CTA applauds permanent residency path, wants employers certified

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The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) is applauding a new pathway to permanent residency for truck drivers already working under Canada’s Temporary Foreign Workers Program.

And it’s proposing a “certified employer” program that would ensure fleets respect safety and employment standards before hiring future arrivals.

Canada Parliament Buildings
(Photo: istock)

“We want to ensure these new entrants seeking employment in our country are not taken advantage of and enjoy the rights and privileges of all Canadian citizens so they and their families can flourish in our economy and society,” said CTA president Stephen Laskowski.

Based on 2016 Census data, the Conference Board of Canada estimates that an annual average of 1,516 non-permanent residents worked as truck drivers between 2015 and 2018, Trucking HR Canada says, citing its Labor Market Information. This total includes those working under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and others who hold non-resident work permits.

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program changes were announced in April by Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Minister Marco E.L. Mendicino.

Close to 90,000 temporary foreign workers and graduated international students are expected to be eligible for permanent residency under the initiative. About one-third of the total includes essential workers in occupations other than healthcare – including transport truck drivers, and delivery and courier service drivers.

Eligible workers looking for a permanent residency path need to have at least one year of work experience in the last three years.

“These new policies will help those with a temporary status to plan their future in Canada, play a key role in our economic recovery and help us build back better. Our message to them is simple: your status may be temporary, but your contributions are lasting—and we want you to stay,” Mendicino said. 

The Driver Shortage

The CTA noted that the pathway could help to bolster the pool of available truck drivers, and said it would like to see the policy expanded to include future truck drivers coming through the program.

“The trucking industry is exploring ways to attract current and future Canadians to our sector, but it’s clear we need more support,” Laskowski said. “Trucks across Canada are parked, not because there is not product to move, but because trucking companies cannot find drivers to operate their vehicles. This hurts our industry and our economy. 

“We will be working with the Government of Canada to make this policy change a permanent part of the TFW program, which would make the TFW program considerably more attractive to the industry as a way to address the driver shortage in Canada.” 

Trucking HR Canada calculates that there are 20,000 vacant truck driver positions in the country, and 61% of fleets say they can’t find enough drivers. The Conference Board of Canada notes that 30% of Canada’s demographic growth will be through immigration this decade, and that all labor force growth will be linked to immigration over the next five years.

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John G. Smith is Newcom Media's vice-president - editorial, and the editorial director of its trucking publications -- including Today's Trucking, trucknews.com, and Transport Routier. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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  • Anyone bringing foreign workers should have supply housing for the first 3 years for them for free and when their families get here plus pay them a hourly pay plus overtime and medical when in the U S. Otherwise this is just a way to pay sub par wages with the promise of a P R each company should also have to pay $10,000 per foreign worker to help pay for retraining someone already in Ontario.

  • @Stephen Webster …
    How does any of that make sense?
    Do you get free housing when you get a new job?
    Why should a truck driving TFW make more, and have more benefit, than an already employed citizen?
    Why should a company have to pay $10k to retrain someone else?
    If there were trained drivers available, or citizens willing to be trained, there would not be a TFW program in the first place would there?
    Did you give any thought at all to your diatribe, or did you just have a bad day at work yesterday?

    @Howie …
    Sounds like you’re a little bitter about your own situation. Has it occurred to you that there are plenty of companies that pay good wages to drivers, and that maybe, just maybe, you’re not actually worth what you think you’re worth? I mean it could be that there is a very good reason good paying companies won’t hire you.

    • I was injured in a truck accident 5 years ago
      Many truck drivers are staying in homeless shelters including myself. T F Ws are not needed in the trucking industry and a safety hazard sometimes. The reason is I have homeless for the last 8 years and have a enlarged kidney and a damaged liver
      If the trucking company has to bring in foreign truck drivers they should have a pay the cost of training. In 2005 a study done by the. Fed department of labour said that O T R truck drivers should make 1.9 times minimum wage for all hours worked.

  • Driver shortage is partially the result of the TFW program. Instead of raising wages to attract drivers companies simply import them. In a free market supply & demand dictates wages. Canada as the shortage and wages are less now than 20 years ago. In the USA Walmart driver’s average 85 to 100,000 in Canada it’s 45,000. And we wonder why no one wants to drive a truck

    • I agree truck driving is not that hard I have done it for 24 years. Many trucking companies hire T F Was instead of pay $25.00 to $30. Per hour on payroll plus medical. Many T F As end up on gov assistance or staying at a nonprofit in Ontario in the past 2 years.

  • Hi John-60 years in the industry from class1 driver, fleet manager-driver trainer etc. Professional drivers today lack training. The Saskatchewan accident should not have happened, immigrating drivers well trained is okay and preferably English speaking applicants. BC. commercial accident rate is the worst in 20 years, many driving without a license? Many deaths due to incompetent non Professional operators. Owner Operators slip through the cracks in our minimal training program! — Thanks – John Wihksen, Vancouver,BC.

  • The older drivers leaving the industry some with good driver records because at Age 65 or over if u get 3 demerits points u have to redo the complete drivers test include the road test so they just give it up

    • It is not just drivers over 65. Many of truck drivers have got hurt and did not proper medical care in Ontario in the last two years. Many trucking companies in Ontario would sooner hire foreign exchange students at $18.00 to $22.00 per hour on payroll than a experienced truck driver at $27.00 to $32.00 per hour. E logs have resulted in over 20 percent of the cross border truck drivers getting other jobs. With covid the homeless shelters can no longer house all the sick truck drivers. The C T A needs to put a truck driver and leased owner op on the board and work with nonprofit organizations like Huron easy share to protect sick truck drivers that are homeless.