OTTAWA, Ont. -- Though tens of thousands of truck drivers are approaching retirement age, very few young people and immigrants are entering the industry, according to a new report from the Conference Board of Canada (CBC). According to the report, funded by the Canadian Trucking Alliance and titled “Understanding the Truck Driver Supply and Demand Gap and Implications for the Canadian Economy,” the gap between the supply of drivers and the demand for them – estimated at 25,000 by 2020 – could be costly to the Canadian economy.
“The food we eat, the goods that we enjoy and even the homes we live in are in large part delivered by trucks. The inability to meet a huge demand for drivers could be costly for the trucking industry, consumer goods and the Canadian economy,” said Vijay Gill, principal research associate at the CBC.
While truck drivers make up nearly 1.5% of the Canadian labour force –approximately 300,000 truck drivers overall – participation of young people, ages 15 to 24, has dropped off significantly in the past decade. As a result, the average truck driver’s average age has increased from 40 years in 1996 to 44 years in 2006, an average that surpasses that of many comparable occupations.
While the report notes that the driver “gap” could reach 25,000 by 2020, the CBC says it could exceed 33,000.
The report also notes that a change in policy to recognize the truck driving occupation as a skilled trade could attract more domestic and immigrant entrants into the industry.