Canada Looks Abroad to Help Ease Trucker Shortage
Canada’s trucking industry – which is short by thousands of truckers – could be boosted by the fact that the government will soon allow truckers from other countries to apply to work in the country through its Express Entry immigration programs.
The decision to open express entry to truckers is aimed at addressing labor shortages, said Michelle Carbert, spokesperson for Canada’s Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.
“As Canada continues to recover from the pandemic, employers are actively seeking to fill hundreds of thousands of job vacancies across all sectors of the country,” Carbert told FreightWaves. “In November 2022, a number of new occupations will become eligible for immigration programs run by the Express Entry system – including transport truck drivers, bus drivers, subway operators and other transit operators. public transport.”
The decision to open Express Entry programs to truckers follows discussions between the Canadian Trucking Alliance and Canadian Immigration Minister Sean Fraser, said Jonathan Blackham, director of public policy and public affairs. of the CTA.
“There is a great need for professional drivers in the industry over the next couple of years,” Blackham said. “Right now we have approximately 26,000 vacancies in the trucking industry. We estimate the supply gap could be around 50,000 jobs by 2024.”
The CTA said the job vacancy rate in the trucking industry is around 8%, compared to a rate of 5.4% for general employment.
“The trucking industry has an economic multiplier effect and reach into other industries far beyond what many jobs have there,” Blackham said. “We’ve always tried to make the point that investing in the trucking industry isn’t just an investment in this industry, it’s an investment in all of the industries that depend on the services that need these trucks to get everything commercial inputs and raw materials, or their end products to market. Virtually everything has traveled in a truck at some point.”
Express Entry is Canada’s flagship application management system for those seeking to immigrate, Carbert said. The program is an online system used to manage worker immigration applications and is designed for skilled immigrants who wish to settle in Canada permanently.
Carbert said that if applicants meet the minimum entry criteria for at least one of the programs run by Express Entry – Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Worker Program and Federal Skilled Trades Programs – they will be able to submit their profiles and be filed under Express Entry. pool based on its Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS).
Applicants can also apply through Express Entry for the Provincial Nominee Program, Carbert said. If nominated, candidates will receive additional points on their CRS scores and may be invited to apply early.
“To be invited to apply, candidates in the Express Entry pool will need to score above the minimum score for a given round of invitations,” Carbert said.
Blackham said candidates who pass Express Entry programs are generally skilled workers who meet a need in Canada.
“Express Entry is seen as a kind of creme de la culture immigration program that is really designed for people who want to come here in high-demand occupations and get licensed and have a career in the trucking industry or in any industry they apply,” Blackham said.
Express Entry for foreign truckers who want to immigrate to Canada is just one of the tools the CTA will use to fill the trucker jobs gap, Blackham said.
CTA has also submitted other recommendations to the federal government to help the trucking industry meet supply chain requirements, including repayable funding grants to cover entry-level training costs; a wage subsidy program to support the integration/training of new entrants into the industry; establishing training tax credits for carriers; and the creation of a federal-provincial heavy truck rest area infrastructure program.
“In our minds, there is not a single thing that would solve the driver shortage,” Blackham said. “Immigration alone could never solve the problem for us. It’s really about looking at all the different ways we can help attract people to the industry and keep them in the industry.
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