A recent study by the Conference Board of Canada found that the country could experience a shortage of 25,000 to 33,000 truck drivers by 2020. The shortage would have a devastating effect on the industry and the economy.
Like the United States, tens of thousands of current Canadian drivers are approaching retirement age and there are “a very small number of young drivers taking their place.”
[pullquote align=”right”]“Professional truck drivers are the industry’s most important asset; the true face of the industry who are deserving of respect. They play a crucial role in the overall economy and in our daily lives. Without them, the gears that make Canada run will simply stop.”[/pullquote]
The study’s findings confirm what the industry has been warning for years – that Canada is on the cusp of a serious shortage of truck drivers. The shortage could hamper the Canadian supply chain and drive up prices on store shelves.
CTA president and Chief Executive Officer, David Bradley said, “It’s understandable that the challenges of the trucking industry aren’t always top of mind in media circles and among decision makers. However, with $17 billion in GDP directly tied to the for-hire trucking industry and the indirect impact being far greater, there’s little question a driver shortage of this size is a threat to the health and competitiveness of the Canadian economy and this issue is something we as a nation should start thinking about.”
The study found that the trucking industry contributed $37 billion to the economy in 2011. Trucking supports almost 480,000 jobs in Canada, creating $24 billion in personal income ,which in turn generates $4.2 billion in personal income taxes and $4.1 billion in indirect taxes.
According to the study, the average Canadian truck driver is 44.2 years-old and 20% are over the age of 54.
“We generally take the benefits of freight transportation for granted, in part because the system typically works well – at least in terms of making a variety of products available to consumers in a timely fashion,” the study notes. “However, disruptions in freight transportation systems can have a rapid impact, reminding consumers of the value of these services.”
The study outlined a number of factors that could entice new drivers: improved working conditions, improved wages and reduced pressure.
“Professional truck drivers are the industry’s most important asset; the true face of the industry who are deserving of respect. They play a crucial role in the overall economy and in our daily lives. Without them, the gears that make Canada run will simply stop,” said Bradley.