Solutions to driver shortage proposed by local Chamber of Commerce members accepted at provincial level
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: (Leduc) The Leduc, Nisku, and Wetaskiwin Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Driving Our Economy Forward: The Need for More Class 1A Professional Drivers policy was unanimously adopted by members of the Alberta Chambers of Commerce (ACC), a network of 117 community Chambers, at its recent Annual General Meeting and Policy Plenary Session.
“Our members in the trucking and professional driving industries told us about the immediate shortage of professional drivers,” said Wayne Di Lallo, Chamber Policy Committee Chair. “Our committee worked with them directly to identify solutions we could propose to both our Provincial and Federal governments.”
The commercial trucking industry is a crucial component of Canada’s supply chain, with 90 percent of all consumer goods being shipped by truck, according to Transport Canada, and sixty percent of our US-Canada trade relationship, the second largest in the world, crossing the border on trucks.
“Our members have told us that finding drivers is a big issue,” said Di Lallo. In fact, Canada needs 17,200 new truck drivers every year until 2025 just to keep up with demand. Alberta alone is facing a shortage of more than 3,600 drivers. “We’re not just focused on the problem though,” he continued, “working closely with our members we’re proposing innovative and tangible solutions.”
Recommendations in the policy include classifying Class 1A truck driving as a skilled trade under the National Occupational Classification matrix making it easier for qualified newcomers to Canada to join the ranks of drivers, supporting new drivers through mentoring with more experienced drivers in an effort to reduce insurance costs for new drivers, promoting the industry as a career choice amongst women and better supporting women already in the industry, and including Class 1A driver training in student loans to help students afford living expenses while enrolled in mandatory training. “Young drivers especially are not entering the industry,” said Di Lallo, “because unlike other trades like plumbing or welding, there is no opportunity to earn a wage while learning the skills of the trade. We need to level the playing field to attract more young drivers.”
“We have a strong ally in the ACC,” said Di Lallo, “but our work isn’t done. We’re looking to move our policy to the national level this fall, because in addition to Provincial support, we need Federal action to alleviate the shortage.”
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The Leduc, Nisku, and Wetaskiwin Chamber exists to serve it’s over 1,100 members, strengthen the economic climate of the region, and provide unparalleled networking and promotion opportunities.