There’s a bit of problem with trucking in Guelph and Canada. Not just Canada, but across North America, the trucking industry has been dealing with a severe shortage of drivers over the past few years, with the issue coming to a head throughout 2018.
In response, the Ontario Trucking Association is looking to the provincial government to launch a program that will allow freight carriers to bring in immigrant workers to fill in the shortage of drivers the industry is facing.
OTA President and Canadian Trucking Alliance President Stephen Laskowski says that the issue with driver shortage became more acute in 2018 thanks to the fact that a lot of drivers are over the age of 55, with older demographics leading to more retirements, exacerbated by increasing demand. He adds that they are expecting the issue to escalate in 2019; they see it as a supply-chain perspective and we need to find a solution for the issue.
According to a 2016 study conducted by the Trucking Alliance of Canada, the industry will be facing a driver shortage of 34,000 drivers by the time 2024 rolls in. According to Laskowski, one company in Northern Ontario had 20 of its trucks sitting idle in 2018 because there was no one available to drive them.
While there are many options for narrowing the labor gap, Laskowski has opted to look at how Ontario handles immigration, and how that can help the trucking industry and other industries access to qualified workers overseas.
The CTA and OTA are hoping that the province launch a pilot project to attract qualified truck drivers via the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP), which is aimed at filling labor shortages in the province with skilled workers from overseas. Laskowski pointed to an initiative in 2017, which saw the prior provincial Liberal government launch an “In-Demand Skills Stream” to the OINP, which put focus on attracting workers to specific industries; in that instance, the construction and agriculture sectors.
Laskowski says that the pilot program would help the industry gain greater access to overseas labor. On top of that, it’ll also help them ensure that labor end up with the carriers that are actually investing into their companies.