APTA says Atlantic Canada needs temporary foreign truckers

Avatar photo

DIEPPE, N.B. – The inability to hire temporary foreign workers will result in trucks being parked across Atlantic Canada.

By altering the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and making it both more expensive and more difficult to import labour, the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association (APTA) believes the federal government is crippling the trucking industry.

The association says under the new, stricter rules, “carriers won’t be able to move the goods; they will literally have to park trucks and refuse contracts.”

In particular, the APTA singles out the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) fee—which is increasing from $275 to $1,000 for every temporary foreign worker position requested by an employer—as being particularly harmful to trucking companies. It also feels the requirements for employers to provide more detailed Labour Market Information and the shorter duration of work permits will make it harder to trucking companies in Atlantic Canada to acquire and retain the employees they need in order to function.

“Our members are extremely concerned about this situation. The program worked well for our industry and now they have no idea where and how they will find drivers to move the goods of their customers. Every company hauling commercial goods today is looking for drivers; it is a well-documented fact that the industry has a shortage of drivers. This has just amplified the situation and it will change the landscape of our industry in Atlantic Canada,” said APTA executive director Jean-Marc Picard.

“The Conference Board of Canada released a document in 2013 highlighting the driver shortage that we are facing today as well as what to expect in 2020. Up to 33,000 drivers will be needed for our industry by 2020 and you can certainly review that number now because of the Temporary Foreign Program being almost inaccessible.”

According to Picard, Atlantic Canadian trucking companies don’t want to rely on imported labour, but businesses have no choice but to look outside the country for drivers.

“The trucking industry would prefer hiring qualified Canadians as truck drivers; it is not in any trucking company’s business plan to grow their businesses using TFWs. It is expensive and lots of barriers exist, so companies that use the program only do so when they have exhausted their ability to attract qualified Canadians.”

“Efforts are being taken across Canada to attract drivers. In Atlantic Canada, we are constantly promoting the industry, removing barriers, making funding accessible etc., but also the truck driver occupation needs to be recognized as a skilled trade. We are at a critical point in time for our industry because the average age of drivers is increasing every year.”

Although its focus isn’t on drivers but on the executive-level, the Trucking Human Resources Sector Council Atlantic is operating one program that is receiving some attention and funding.

Kellie Leitch, the federal minister of labour and minister of status of women, recently announced financial support for four projects designed to support women in Atlantic Canada. This includes $242,721 for a three-year project with the goal of increasing the recruitment and advancement of women in leadership positions in the region’s trucking industry.

Avatar photo

Truck News is Canada's leading trucking newspaper - news and information for trucking companies, owner/operators, truck drivers and logistics professionals working in the Canadian trucking industry.

Have your say

This is a moderated forum. Comments will no longer be published unless they are accompanied by a first and last name and a verifiable email address. (Today's Trucking will not publish or share the email address.) Profane language and content deemed to be libelous, racist, or threatening in nature will not be published under any circumstances.


  • the gov. should allow 2 work permits per company per year at $500 each if they live in the owner home or have their home with a bedroom and own kitchen and one bathroom per 2 workers. the gov. $2,500 for each work permit to encourage companies to hire worker here first. the companies in the maritimes should not be able to hire anymore foreign drivers until they pay their drivers $22.00 per hour plus over time after 44 hours per week plus $25.00 per day meal allowance when on the road.

  • Maybe if you took those monies you pay the government and put them toward driver pay maybe you would attract more drivers. I find it difficult to believe that, with the high rate of unemployment in the maritimes, you cannot find capable people that you can train.

  • Money attracts drivers….period. If trucking companies make it attractive drivers will come. No decent driver wants to spend time away from home at starvation wages when you can find easier jobs right at home for more money. End of story…

  • Thses comments above do have some merit to them. Look within Atlantic Canada your resources are there.we know its all about the dollar.

  • not suprised to hear that the McCain’s and the Irving’s would rather pay cheap wages to foreign workers that to pay a decent pay to a Canadian. . .

  • Cut welfare back and pay a decent rate you would be surprised how many drivers you could get. Getting public to reallise that they don’t own the roads and to treat the drivers like human beings would help as well

  • Do you know how many people out here in the west have left their families back out East because these exact same companies can’t provide a decent living wage for a family to live on? Its these companies that tear families apart. Most of these guys wish they could be at home instead of thousands of kilometers away from their kids! These companies give them no options – you cant tell me that hiring foreign labour is their only option.

  • So when recent truck school graduates go to these companies and apply they are told that they are “not qualified” drivers.
    No shortage of applicants.
    These companies only want “qualified” drivers with over two years experience so they can pay lower insurance rates and expect the government of Canada to subsidize their massive inefficiencies.
    So they cry to the Federal Government and based on their own self reporting claim that there are no “qualified drivers” anyway.
    Recent trucking school graduates (of which there is NO SHORTAGE) are told to hit the road … no pun intended.
    It looks like the free ride (no pun intended again) for some of these companies is hopefully coming to an end if Jason Kenney is on the ball with this?
    You hire recent Canadian trucking school graduates FIRST and train them FIRST before you fraudulently claim you can not find drivers.
    This truck driver shortage is a MYTH!

    • I agree completely.
      I had 30 company’s tell me no.
      I was 36 graduated from a respected company had an internship.
      They told me they didnt have “seats”available when i graduated
      Then evry company i called or email said i wasnt qualified. I had a class 4 before that for taxi Limo and was a driving instructor. I have clear criminal and drivers abstract but i still couldnt find someone to hire me. Or i got called had phone interview called in for meeting they saw me and then inwasnt called back or yold i wasnt being hired and good luck woth everything. I drove 1100km round trip to be told no,after i was under the inpression in was being sent on a trip.
      Being a black man in nova scotia seems hard to get a job .im not an immigrant i was born and raise here. My family is from north carolina so i dont get the treatment of minoritys here. How can i be good on paper then not qualified when the see me. The country doesnt need immigrant increases to fill jobs they need the trucking companies to be less discriminating. Now at 40 im on the hunt for another truck job and the first time it took me 3 years to find 1. Now im not sure how long it would take. Still all clear on records bit for some reason again no call backs especially after ive sent my passport and picture. Moral of this story is Trucking Companies crying for drivers my ass!
      Driving school graduates are qualified or they wouldnt be passed. A class 1 is a small business that should have the skys yhe limit on income. That is if you can get hired.

  • John is exactly correct. Lots of truck driving schools turning out class 1 drivers who then cannot get the two years experience required to get a job. A few companies do have good student training programs but these are all to few. Many of these middle aged students cannot start out on the dock like younger folks can, and need to be well trained by these trucking companies then will give 20 or more good productive years to the business.

    All companies in Canada need to start training future employees to fill the holes left by us boomers who have retired. Many companies looking for trades folks, but do not have a apprentice training program.

  • Companies were allowed to run the apprentiship programs, and the graduates they get now are useless, and the companies do not want to hire them, that is in most every field. Truck drivers are under paid, undervalued and abused, the companies made a lot of money paying drivers a very low wage, and wanting everyone that came in the door to have multiple years experience. They brought in on themselves and now they will want government handouts and exemptions. They worked hard to get the system they wanted and government helped them along, now that the system is broken and they might need to pay a living wage they wine, when they get to the squeeling stage and start cutting the senior managements wages then they might have learned a lesson.
    I vote no temp foreign workers. Period

  • It is about time that the government took a stance on the abuse of the TFWP. Too many imports only make things worse for those who have the experience, skill and knowledge and live in this country. I started in 1979 with my CDL and made a whopping $ 18.00 per/hour. Today some 35 years later I still make the same or if not all to often less per hour. The trucking industry has created its own crap pen and the can continue to wallow in it. The low wages and disrespect truck drivers get is deplorable. Its not the governments fault its us Canadian drivers that allow the trucking companies to run us over and over and over with their cooperate nonsense and greed to appease share holders alike. Hooray someone finally has the balls to put an end to ruining professional drivers livelihood and quality of life and pride, which by the way we don’t have because we are all very under paid and treated like the freight we haul. This stronghold on the TFWP is the best news I have heard in awhile. Maybe now the trucking companies will pay attention to the local CANADIAN, EXPERIENCED PROFESSIONAL DRIVERS………

  • TFWP is garbage………

    This country needs to take of it’s own, which it does not……

    Abolish the program permanently, education and training for actual citizens instead of creating job loss and homelessness……

    I’ve worked in one job or another since I was ‘ 5 ‘ yes 5…
    Stop sending all our tax dollars overseas and starting taking care of our own from coast to coast….. I’m in Ontario by the way……. TFWP hell………

    Both levels of government send money elsewhere, think and vote on that…..

    Other countries can pull themselves up by their own bootstraps…

  • Big companies love the tfw program and labour groups do not.nothing else needs to be said so hopefully publications like this one will realize that being puppets for the rich who don’t want to tackle the real problem(low trucker wages)only makes them lose credibility with the trucker,like me,out here on the road.

  • I have been trucking for 41 years accident free yet I have to go to the West to get a job that pays me what I need to survive. Like many people I know are in the same boat, no shortage of drivers in Atlantic Canada the shortage is in our pay, if you see the owner arriving to work every year in a new car or truck and ask about a raise and are told no money available it knocks the wind out of your sails especially knowing the good job you are doing, but management can not figure this out. So you quit and go west for more money and respect meanwhile the company you were with says shortage of drivers can the Government help, yes we will allow you so many drivers over the next year but you must pay the newbees the same as the experienced ones that just left your employment, but we will help you by paying a portion of the wages for training. A trucker has to be classed as a trade before anything will be done as far as wages go, because without us there is no trucking company.

  • Truck driving needs to paid like a trade (over $21.00 per hour) then we can talk about a shortage. Many large trucking companies have been cheating drivers and owner-ops. They just brought in more foreign drivers to cheat. I would give all trucking companies 2 work permits at $500.00 each one for driver trainer one for person to repair trucks. after that all permits would $5,000.00 each. no trucking company would get more than 10 permits in one year until the average driver was making $75,000.00 per year running legal

  • I’ve been saying this for approximately ten to fifteen years now. Not being prejudice in anyway, how can we justify getting the wage that we should be getting, by allowing foreign truck drivers in the Maritimes. APTA has displayed a lack of concern to all Maritime drivers and Owner Operators, with their statement in truck news. Until drivers learn to stand for themselves, and disallow being made to feel threatened by their employers, things will not change.

  • I have to agree with a lot of the comments posted. It seems as rules got tighter in hours of operation,companies ignored the rules more then ever, the cost of being on the road made it impossible to really make any money, and hours of operation are ignored, I think when a driver has rules to follow and the fines go directly to the driver when companies push the limit, it has left a I don’t care attitude by the firms themselves. I know customers are the key to any business and service is the key, but the promise to deliver great service is sometimes clouded by breaking rules, and drivers receive no respect what so ever by the companies themselves, a problem that has been going on since the start of time. Now a days if you don’t make 1,ooo,ooo.oo per years as a company driver it’s not worth the time to be out there and as an owner/ operator it’s just a joke. Foreign workers will not Change any of that, the pressure needs to be on the companies that employee these drivers to get into reality, instead of the belief that rate is service. Cost of doing business is cost of doing business. Build better quality product and you will receive more money. And so on. It’s not rocket science.

  • Is it any wonder, Companies need drivers. The wages are so loww you are driving their freight for free with all the expenses on the road. FOOD. cell bills. etc. down time with no pay. Free pre trips, free fuelling, first 2hours or more sitting at the companies terminal No pay. first 24 hours or more sitting broke down in The U.S. no pay. 10 years exp. and you are offered .39cents a mile not a km. to start. you are told 5-7 days on the road and home that is BS. I have been kept on the road 19 days, told to cheat my logs, get moving without sleep, Then comes payday $400.00 less tax if your lucky enough to get your miles in before cut off, that is if you pay for the faxes, and the tolls in U.S. dollars until you get back. And if you take an advance while in the U.S. you are charged a commission. Atlantic Canada Needs drivers.

  • Companies will continue, to lie to any government, until someone in government sticks to the rules Jason Kenny set. When any company applies to bring in Foreign drivers the application fee should be a non refundable, $5000 dollars. to the agency. Then an audit should be done looking at every Canadian driver application with full reasons in writing why the Canadian driver is not hired first. The TFW should have to have a Canadian License, from an accredited driving school. Be told honestly what the company will expect Low wages, while the recruiters drive around at truck shows in Cadillac s to attempt to lure driver.s with lies into this industry. Families are broken up here in the maritime s because drivers have to go west to make a living, buy groceries, pay bills pay the light bills, go on and on. But the companies will continue to bring in TFW ,S as long as they do not have to pay our Canadian drivers by the hour, and still get experienced drivers for .35 cents a mile or less. Welcome to the Maritimes.

  • I was talking to the O.T.A. and they know that some truck drivers are living at the salvation army. this after they have not been paid what is owed to them. The O.T.A. does not seem to care that many truck drivers (or owner-ops after being shortchanged by their insurance company the load broker who they were signed on with. 5193578686.

  • Money is the main reason people from eastern Canada are coming to the west look at 34 per miles today in 2016 and west pay 45c per mile figure it out???
    Now getting foreigner German ,Brits,and of course east indian well the east indian will stay and be a slave at 34c or less per mile while the more qualified foreign driver will break his obligation and escape west to drive to the great US of A, for 38c per mile.
    Have seen it and it happen more than we think.

  • New drivers find it difficult to get into many of the Atlantic Canadian Trucking Companies. New female drivers that are just coming out of driving schools are finding it even worse getting into that first job. These companies would prefer to bring in drivers with experience from other countries than to put in the time for new drivers, especially female drivers. Subsidies from Skills Canada hasn’t helped to get these new drivers into these companies so perhaps increasing the cost of LMIA fees, even more, would help these companies take a second look at the talent they have in their own neighborhoods. I personally am sick of hearing these companies moan about lack of drivers when they have the drivers right around the corner, they just refuse to think out of the box. It all comes down to money, but if these companies continue to hire outside of Canada then they should pay per head and have that extra money go towards training for those Canadians that are not getting those jobs.