‘I like what I see every morning’
Agnico Eagle Mine
This is one in a series of interviews with frontline workers as Today’s Trucking celebrates National Trucking Week, Sept. 5-11.
What can you tell us about your job and the work it includes?
I am a longhaul truck driver at Agnico Eagle’s Meadowbank complex in Nunavut. I haul ore from Amaruq to Meadowbank and back. This is about an 80-km drive one way and takes about 2.5 hours.
A group of us drivers are based at Amaruq and a group is in Meadowbank. We do two trips a day, then switch halfway, hauling about 140,000 kg per trip during a 12-hour shift.
The light impacts us a lot. During summer it is light all day, which makes it easier for us to do night shifts since we are less tired. On the road we are climbing hills very slowly, and fatigue gets to you, but when it’s light outside you feel it less.
How did you come to work in the trucking industry?
I separated from my boyfriend in 2005. I thought getting out on the road would be a good opportunity. I obtained a Class 1 licence in 2006 and started working for a transport company in Quebec City.
In 2006 I met my current boyfriend. He’s from Témiscamingue, Que., and he’s here at Agnico Eagle Meadowbank with me. I started working at Agnico Eagle Meadowbank in September 2019.
We have a room for a couple. They try to keep us together, and we work together. Almost every morning we have trucks side by side. He’s in front and I’m behind. He switches and I can switch, so we can have dinner together nearly every night.
What do you like the most about your job?
I like what I see every morning. Instead of seeing walls, I see the road. Yesterday, I saw caribou and a muskox that was born a few days ago.
I see the sun and rainbows. It is special at midnight to see the sun at the same height as the horizon. It’s so beautiful. And at night in winter, I see the aurora borealis. It is constantly moving, always different.
Even when I wasn’t here in the North, on the road, I saw so many beautiful places. You have time to think about your things, you know what you’re doing, and that’s what I like the most.
What is the biggest challenge the trucking industry faces today?
The first challenge is the shortage of drivers.
I don’t know why this trade isn’t recognized professionally. Companies hire people who don’t have the experience and we see a lot of accidents — this isn’t helping the trucking industry.
Why do you think the trucking industry should be celebrated?
Everything is transported by truck. We can’t live without them. You would not have anything on your table without trucking.
It is a sacrifice and they should be celebrated.
You don’t see your family for so long. I’ve been on the road for three months at a time. Truck drivers are helping others.
Have your say
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Hi. I’ve had my Class 1 since May 2021. I live in Ontario. It is impossible for a new driver to gain experience when every companies insurance company wants 3 years experience. I went through a government program (Second Career) and they don’t even have employeers or companies who will insure the new drivers. Makes no sense to me.
Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanknyou.
I hear ya. Even back in 1995 it was difficult to get a foot in the door.
In 2021 it makes me wonder why our government is bringing in foreign workers to drive trucks?