CTA responds to proposed changes to the Temporary Foreign Workers Program

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TORONTO, Ont. – Announced recently, changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) have the trucking industry up in arms.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance spoke out against the proposed changes claiming truck driving is a skilled trade that shouldn’t be equated to burger flipping.

“In an industry as fragmented and diverse as trucking, it’s not surprising there are varying opinions on the TFWP,” said CTA president David Bradley. “Obviously, those companies that utilize the program in order to fill truck driver vacancies will be impacted, whereas those who do not are less concerned.”

According to federal employment minister, Jason Kenney, the changes are to reduce the number of foreign workers in Canada to put a stop to abuses.

Bradley contents that whether a company uses the program or not, there is a very clear industry-wide consensus that truck driving should be labeled a skilled occupation. The fact that it isn’t considered so, is a key hurdle to addressing the issue of driver shortage, said the CTA.

“Even prior to the announced changes the program was considered by most to be too cumbersome and restrictive for anything other than a temporary, stop-gap measure to fill unseated trucks when a company is unable to fill those positions with qualified Canadians,” said Bradley who believes trucking companies who use the program don’t do so to expand their businesses.

“The TFWP is what it is,” he said. “It’s not an ideal program, nor is it a solution to the shortage of qualified truck drivers. But it’s all that is available to fill some seats on a temporary basisfor those who choose to use it.”

The CTA wants to work with the federal and provincial governments to fill the need for qualified Canadian drivers  or immigrant drivers who are on the path to becoming Canadian citizens.

“On the one hand, the government wants the TFWP to be a last resort or perhaps disappear altogether,” said Bradley. “On the other, because truck drivers are lumped in with unskilled, low wage jobs like burger flippers, younger or displaced Canadians are unable to access programs like the Canada Jobs Grant, which would help them with the costs of the training they need before obtaining a commercial licence and becoming employable.”

“This is a real disincentive for people who might otherwise consider a truck driving career,” he added.

The issue of one of the TFWP changes that is of most concern to the CTA is the move from categorizing occupations that are skilled or non-skilled by looking at what the wage in comparison to the median wage in a province.

“It’s not a homogeneous occupation,” said Bradley. “The wages and the demands of the job for local pick-up and delivery drivers, for example, cannot be compared to those of long distance over-the-highway drivers, where wages tend to be higher and the shortage is felt most acutely.”

Bradley added that the CTA and the rest of the transportation industry does not presume or expect that any level government will solve the driver shortage issue.

“However, governments do have an important role to play – they determine which occupations are eligible for shared training funds; which qualify for immigration; and they set licensing standards and oversee the training institutions,” he said.

“We must continue to work together. Trucks move 90% of all consumer products and foodstuffs in the country so it’s essential the industry has a sufficient supply of qualified drivers.”

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  • I am thinking, this is one of the main reasons our wages haven’t increased for over ten years now ( long-haul truck driving positions are being filled with low-cost foreign workers ).

    • That is 100% correct Kevin.
      Wages are being kept artificially LOW because of the TFW program in the trucking industry.

  • Question should the foreign workers program be placed on hold. The reason why I’m asking is look at all the resouces we have in our own country.

  • It’s time for Canadians to have a shot at work, whether it is burger flipping or the “skilled” truck driving. Increase wages, give benefits and for sure you will find employees.

  • STOP GIVING OUR CANADIAN jobs away! We need drivers to go through a apprenticeship. Proper pay for hours of service.There is sufficient drivers in Canada. They have retracted there service due poor wages and working conditions! A lot of it boils down to corporate greed and mismanagement. Quit treating the drivers as a commodity. Get them better wages. More family and recreational time. Mandatory time away from the job and truck. Turn it back into a respectable trade that people can be proud to work in. Bring back tranport regulations for the industry.

  • Companies must spend the dollars to set up training programs and complete the training of all these would be drivers who are now spending there time and effort to get a class 1 licence from these truck driving schools. These men and women want to join the industry, but find after investing good time and money into getting there licence that no one will hire them.

  • This should happen 10 years ago no company should able to hire more foreign driver than the owner of the trucking company would put in his own home eating the same food as the owner with free internet and sat tv as the owner has. The owner should take lees out the trucking company for himself in year than he pays one of foreign drivers other wise the trucking company should be shut down

    • Trucking wages are 30% lower in real spending power than in 1981. Many O.T.A. members have done every thing in their power to push out part time farmers part time truckers that only haul freight when the rates were right. No O.T.A. member should able to bring in any overseas drivers for 5 years. The fed dept of labour needs to examine the payment wages and owner-ops of every O.T.A. member.

    • In 1979 i made $8.00 per hour driving a truck plus over time after 44 hours per week . I had second job working as a part time fireman on weekends at $7.00 per hour for the city. In 1990 i gave truck driving for a full time fieman job at $18.50 per hour the truck drivers were making $14.70 per hour. I just retired from firemans job at over $40.00 per hour with $2,300 per month pension. A truck driver doing the same job today would lucky to make $20.00 per hour while a part time fireman would app. $29.00 per hour. The Large trucking companies have not increased driver pay at the same rates as the other trade or police or firemen

  • I love the way the TFW is blamed. There is a company in Regina offering $80k year for driving but Canadians don’t want the job because early start times and running to a schedule. I’m on target to earn just under $80k this year, I work away all week home at weekends BUT It’s hard to get a Canadian in the driving seat forcing the company to look for experienced drivers elsewhere. Do YOU want to live in a truck for a couple of weeks driving for upto 13 hours every day??? Speaking to loved ones over the phone? Missing birthdays? Wedding anniversary? And the kids growing up? I don’t think people realize what the job actually entails. Yea I’m a TFW working towards my citizenship but I don’t come cheap I still have a house a car and bills to pay like you. Yes some companies abuse the system but don’t paint us all with the same brush.

  • Hi
    I did not hear any noise from the CTA when the knew of the whole scale abuse of the TFW programme as far as my experience of working there that the majority of the companies abuse there TFW workers

  • Why in the world are transportation companies being allowed to import low-skilled foreign workers? If the bottom-feeding common carriers started paying decent wages, provide benefits and paid drivers for all their labour then we wouldn’t have a driver “shortage”. Look at the mess the transport industry is in here in Ontario and its too late to fix it here.

  • And how many of these trucking companies that employ TFW routinely and knowingly break the law by not paying drivers overtime as per the Federal labour code. .

    Funny how you never hear David Bradley or the VA address that issue eh….

    There’s no driver shortage. Never has been. All there is is an abundance of greedy lying thieves posing as trucking companies that don’t want to pay drivers a proper wage.

  • The C.T.A. needs to set driver pay rates that encourage truck drivers that are doing other jobs back in a truck. Most other jobs pay better than driving truck today. No trucking company should able to drivers in unless the foreign truck driver makes either $24.00 per hour with overtime or the owner of the trucking company puts the drivers up in his own house and take out less to live on than the foreign driver wold working 2,500 hours off a e-log.

  • There are truck drivers doing other jobs than trucking today. I own several trucks i can tell you that many shippers do not want to pay for every hour the truck is working making it very hard to pay the drivers a fair wage. Trucking rates need to go up and all drivers need to paid off of the E-log if the company has 10 or more employees. no company should able to bring more than 3 overseas drivers in until, the trucking company set up a program to train new drivers to the industry and the insurance industry allows all trucking companies to hire and train new drivers at a insurance premium of no more $1,200 per truck per month even if the goverment needs to take over truck insurance like MB does.

  • Mr. Bradley doesn’t represent Canadian drivers from across this country. Mark Perkin absolutely nailed it with his comments above. These trucking companies are lying, cheating corrupt corporations. Trucking’s “dirty little secrets” are only now starting to boil to the surface allowing the average joe on the street to fully understand just how much truck drivers are unjustly over worked and under paid. These companies need to STEP UP and play by the rules. They’re not paying over time as required under schedule three of the Federal labour code. If you’re an executive of a trucking company, you had better pay attention. THE WINDS OF CHANGE ARE BLOWING.

  • Hi All
    Im a tfw truck mech and i have seen the abuse to both tfw and canadian truckers.I think in general it all began with the companies not making these careers [ driver/ mech] attractive enough to canadians to want to do them so they obtain tfw,s who once they arrive are tied into that company by their work permits.This allows the company to continue their abuse as the tfw cannot leave the company without major paperwork [new permits etc].We all know times are lean but the authorities need to look into these abuses and this will not only get more canadians back into these fields [therefore less need for tfw] but also give more protection to the tfw already in place.If we keep on blaming each other [canadians blaming tfw and vice versa] only the companies will win by being able to continue their abuses. Good luck to all out there

  • Well said Vincent many large companies are getting bigger on the backs of the truck drivers. Most drivers are upset the fed.gov does not force the trucking companies to pay hourly off the logbook or elog with overtime. No company should be able to pay any driver less than $21.00 per hour

  • Many trucking companies say there is a shortage of truck drivers but expect the truck driver to work for less money than other trades or police or firemen or nurses. In the last 30 years truck driving has went from above average wage to a below average job. Increase the wages pay for all hours worked and young people will drive truck. I trained 3 young people how to drive truck in the past 4 months (after they got their AZ). They are working in the GTA at other jobs that pay as much or more per hour. They can sleep in a bed most nights and do not have the high cost of living on the road. The 3 guys and one girl all said if the treatment was better at the docks and they were paid for all hours worked, that they would still driving a truck today.