Changes to Temp Foreign Worker Program Park Atlantic Trucks
DIEPPE, NB — Truckers in Atlantic Canada are shocked at how quickly they’ve seen the negative effects of the changes made to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) last month.
“We are in disbelief,” says Jean-Marc Picard of the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association (APTA). “The changes implemented to the Temporary Foreign Workers program by Minister Kenney a month ago are already having an impact on carriers in Atlantic Canada. Applications are being denied or delayed with poor responses from the Department of Immigration on any questions about the program”.
Minister Kenney is phasing out the “low-skilled stream” of the program and long-haul truck drivers are pegged in the low skill/low wage category; a misclassification according to both APTA and the Canadian Trucking Alliance.
“A long-haul truck driver in Atlantic Canada is a high wage occupation because they are paid more than the provincial average for truck drivers,” Picard says. “Carriers are now faced with a dilemma; they need to fill empty truck seats and there are no drivers to recruit! Parking trucks is now a reality for some carriers, which mean loss of jobs, less tax money coming in and freight contracts being trucked by out of province carriers.”
APTA claims the average wage for a truck driver in New Brunswick is $18.41/hour, above the provincial average of $17.79.
Picard says some carriers now need to replace their TFWs and there aren’t any new drivers to step up to the plate, so that means more parked trucks.
“Now [carriers] are all competing for the same drivers and there aren’t that many of them available,” Picard says. “The Government needs to realize how important the trucking industry is to our economy. Without it, goods don’t move and without drivers, trucks don’t move.”