As I write this, Canada just wrapped up National Trucking Week. Did you notice? I hope so. We received word of driver appreciation barbecues, driver events at the scales and saw some positive coverage about the trucking industry in the mainstream media.
But is one week enough to express our support and appreciation for Canada’s professional drivers? Not in my opinion. We should be thanking drivers every time we show up at the grocery store and find fresh produce on the shelves. Or every time we go to a restaurant for a night out with our families and choose from a broad menu of possible meals. Or every time we jump on Amazon and order the latest gadget.
I could go on. And I know, I’m preaching to the choir. But it bears repeating. All those everyday activities we enjoy and have come to take for granted – getting groceries, going out for dinner, buying stuff online – is only possible because of the men and women who literally drive this industry and keep the wheels of commerce moving. You, dear drivers, are the Sherpas of commerce.
These aren’t easy times for professional drivers. The costs of doing business in trucking have risen much faster than rates, which are stagnant at best. That said, I’m encouraged by some workplace trends I’ve been hearing about. And there are a couple of very good programs that have brought these programs to the forefront.
The Best Fleets to Drive For program, born in Canada out of the minds of Jane Jazrawy and Mark Murrell at CarriersEdge and advanced by the US-based Truckload Carriers Association, has highlighted the best practices of trucking companies for the better part of a decade now and continues to do so. The program was established not only to reward the fleets that provide the best workplace experiences for drivers, but also to raise awareness of those programs, effectively creating a blueprint others can follow to become a desirable, driver-focused company.
That program just opened the 2016 nomination process and is calling on drivers who like where they work to nominate their employer for consideration. You can find out more at www.BestFleetsToDriveFor.com.
Also, Trucking HR Canada’s Top Fleet Employers program has seen considerable growth during its short existence. It’s not a competition, but like the Best Fleets program, it aims to acknowledge trucking companies that provide excellent work environments for drivers. A record 39 fleets were recognized this year and Trucking HR Canada, on Oct. 12, will host its first-ever Top Fleet Employers Gala Dinner in Toronto. I hope to see some drivers invited to the event to share in the success of the companies they work for.
Both these programs have done what they set out to do. They’ve proven there are good companies to work for in the trucking industry. These businesses realize that driver appreciation is a year-round endeavor and not just something to celebrate one week out of the year. Let’s hope the positive trends identified by Best Fleets and Top Fleets continue
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies. All posts by James Menzies