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Road to ruin: Canada’s truck drivers are a dwindling resource

Road to ruin: Canada’s truck drivers are a dwindling resource

Old Aug 23rd 2013, 7:37 pm
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Default Road to ruin: Canada’s truck drivers are a dwindling resource

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August 23, 2013
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Road to ruin: Canada’s truck drivers are a dwindling resource
By Annie Bergeron-Oliver | Apr 4, 2013 3:00 am IPOLITICS


The parking lot behind one of Ottawa’s trucking schools is packed with rows of trucks parked in perfectly parallel lines. These trucks are ready to hit the open road, but could rust while they wait: Canada is on the way to experiencing it’s worst driver shortage in history. Last month, Minister of State (Transport) Minister Steven Fletcher said the driver shortage could be a particular concern in the fast-growing Western provinces” and the economy.

If not addressed, driver shortages could become acute and a brake not just on your industry but on the wider economy,” Fletcher said in a speech to the Manitoba Trucking Association.

Ninety per cent of consumer goods are shipped by road, making the sight of empty trucks increasingly worrisome for industry professionals and owners. By the year 2020, the Conference Board of Canada estimates that the for-hire trucking industry will be short at least 25,000 drivers.

The supply gap is largely a result of an aging workforce deciding to permanently hand in their keys. Since the 1990s, the average age of truck drivers has increased by 4 years to 44. Although truckers routinely stay in the driver’s seat until age 70 or 80, mid-career drivers can hurt a company’s bottom line.

“If they are 38, they only have 30 years or something of driving years left in them,” said Vijay Gill, lead research for the Conference Board’s report. “Every 25-year-old replaces 1.5 of those older people, assuming they’ll stay in the industry.”

Industry experts like Brian Adams, Owner of Cross Roads Training Academy, agree saying most of their students are in the “second career training program”, a stream of people who have already had two or three careers.

After years of contract jobs as an electrician, followed by countless layoffs, Edgar Castro decided to enter the truck driving industry just like his father.

“I got tired of being laid off all the time, so I decided to switch careers and do something that will keep me busy,” said Castro

But in recent years, schools have also seen younger individuals — some straight out of high school — seriously consider the trucking industry as their first and only career. This is a major shift from two decades ago.

Some schools, like Cross Roads, have seen enrollment increase over the last few years. When the economy takes a downturn, as it did in 2008, the trucking industry soars.

“What industry can you get into after 6 weeks of training and get $50,000 to $55,000 your first year?” said Gary Paquette, a 35-year trucking veteran and teacher.
There are more jobs available than people to fill them now, meaning graduates of truck training schools are almost guaranteed a job, especially in the long-haul industry.

“The jobs are there, so why not go to where the job is instead of taking the chance on a job that may not still be there,” Paquette said.

In a report released in late February, the Conference Board said that 24 per cent of trucking firms reported a shortage of staff. As a result, companies are working aggressively to attract recruits, offering then more competitive benefit packages; flexible work schedules; and even allowing drivers to bring their families along for the trip.

Sometimes, drivers are away from home for three of four weeks at a time. The on the road lifestyle for long-haul truckers is becoming harder and harder to sell to new employees. With two young kids and a wife at home, Castro said long-haul trucking will be a struggle, but it’s something he has to do.

“It’s a sacrifice I have to do for at least a little while,” said Castro.
Retaining new drivers like Castro is a constant problem for the industry. Some industry professionals blame the Ontario’s ministry of transportation for low test standards – in Ontario drivers can take a test with no weight in their truck; provinces like B.C. require them to carry at least 40,000 pounds – while others suggest truck training schools are adequately preparing new drivers for the road. The fundamental problem facing the industry, Bradley said, is new recruits lack a full explanation of the downsides of the business.

If they knew what to expect, they would be less likely to jump ship.
“If they’re not prepared, it’s not the drivers fault, but the schools,” said former President of the Ontario Truck Association, David Bradley.

The province does not require truck training schools, although they do help new drivers get employed, especially by large companies. The six to twelve week courses teach individuals more than just how to drive, but how to use a logbook; adjust to life on the road; and how to manage their careers. Mandating new students attend training schools would help professionalize the industry and help retention, Adams said.

With only seven years until the Conference Board of Canada’s estimated supply gap reaches an all-time high, the for-hire industry must take a hard look at the progress they’ve made over the last decade and find ways to adapt to the changing times. Experts say they’d like to see higher wages for drivers, more training and coaching from companies and training schools.

There is a special problem for many immigrants to Canada, for whom trucking is a fallback career. The problem is compounded in the case of cross border driving, especially since September 11th, and increased concerns about international terrorism. Drivers from countries regarded as unfriendly to the United States, said trucking instructor and former driver Philippe Lapensee, can be held up for more than a full day at the border. According to Transport Canada, imports and Exports by truck represented nearly %60 of trade between the US and Canada in 2011.

http://www.ipolitics.ca/2013/04/04/r...ling-resource/
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Old Aug 28th 2013, 2:18 pm
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Default Re: Road to ruin: Canada’s truck drivers are a dwindling resource

Interesting article.I heard it there would be a shortage of 35,000 drivers in the next 4 or 5 yrs from a trucking magazine.Pity we cant get organized ,we could really make the job pay for what we do and get rid of the cowboy companies but am i dreaming!?
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Old Sep 19th 2013, 2:48 pm
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Default Re: Road to ruin: Canada’s truck drivers are a dwindling resource

Really interesting Neil,

You would think that the CIC would help more with british truckers like myself that are desperate to come over to Canada, after all we are a commonwealth country. The trouble is that like myself a lot of other truckers want to be home every night and that isn't the way in Canada from what i can gather. If there were more 'Day work' (Supermarket's for example) that came with an LMO, then i'm sure that the shortfall would be a lot less.

Here's to Hoping!
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Old Sep 19th 2013, 3:33 pm
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Default Re: Road to ruin: Canada’s truck drivers are a dwindling resource

Mr Waters ,being british they dont make you do the driving test for car license, other than that you are treated the same as everyone else but in my opinion the canadian government dont care about truck drivers really.The driver shortage is in long haul thats where the LMOs are,the reason is canadian dont want to do it,they want to be home every nite too!You do it for a couple of yrs get your PR then you can do any job ,I kinda of enjoyed ,it was a great experience,i still do it now lol
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Old Sep 19th 2013, 7:35 pm
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Default Re: Road to ruin: Canada’s truck drivers are a dwindling resource

Yeh i totally see your point, i'm not knocking Canadians at all, on the contrary, its more frustration that i want to move to Canada for a better life and to live in a beautiful place but spending 14-16 days away from my family would kill me, When all said and done i need to stop being a mard-arse and get on with it!

Thanks for your view, comforting to know that people can express their opinions without repression

Chris
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Old Sep 19th 2013, 9:08 pm
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Default Re: Road to ruin: Canada’s truck drivers are a dwindling resource

Chris ,i didnt think you were knocking canada ,its a great country,winter sucks,summers are great.I wouldnt think you will away 14-16 days,when i was on my work permit i did 5 or 6 days away,i only did 10 days once in those 2 an half yrs.Most companies will be accomodating to your families needs to keep you happy to stay with them.As i say you only have to do it for a couple of years and for me it was a challenge and a experience.Neil
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Old Oct 14th 2013, 6:26 am
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Default Re: Road to ruin: Canada’s truck drivers are a dwindling resource

Here's a cold hard fact. The driver shortages are created by the greed of the owners of the company. Interprovincial and international carriers are required to pay overtime to their drivers after 60 hours. Labour Canada kniws that companies dont pay it. Transport Canada, who supply the running rights or CVOR dont police these companies. Thus nothing changes. Major carriers have stated that if they were forced to pay overtime, they would just lower the mileage pay. Making the driver eat the cost. There is a reason why drivers today average the same annual earnings as drivers 20 years ago.
Truck drivers arent paid what the law states they are to be paid. The taxes go up. So that a driver who makes $50,000 will pay near $25, 000 in taxes. And if they happen to have a home and family, they may get a $4,000 return. Over worked, Over taxed and under paid.....and you wonder why you cant get some new, younger drivers in the drivers seat
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Old Oct 20th 2013, 4:42 pm
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Default Re: Road to ruin: Canada’s truck drivers are a dwindling resource

Originally Posted by jacobh15 View Post
Here's a cold hard fact. The driver shortages are created by the greed of the owners of the company. Interprovincial and international carriers are required to pay overtime to their drivers after 60 hours. Labour Canada kniws that companies dont pay it. Transport Canada, who supply the running rights or CVOR dont police these companies. Thus nothing changes. Major carriers have stated that if they were forced to pay overtime, they would just lower the mileage pay. Making the driver eat the cost. There is a reason why drivers today average the same annual earnings as drivers 20 years ago.
Truck drivers arent paid what the law states they are to be paid. The taxes go up. So that a driver who makes $50,000 will pay near $25, 000 in taxes. And if they happen to have a home and family, they may get a $4,000 return. Over worked, Over taxed and under paid.....and you wonder why you cant get some new, younger drivers in the drivers seat

Where do you get your " FACTS" from ???????? please substantiate your claims
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Old Oct 20th 2013, 5:54 pm
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Default Re: Road to ruin: Canada’s truck drivers are a dwindling resource

Yes interesting point of view.The only way to change things for the better is if the drivers force the change but I dont think it will really happen.
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Old Oct 21st 2013, 1:59 am
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Default Re: Road to ruin: Canada’s truck drivers are a dwindling resource

He's correct regards overtime at x 1.5 after 60 hours . How many companies pay this ? Mine does from the 5th day onwards .
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