Business
Trucking industry faces driver shortage down the road

Truckers and motorists make their way eastbound through Belleville, Ont. on Highway 401.

Credits: JEROME LESSARD/The Intelligencer/QMI Agency

PATRICK GALLAGHER | QMI AGENCY

The gap between the available drivers and demand is widening, according to a new report from the Conference Board of Canada.

It is getting harder to convince young people to consider a career in truck driving and it is likely to prove costly for the trucking industry, the consumer and retail sectors and the broader Canadian economy, the report suggests.

As many as 25,000 trucking jobs could be unfilled in the next seven years, and the implications could be huge for industries such as agriculture and retailers.

"The food we eat, the goods that we enjoy and even the homes we live in are in large part delivered by trucks," said Vijay Gill, a principal research associate at the Conference Board of Canada.

The trucking industry is responsible for moving 90% of all consumer and food products within Canada and upwards of 60% of the cross-border trade with the United States.

The average age of a truck driver in Canada was 40 in 1996, 44 in 2006 and is now higher than the average worker in Canada. More than 20% of truck drivers are now over the age of 54 years.

The report also calls for improvement in working conditions for truck drivers, higher wages and mandatory driver training and upgraded licence standards for all drivers.

The report was funded by the Canadian Trucking Alliance and said it mirror concerns it has been raising for about a year now.

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