-based owner/operator, is relatively new to the industry, having just gotten behind the wheel two years ago. If finances made it impossible to continue, Fareh says he would likely go back to his former occupation as the owner of a body shop.

Stephen Charette, a driver with WJD in Stoney Creek, Ont., has already tried to take a break from trucking, but wasn’t able to stay away.

“I did try to be a store manager for five years, but I came back to trucking,” said the driver of 18 years. However, Charette says the hassle of dealing with employees and managing a business drove him back to trucking. Like many drivers Truck News spoke with, Charette didn’t have much in terms of a back-up plan.

One driver who seemed to have an unending list of back-up plans was Craig Hallman, a trucker who hauls sensitive equipment for high-profile clients out of Ayr, Ont. “I would be a geological systems engineer, that’s a passion of mine,” Hallman said first.

But if science fell through, rock star wasn’t trailing far behind, followed by international business trade, adding that he could sit at a computer all day and trade. With the future of many truckers and trucking companies at risk, it’s nice to know that some drivers still dare to dream beyond the driver’s seat.


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