It’s not until you get out of your own backyard that you see the talent and integrity of people from foreign countries. With so much bad issues going on in the World today people get lumped into the same group and causes us to overlook many of the good ones. As I sat in the Caribbean talking to locals the other day we got onto the subject of trucking. I am always fascinated by the trucking here in the Caribbean and am interested in finding out how it works. As our discussion grew on the topic I mentioned the driver shortage and the fact that over the years I have come across many hard working individuals that have the skills required by our industry. The person I was talking with said why don’t they use the Caribbean Exchange Program to get drivers? Over the years I have met and talked with people who have come to Canada, paid for their own training, and graduated top of their class but still can’t get work. One such individual ended up going to Ireland with the education he got from Canada. Many of these individuals have owned businesses, driven trucks, and worked construction.
Could we benefit from an exchange program?
The thought of the exchange program sat with me for a couple days after the conversation and I decided to look up the program to see how it works. Many times I have seen these workers on farms when I was trucking or even driving in rural areas in Ontario but never really thought about how those workers got there. The basis of the program is that there is an agreement with Mexico and the Caribbean to send workers to Canada when crop season is upon us and have workers pick the crops. A company can request certain workers year after year and everything is done through the Immigration Department. Workers can only come for a certain time and then have to return and much of the arrangement and investigation is done by the Country sending the worker. Here is a CBC report on the program: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/canada-s-migrant-farm-worker-system-what-works-and-what-s-lacking-1.1142489
Are we missing a big opportunity?
Okay here is where the idea goes crazy. With a similar arrangement Schools could send people to train the people in those Countries and build a database of workers that are trained and knowledgeable on our systems. A system can be set up to bring in the drivers when freight demand is high and companies could choose from the database knowing that the workers have been trained by a Canadian Entity.
Hey I know this is a far fetched solution but if we have such a need for workers in everything from driving to the trades I don’t understand why we aren’t looking at programs and seeing if they can’t be adopted to our industry. If I understand the Worker Program the sponsorship comes from the Caribbean Country and not the Canadian Entity and that is where we have some of the blockage in our system in Canada. So I will leave this idea with whomever would like to run with it. I don’t know the system as well as many of you may know it, but I do know the people of the Caribbean. It is my heritage and I have met many that have a work ethic and success philosophy far greater than many at home, they just need a chance to prove it.
About the Author
Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com