Tens of thousands of truck drivers are approaching retirement age, but few young people and immigrants are entering the industry. A new Conference Board of Canada report concludes that the gap between the supply of drivers and the demand for them – estimated at 25,000 by 2020 – could be costly to the Canadian economy.
A change in policy to recognize the truck driving occupation as a skilled trade could attract more domestic and immigrant entrants into the industry.
The trucking industry moves 90 per cent of all consumer products and food within Canada and 60 per cent of trade with the United States, Canada’s largest trading partner. It alone accounts for 33 per cent of real gross domestic product (GDP) in the transportation sector.
While truck drivers make up nearly 1.5 per cent of the Canadian labour force – approximately 300,000 truck drivers overall – it struggles to attract drivers to the for-hire industry. The for-hire industry is comprised of companies that provide truck transportation services to other companies. Drivers in the for-hire industry are often required to work long hours, over long distances, and with unpredictable schedules.