Canadian Trucking Has Come a Long Way

As Canada reaches another birthday I can’t help think about the changes the trucking industry has come through over the years. I wasn’t around in those early 1900’s when the trucking industry was being born to supplement the rail industry and help with the war efforts but I have been around the industry since the early 1980’s and have seen a number of changes from deregulation to dangerous goods to truck equipment changes. I remember those days when the Teamsters were the largest union in the industry, truck drivers drove with uniforms including ties, and there was courtesy on the road. I remember the camaraderie at truck stops and the road where drivers would help other drivers or the general public when broke down at the side of the road.

The industry was a real mix in Canada back in it’s day. We were thought of as the dumping ground for people with a lack of education but it wasn’t really a place for hoodlums. In the early days feeding families took priority over education and there was a lot of work available due to the development of the Country. There was a time when you could not operate on certain days of the week depending on your freight type and that was changed to meet the demand of the people of Canada.

Deregulation opened up the transportation market being a major change for the industry in the late 1980’s and some will argue it was good or bad depending on the person you talk with. To that point companies had to buy licenses and permits to operate even in a local area and much of that was removed with deregulation. In todays market if you can buy a truck with authorization you are set to go. In older days carriers built relationships with the shippers and bought trips permits based on those travel lanes and relationships.

If you would like to see a timeline video for the industry have a look at the video below by the Ontario Trucking Association on the timeline of the industry.

Today the industry is becoming a technology advanced industry affecting everything from drivers to equipment. Safety is now at the forefront and security of freight has become more prominent as our World shrinks in a global market. Although we have developed the industry to be one of the most important industries in Canada responsible for supplying goods and services for Canadians across the Country we are still struggling with old images and a traditional mindset that is not attractive to new generations. It will be interesting to see where the industry goes in the future and I look forward to being part of the industry for a long time and doing my part in a small way to hopefully make it better.

On behalf of myself and the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario I would like to wish all Canadians a Happy Canada Day. Think about all of those in the trucking industry that has helped make Canada a great place to live.

Canada waving flag
Canada waving flag

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is the author of the books Driven to Drive, 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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