Driver shortage dominates minister’s North Bay talks

by Truck News

NORTH BAY, Ont. – The province’s minister of economic development, job creation and trade has met with trucking industry leaders for talks on driver shortage and other key issues affecting the sector in northern Ontario.

Todd Smith, along with his parliamentary assistant MPP Donna Skelly, held talks in North Bay on Wednesday with a delegation from the Ontario Trucking Association and Manitoulin Transport.

Their agenda focused on Ontario’s budget announcement that the trucking industry will now have access to the Ontario Immigration Nominee Program through the In-Demand Skills Stream to ease the problem of driver shortage.

The industry has repeatedly voiced concern about the problem, but the situation remains bleak. Recent studies have forecast that the industry would face a shortage of up to 34,000 drivers by 2024.

“The shortage is being felt in all parts of Ontario, but here in the north it may be even more acute,” said Gord Grant, president of Grant’s Transport.

“Sectors like mining, forestry, wood products and agri-foods rely on trucking services to move their freight. If our industry does not have professional drivers, these northern industries will face some significant challenges in getting product to market.”

Winter highway maintenance in northern Ontario, the Driver Inc. model and methods to improve supply chain efficiencies were also discussed at the meeting.


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  • That’s one way to look at the situation, (calling it a driver shortage) but how about looking at it realistically; the offer to drivers isn’t attractive enough. Perhaps it’s the company’s poor reputation, the equipment, the contracts/lanes, office staff, etc. these could be working against you. Drivers talk, if a company isn’t favorable, the word spreads through the industry like cancer and you’re screwed.

    The real shortage is with desirable companies. Ones that really understand how to please drivers; the ones who do, aren’t the ones carrying on, sniveling and whining about some apparent driver shortage. Get it together, you can bring foreigners over here by the boat load, but if you don’t fix your underlying issue(s) you’ll never hang on to them and your business will be more of a driver importing firm than a trucking business.

    • Bring in the boat load and you could become that company whose driver ran over 27 cars Killing 4 people and be on every news network.
      Pay drivers what you pay your sales staff.

  • While I welcome with open arms the decision to allow professional truck drivers to come to Ontario through the PNP program. A good decision that should have happened in 2000 its 19 years behind in my opinion, but glad its happened now.
    Driver shortage has like global warming been warned about not for years but decades. Nothing much has been done to improve our trade and attract new drivers to our profession, Now its coming home to roost! O there has been plenty of Politian’s talking and lots of programs put in place that have done very little to make our trade attractive and encourage new drivers to it. What about MELT well lets look at that it had the potential to be a huge step forward and I was singing its praises until the details came out it in-fact dropped the training hours for new drivers from a minimum of 200 hours PCC course to 103.5 almost in half !that sent a clear message to potential new drivers this is not a trade or profession it is basic labour and any one can do it. Unemployed are pushed towards an AZ licence to fill seats ( they do not want to be drivers and are not the candidates we need) Start giving professional drivers the training and respect they deserve. Treat them like any other trained skilled professional pay them as such (by the hour for all hours worked) stop dumbing down our trade and the new drivers will come because they will be proud to be in a skilled valued trade. Ok rant over I,ll go take a chill pill. I am a 40 year truck driver and have little say in the future of my trade. Politian’s and CEO,S and trucking associations please show good leadership. ok ok I going for a coffee now.

  • Get it through your thick skills! Designate Professional Driver as skilled and raise compensation! No young person with a brain will take a job that keeps them away from home and pays little better than minimum wage.

  • Younger generation has no interest of working long hours away from home ,family and friends for what it pays. And think about the fines you have to pay to the DOT when you make a mistake . If you work at Best Buy and you make a mistake you get told and a slap on the hand . Make a mistake with a commercial license and it will coast you your hole weeks pay . Think about it

  • I drove trucks all over the world, Canada, USA, England, Australia and New Zealand and I found the fairest of all were in Australia where they treated you with respect and wages. Canada has never treated drivers with respect or money and I have worked here in trucking as a driver and owner-operator for close to 35 years before I retired and by the way I do not have a retirement from any trucking company just the government pension which is laughable!!!!

  • Hi-I am in agreement with William Paul and the others who voiced their opinions. 60 years in this Profession in most positions and literally “NOTHING HAS CHANGED” ? Immigration is not the viable avenue to follow,as skill level is minimal and commercial accidents become a major challenge on our highways. “TRADE CLASSIFICATION AND MONETARY GAIN EQUALL TO OTHER TRADES”. When will the Government and private sector realize this is the foundation of “driver shortage” My god the time has come !!!

  • Where’s the driver shortage? Just because you can’t hire help doesn’t mean there is a shortage…offer more money or better benefits than your competitors do. If I’m unable to buy a new diesel powered dually for $40K does that mean that there’s a diesel dually shortage…or are my demands (or what fleets are offering) unrealistic…Show me an MT shelf, show me a factory that can’t get parts, then and MAYBE then I’ll consider your mythical driver shortage.

  • The CEO’s couldn’t care less about the driver. The only thing they care about is a body in the seat and their truck going down the road. If drivers were so important to them they would pay them as such.

  • There is no truck driver shortage . It’s a myth . A figment of carrier association’s imagination which are ran by “carriers” . Take a look at who is on the board of directors at the OTA ……..

    That being said , they appear to be running out of people that they can deceive in this country . That’s why they need to attract them from another country and at younger ages .

    It’s the “carriers” that destroyed the industry . They blame drivers , but if you do your homework and dig a little you’ll see the “truth” and it’s not pretty . They’re a bunch of deceiving manipulators . Why do you think most major carriers have labour unions ?

    For those of you blaming another culture who do things differently , ask yourselves who lobbied government for an increase in immigration due to a supposed “driver shortage” ?

    BINGO ! Major carriers royally shot themselves in the foot , BIG TIME ! Not only did these “citizens” from a different culture do things differently , they also became the Major carrier’s biggest competitors and took the industry by storm !

    And for those of you pointing the finger at “immigrants” , look at our own kind . Do you think that those four wheelers from here know how to drive ? The majority don’t ! Our public roads are like the wild west ! And those driving four wheeler and 2 wheeler vehicles are our politicians, doctors, administrators at major carriers, and even our parents and family members !

    The lack of knowledge ,intelligence, consideration , ethics, and courtesy on our roads hasn’t just happened over night due to immigrants ! However, you’re noticing it a little more due to a growth in population . And who do you think regulated our driving schools ? GOVERNMENT !

    Government is incompetent ! They deceive us and tax the crap out of us , PERIOD ! And we turn around and ask them for a solution to a problem that they themselves have caused us ???

    The question we should be asking ourselves is : If we want things to change , really to change , then WE must change our ways of doing things . The definition of insanity is to keep on doing the same thing while expecting a different result .

    Don’t believe what I say . Study history and then ask yourselves why do we appear to be repeating it ………..

    In my humble opinion …….

  • Continued from above :

    “Also, “even though safety regulations may be suspended, drivers and carriers are expected to use good judgment and not operate vehicles with fatigued or ill drivers, or under any conditions presenting a clear hazard to other motorists using the highways,” the emergency order states.”

    If “drivers” are “expected” to use good judgement in the operation of their vehicle , then why even create the HOS regulation in the first place ??? Are they suggesting that in an emergency circumstance that all of a sudden CMV drivers can be trusted to use good judgement in their operations , but in other circumstances not ?

    LOL at these FMSCA clowns !

    So case in point: Suspending the HOS regulation in the case of an”emergency” contradicts the reason for which the HOS regulation was created since they “expect” drivers to use good judgement. Therefore clearly the HOS regulation wasn’t created to increase “safety” ! The HOS regulation was created for “another” purpose ! Just as imposing a speed limiter on a CMV isn’t for safety reasons as they’re manipulating the public to believe , but rather for competitive reasons while carriers want to save on fuel consumption ! Public deception at it’s finest !

    In my humble opinion …….