CTA calls for new steps to ease driver shortage

OTTAWA, Ont. — The Canadian Trucking Alliance and other trade associations are calling for fresh federal efforts to address the problem of the driver shortage. The groups met Monday with Carla Qualtrough, the minister of employment, workforce development and disability inclusion, to discuss the issue. “CTA highlighted the need to develop plans to attract domestic and foreign workers to our industry, as well as addressing the need for federal investment in training programs in the trucking sector,” said Jonathan Blackham, CTA’s director of policy.

“Our members move the nation’s economy. As our labor crisis really starts to boil over, those in the Canadian supply chain will soon feel the fallout if it’s not addressed.” The trucking industry had the highest job vacancy rate among all Canadian industries, averaging 6.6% per cent in 2018, or more than double the Canadian average, according to a recent labor survey.

Vacancies for truck drivers have more than doubled since 2016 with 22,000 vacant positions in 2018. “This is not a projected shortage, this is an actual shortage of 22,000 workers,” said Blackham. Close to 7% of truck drivers are 65 or older, meaning people are retiring from the trucking sector faster than any other industry.

At  the same time, there is a declining share of new entrants, with only 9.5% of truck drivers in Canada younger than 30 years old, compared to 24% of the entire Canadian labor force.

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