Is it time for an immigration shift in trucking?

If we want to improve our industry we need to do more than just fill the seats. Foreign workers are making up a majority of the transportation industry and much of it is due to a low barrier of entry compared to other occupations according to a recent report by Newcom Media. The report suggests that almost 50% of the drivers in Canada are now immigrants of South Asian background and the Government is looking at increasing immigration support to fill even more seats much needed in the industry. The question is do we want an industry that has people behind the wheel that are just using it as a stepping stone for a new land or do we really want people with a passion for the industry? The report by Newcom suggests that it may be ease of entry over passion, you can read the full report here and decide for yourself. man talking on telephoneMy parents immigrated to Canada back in 1962 so I understand the importance of bringing people to Canada. We need to fill jobs as drivers in our industry and I understand the needs there as well, but are we getting the right people for the job. The report suggested that ease of entry is the reason many are choosing truck driving. If that’s the case then people are coming into the industry not because of an interest or passion for trucking but an easy way to come into the Country. Are we losing that passion in the industry that was once there from those that loved to work around machines or that person that loved to drive. People are getting into the industry due to lack of other opportunities, but could that be the problem?

I believe our immigration laws need to change to where we are bringing people into the Country that not only want to be here, but have a passion for the industry they are trying to get into. Every industry has shortfall of people in general so should we be doing a better job of matching the people coming into the Country to the industries available? If doctors from another Country are coming here to be truck drivers just because they can’t get any other work that doesn’t make sense. There is a real doctor shortage here as well and I have seen how our immigration laws work against us first hand.

There were two drivers I met a couple years ago from the island of Barbados. They both had trucking backgrounds in Barbados even though it is a smaller country. One owned a construction company there and the other had been driving a truck around the island. Both paid from there own pockets to take training through a certified school here in Canada. Both graduated top of class from the training school. Both had job offers from companies and were very competent individuals. So where was the problem? Both got tired of waiting on the red tape of the immigration department. One of those individuals has taken his family to Ireland to drive trucks and start a new life and the other has gone into a different industry else where to find work. Yet here we are talking about increasing the amount of people we bring into Canada to fill the seats. Those two people had a passion for the industry, and put skin in the game and still couldn’t get in. If you would like to hear the interview I did with one of the candidates just click here.

Maybe we need to change the way we immigrate people into Canada. Maybe we need to make it easier for companies to sponsor the right people into the industry. If we want to improve the industry as a whole and we want to fill the jobs with people that want to be there and have a passion for the industry then we need to curve the way we immigrate people to Canada, that doesn’t mean just ease of entry but matching talent to opportunities and that goes for all industries not just trucking.

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


Membership in the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario can be of great benefit to you, whether you provide commercial driver training, employ drivers, or are in some other segment of the transportation industry. Join our association today to become part of this team of professionals whose goal is to improve and unify truck driver training standards, resulting in highly skilled, better prepared, entry-level and re-certified commercial drivers.

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