The federal government will fund the training and onboarding of up to 2,600 new truck drivers and other trucking industry workers under Trucking HR Canada’s Career ExpressWay Program.
Up to $20,000 will be available to cover the costs of preparing a new truck driver – with up to half of that available for entry-level training, and up to $10,000 to help cover the costs of further onboarding, mentoring, and finishing programs. Wage incentives are also available for new hires in other in-demand positions.
Some of the funds will also be directed to underrepresented groups such as young people and women.
“The bulk of this is about economic recovery. It’s about getting Canadians to work,” said Trucking HR Canada CEO Angela Splinter, referring to the $43 million in funding through the federal Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program. “It’s a good number of people for sure.”
“Without truckers, groceries wouldn’t make it to the shelves of our local supermarkets and builders wouldn’t get the supplies they need. We’re investing in Trucking HR to make sure the industry can support truckers and the workers who help them by equipping them with the training and skills they need to meet the demand we know is there,” Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Carla Qualtrough said in a press release.
How fleets get training funds
Interested fleets register an expression of interest through the program’s website, and commit to submitting pay stubs that show source deductions. The latter requirement would exclude employers involved in the so-called Driver Inc. model that misclassifies employees as independent contractors.
Fleets will also need to confirm certain policies are in place and commit to safe work environments.
The funding agreement was first signed Oct. 24, although the program is only now being formally announced. There are 209 registered fleets so far, and initial funding has been provided for 115 new truck drivers and 200 wage subsidies overall.
“We’re working to ensure that we have regional representation. We also want this to be as attainable to a small fleet as it is to a large fleet,” Splinter said.
Entry-level driver training standards
Trucking HR Canada will be responsible for ensuring that driver training aligns with its national occupational standard and federal mandatory entry-level training requirements, building on steps that were followed with an earlier Youth Employment Skills Strategy.
The organization has been working with a coalition of groups including the Canadian Trucking Alliance, provincial trucking associations, Private Motor Truck Council of Canada, Insurance Bureau of Canada, Supply Chain Canada, and others to establish the program requirements.
Discussions are ongoing about opportunities to use the funds to “upscale” the skills of existing drivers, Splinter added.
Another $3 million in funding has been provided to help Trucking HR Canada update a national occupational standard for entry-level and occupational-level truck drivers, and use Census data to update labor market information data.
That occupational standard, Splinter adds, will help address the gap between entry-level training and road-worthy employees.
Some of the training and an onboarding funds will be allocated for a related pilot project this summer.
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