OTTAWA, Ont. — Ontario has received approval to launch a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) which will help the trucking industry recruit qualified truck drivers from overseas.
The PNP allows the province to fast-track the immigration process for employees in fields where there is a skilled worker shortage. The pilot project is expected to be up and running within the next year. Most provinces including Alberta and Saskatchewan already have PNPs in place. Ontario is one of the final provinces to launch a PNP.
The feds and province are now working to develop the terms of a Temporary Foreign Worker agreement.
The announcement has been welcomed by the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA). The lobby group points out the trucking industry’s workforce is aging with more than 13 per cent of its drivers over the age of 55. Ontario needs 20,000 new truck drivers each year to keep pace with economic growth and the retirement of older drivers, the OTA says.
Despite the OTA’s support of the program, the group’s president David Bradley cautions “it is not a slam dunk process, carriers have to seek out qualified people and make certain commitments. The floodgates are not going to open.”
He adds “current drivers do not have to fear an influx of new drivers. The tight capacity that has been reflected in the market in recent years will continue going forward. A PNP would provide some potential relief for those carriers that wish to avail themselves of the opportunity.”
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