As industry calls for action to help relieve the driver shortage mount, newly released data shows labour challenges in the trucking sector are only getting worse.
Recently released Statistics Canada data, analyzed by trucking HR Canada, shows vacancy data for the second quarter of 2022 hit new record highs. Truck drivers reached a new record number of vacant jobs in Q2 – soaring to over 28,000, which is up from 25,560 in Q1. In the trucking sector, the vacancy rate – the proportion of all jobs that are currently vacant – inched higher to 9.4% for the third straight quarter. This vacancy rate is significantly higher than the average across all sectors of the economy (5.9%) and is exceeded only by the accommodation and food services sector’s rate.
CTA has been warning Ottawa for years the labour situation in trucking is worsening and that the federal government needs to adopt a mindset focused on supply chain stabilization. For instance, CTA recently warned of the consequences which will flow from the implementation of Bill C-3 and new paid medical leave provisions. As CTA has warned, the main cost for trucking companies of these lost 10 days is not necessarily the salary paid to the worker; it’s the truck that must sit unexpectedly for days and the logistical chaos it causes the trucking company scrambling to move it.
“This chain reaction and the associated consequences will also inevitably flow through to the companies relying on the delivery, be it raw materials, manufacturing inputs, or finished products destined for store shelves,” said Stephen Laskowski, president of CTA. “With little ability to replace this lost capacity through adding labour, things will only get tighter for the foreseeable future.”
Meanwhile, it is still clear the feds do not have control over the Driver Inc. scheme, which sees widespread labour abuse and tax fraud take place in the sector. The scam is having a widespread impact on the labour market in the sector.
“While widespread Driver Inc. related noncompliance has been recognized in our sector by ESDC, they, nor any other federal department responsible for enforcing standards related to labour and taxes, have yet to bring it under control,” said Laskowski. “With tens of thousands of drivers being pushed into the underground economy, and a weak response from Ottawa so far, we expect trucking’s labour issues and Ottawa’s tax collection issues to get a lot worse over the coming years.”
While the impacts of bill C-3 and Drive Inc. remain, CTA is encouraged by recent announcements by Minister of Immigration, Sean Fraser, that trucking would now be eligible to participate in Express Entry programs.
“Over the past several months, CTA has discussed with the Government of Canada how we they can help stabilize the trucking industry’s labour force,” said CTA. “Improving the industry’s access to key immigration programs was one of those asks and CTA would like to thank the Government of Canada for working with us to make this happen.”
In addition to this new program, CTA continues to work with other departments, such as Employment and Social Development Canada, to help bolster the industry’s access to funds to support training. This includes heavily supporting proposals from other key industry groups, such as Trucking HR Canada, for training focused funding opportunities.