Canadian truck driver vacancies surge to record levels: Report

Trucking HR Canada is reporting a “staggering” vacancy rate among Canadian truck drivers, with 22,990 vacant driving jobs in the third quarter of 2021.

The numbers represent a 20% surge in job openings over the second quarter of the year. And it’s the highest point since Statistics Canada began tracking job vacancies in 2015.

trucks on highway
(Photo: istock)

“These driver vacancies are unquestionably a cause for concern,” Trucking HR Canada CEO Angela Splinter said, referring to Special Report: Vacancies in Trucking and Logistics. “Economic recovery in Canada is dependent on our industry having a strong workforce. It is clear that the trucking and logistics sector needs more support and programming to tackle the driver shortage.”

To compound matters, 44.3% of the unfilled driving jobs remained vacant for more than 90 days in the third quarter, compared to 34.5% in the second quarter.

“Truck drivers are increasingly difficult to recruit,” the report observes, noting that only 12.2% of the open jobs are filled in less than 15 days, compared to 20.8% in the previous quarter.

“This indicates the increasing challenges faced by employers in finding suitable job candidates, as across Canada only 32% of all job openings have been vacant for more than 90 days.”

Among the driver vacancies, 94.3% were full-time positions compared to 73.8% in other economic sectors, and 91.3% of the driving jobs were permanent rather than seasonal.

A vacancy rate of 8% in truck transportation lags only the 12.9% rate in the accommodation and food services sector, where many businesses have seen public health measures open and close their doors. Vacancy rates across all economic sectors averaged 5.4%.

Ontario accounts for 6,080 (26.4%) of all truck driver vacancies, followed by British Columbia at 4,280, and Alberta at 3,925.

Several trucking industry groups have also raised concerns that unvaccinated cross-border truck drivers will leave their jobs when a vaccine mandate is applied as of Jan. 15. The Canadian Trucking Alliance estimates that as many as 12,000 to 16,000 truck drivers will leave cross-border trucking based on current vaccination rates.

Senior government officials have confirmed to that there are no plans to change the enforcement date for Canada’s vaccine mandate.

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  • Expecting a driver who has had at least 10hrs off every day to do a 36hr reset away from home for no pay is the biggest issue, that and unpaid free time. Also companies who have cameras facing inside the cab is another issues most drivers hate. Glad im under provincial hours of service.

  • I see record numbers of sick truck drivers homeless and sick in ont. Last night a number of radio stations ran a information piece about sick truck drivers across Canada . No one stepped to support these sick drivers. So record # are quitting because of sickness or other jobs. Pay needs to come up and with e logs coming hourly pay needs to be close to $30/ hr plus overtime. A large numbers of trucking companies thought e logs would force drivers and owners ops with insurance issues to work for them most of these owners ops are just leaving trucking in ont. Every day I see more. And more sick drivers in the shelter system.

  • yes I left the industry, working to full time jobs 70 to 80 hours a week for less than min wage. you pay peanuts and get monkeys. all you are is meat for the seat and companies treat you like garbage, dispatchers always lying to you, along with shippers and receivers, sitting in docks unpaid for 20 plus hours a week, dot and cops and scale cops always after your money and harass you daily, no parking, no rest areas for bathroom breaks, its a pay and working conditions problem. Unpaid resets on the road, away for weeks at a time, not enough home time to rest, expect you to work 16plus hours a day. If a company is federally regulated here in Canada they must pay you overtime after 60 hours a week its the law but they pretend they don’t know but yes its the law here in Canada.
    This is why they hire unskilled, uneducated, untrained, window lickers, yes meat for the seat, that’s all you are.
    It’s profit over people. companies don’t give a rats ass about you. this is the must unhealthy industry you can be in.

    • Joe you are right and saying it like it is it take some courage I agree with you and being a long haul truck driver is hard on the family first kids and wife also to you or me for examples this unfortunate virus plus variant ant shots to the arm will take it’s toll and if the trucking business go to a halt I am sure our puppet at the government will get their butt kicked.

  • It a propaganda which trucking companies are creating always. Nobody wants to pay a fare share to truckers and always saying there is shortage. There is no shortage but we need a system like USA where people are free to pick there loads Directly . Company drivers and owner operator system here in Canada is trash .

  • As a long haul cross border driver for more then 12 years now, accident and tick free , I’m 37 years old and have three children and a my wife stays home with the kids,i will not be able to cross the border as of January 15 and may also be not able to keep enough hours trying to find work on Canadian side, our small company of 7 drivers will close Our US side of Business and pray we can find enough work to stay Alive, it’s extremely disappointing after helping Canadians and Americans get through the Pandemic, we are now thrown to the curb like trash, some mornings I wake up I think I’m in a communist country. Not sure how bad things might get but will loose everything before I’m forced with an injection that I do not approve of in any way, and I know I’m not alone on this as the media tries very hard to portray , I go above and beyond in the best health choices foe my body as I always have and will continue to do, hope these mandates will not happen but prepared for if they do, my Father and brothers our all in the same boat, but will stand up for our freedoms and rights, thanks and God bless!!


  • Interesting to see that Trucking HR Canada CEO Angela Splinter continues to use the word “recruit”.
    That’s a term used by the military establishment worldwide. I understand that those executives are so used to using the word “recruit” after decades of use, but my advice to new pro truckers is to avoid any fleet that advertises for new recruits or who run ads that say “Call Recruiting”. Why? Because those are the outfits most likely to treat you just like a new recruit in the army. No thanks; I’d rather work for a company that has more respect for their drivers.

  • Where is the outcry because of the mandates 20-30000 drivers in Canada alone lost. Why don’t these companies Stan United and protest the mandates with there drivers and owner ops. Because your too scared to lose your government funding and you don’t respect drivers. Deal with it then when no one wants to work for you. Your only crying cause your profit margins shrink..gonna shrink a whole lot more when the protests grow and grow as we are seeing all over Canada and around the world. Respect your drivers and stand in unity against mandates.