Industry to hold appreciation week for truckers

by Abdul Latheef

A group of retired truckers exchanging stories at a recent show in Clifford, Ont.

TORONTO, Ont. – Preparations are underway for the annual National Trucking Week, which gives the industry an opportunity to thank truckers who keep the country’s freight moving.

This year’s event will be held from Sept. 1 through Sept. 7.

During the appreciation week, the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA), major carriers and other stakeholders will organize a series of programs.

“Respecting drivers and acknowledging the hard work and commitment made by the hundreds of thousands of men and women who work in the industry is incredibly important,” said Marco Beghetto, vice-president of communications and new media at the alliance.

“They put up with a lot. Frankly, we should be celebrating them more than once a year.”

The alliance will launch an advertising campaign to mark the occasion, reminding all to respect the drivers for the hard work they do, Beghetto said.

With a 400,000-workforce, the trucking industry is the second-largest employer in Canada after the retail sector.

That is also an industry plagued by an acute driver shortage. CTA president Stephen Laskowski said in June that the sector will face a shortage of close to 50,000 drivers by 2024.

For the week, carriers are planning barbecues, truck washes, rodeos, breakfasts and special giveaways to employees.

“This is a big deal for us at Challenger and we enjoy celebrating all of our people who make it happen every day,” said Geoff Topping, vice-president, human resources at Challenger Motor Freight.

Challenger’s programs include a health fair for employees.

Pride Group Logistics and Canada Cartage will also hold appreciation events. Pride is even offering cash incentives to drivers.

“We at Pride Group believe in looking after truckers throughout the year, and go the extra mile during this weeklong celebration. This includes passing on special bonuses and other monetary and non-monetary benefits,” said Sulakhan (Sam) Johal, CEO and president of Pride Group.

He also appealed to the public “to always be patient on the roads and allow truckers to maneuver their trucks with ease.”

Canada Cartage has a number of events planned.

“These events are meant to bring the company together to celebrate a job well done and to recognize the employees for all of their hard work,” the company said on its website.

Elsewhere in the country, the Manitoba Trucking Association is organizing several events.

Celebrations will kick off on Aug. 28, well ahead of the official week, with an event at Winnipeg’s Shaw Park. On Sept. 4, the association will hold a Vehicle Maintenance Council Golf Tournament, with proceeds going to the MTA scholarship fund. And on Sept. 6, the MTA Truck Pull for United Way will be held in Winnipeg to raise funds for the charity.

“The National Trucking Week provides us with an opportunity to bring the community together with our industry,” said Don Stewart, senior business development manager at MTA.

“We can help worthy causes and help educate the public about our industry at the same time.”

The first National Trucking Week was held nearly 20 years ago.

In the U.S., the American Trucking Associations will hold a National Truck Driver Appreciation Week during Sept. 8-14.

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