Truck driving in Canada: The Canadian trucking industry finds itself struggling to keep drivers. The wages have not kept up to the rapid increase in the cost of living in Canada.
This scenario has caused a high rate of turnover in the Canadian trucking industry, and thus a shortage of skilled, qualified truck drivers.
Some Canadian truck drivers are leaving the trucking industry to seek out higher paying jobs in other industries, such as construction.
The Driver Shortage in Canada
As a result of this shortage of drivers, the Canadian government, through its immigration branch is reaching out internationally to attract foreign drivers, to fill the empty seats.
However, it should be noted, that the Immigration Canada website is less than truthful when it states trucking jobs in Canada ‘can exceed $70,00 per annum.
After many, many years experience in the trucking industry, I can say without hesitation, that very few Canadian truck drivers are earning over $70,000, as a company driver.
On average, Canadian truck drivers can realistically expect to earn between $40,000 to $50,000 annually, depending where the trucking company is located in Canada.
Ice Road Trucking in Canada
The Canadian ice roads attract drivers outside of Canada. There is a process for non-Canadians to apply for ice road jobs, but the process is much more complex, than for Canadian citizens. The turnover rate is huge with ice road trucking jobs, due to the extreme driving conditions.
However, it is still a big draw and an exciting adventure for a handful of successful candidates.
Diversity in the Canadian Trucking Industry
Truck driving in Canada is really quite diverse, with every kind of trucking from ice road trucking to logging, long hau cross country work, short haul and local work.
There is plenty of work available hauling fuel (tanker work), dry van freight and flatbed jobs.
About 70% or so of all Canadian trucking is cross border work, in and out of the U.S. Truckers who need to cross the Canada/U.S. border require a passport or Fast Card and a clean criminal search.
Drivers with a clean criminal history are in big demand in Canada, as trucking companies like to hire drivers who can be dispatched anywhere, not just within Canada….. especially in the existing driver shortage.
Owner operators are in big demand also in Canada. Most owner operators average in and around $1.20 per mile or so, also with an added fuel subsidy paid as well by some companies, to offset the high fuel prices.
Canadian Mega Carriers
There are a few mega Canadian mega carriers: Challenger Motor Freight in Ontario, Bison and TransX in Manitoba and Mullens in Alberta. It is fair to say that all of Canada’s big carriers would like to attract foreign workers to fill their empty trucks.
Services For Truckers – Canadian Truck Stops
In spite of the fact that trucking is so widespread in Canada, the truck stop facilities are few in number, and most of the ones that do exist, are sub-standard. There are a few major truck stops along the Ontario/Quebec 401 corridor and in major city centers such as Winnipeg, Calgary and Toronto. Otherwise, they are virtually non-existent on many long expanses of highways.
It can be challenging for truckers to find fuel stops and clean shower facilities. When considering the 3600 miles of highway from the east coast of Canada to the Canadian west coast, truck stops can be as much as several hundred miles apart. This makes trucking in Canada even more challenging, with only a limited number of places to stop for rest and meals.
Canadian Hours of Service
Due to the vastness of the Canadian highways, Canadian hours of service allow truck drivers to drive 13 hour workdays in most of Canada, and even longer days of driving, north of the 60th parallel.
Challenges of Truck Driving in Canada
Canadian winters and some of the rugged terrain, create some very challenging driving for truckers, especially in the mountains.
The present shortage of qualified truck drivers, the less than adequate driver wages, the long list of stringent rules and regulations, the implementation of electronic log books, combined with the overcrowded roadways on the major routes, truck driving in Canada certainly is not as appealing as it once was, a few decades ago.
However, it can still be an attractive career, if a driver or owner operator hires on with a good paying, fair trucking company.
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