The Canadian Trucking Association has taken a look at trucking in Kitchener and across the country, and is continuing their petition for the creation of a trucking-focused immigration program for the country in order to deal with a shortage of truck drivers.
CTA President Stephen Laskowski spoke before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry late in February. Alongside petitions to ask for a immigration program for truckers, the CTA also asked for a crackdown on independent contractors, modernization of cross-border processing systems, as well as setting aside some revenue from the carbon tax to promote the acquisition of green vehicle technology.
According to the CTA, the misclassification of drivers in trucking in Kitchener and across Canada, under business operations that have become known as Driver Inc. costs the economy a lot of money in unpaid deductions, with the CTA claiming that number to be around $1 billion.
The proposed trucking-focused immigration program would let pre-qualified companies to bring in truck drivers from outside the country faster and more conveniently, not just for the companies, but also for the government.
According to the CTA, the Canadian trucking industry has been plagued all year by a shortage in driver shortage, which they say will hit a supply deficit of about 34,000 drivers by the time 2024 rolls in. In contrast, the CTA says that Canada only recruits 1,500 truck drivers via the Temporary Foreign Worker Program annually.
They say that this is a small number, representing less than 0.5% of Canada’s total truck driver population, which is exacerbated by the forecasts that say tens of thousands of drivers will be retiring over the course of the next ten years. They say that this issue is a crisis, and can spill out to the whole Canadian economy if allowed to escalate.
On top of those proposals, the CTA is also asking for Employment and Social Development Canada to examine the current funding model used by professions like truck drivers, to allow smaller trucking-related business can benefit from training dollars that other sectors have access to.
Other proposals from the submission by Laskowski asked for the prioritization of electronic logging, as well as the harmonization of border data systems in order to bring back in-transit shipments.