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Getting More Women in Trucking SWIFT-ly


Photo courtesy of Women in Trucking

OTTAWA, ON — Wanna know how trucking can pick up more women? Join the club – or rather, conversation.

Earlier this week, Trucking HR Canada announced the start of a new initiative, Supporting Women in Freight Transportation (SWIFT). SWIFT is a new national advisory committee made up of senior managers, directors, presidents and C-level executives who aim to figure out how to encourage more females to join the trucking industry.

“There’s so many accomplished women within the industry and they can really be the spokespeople and they can really help to address any of those potential perception issues or bring awareness to the fact that we need more women in the workforce to bring us up to the national average,” says Angela Splinter, CEO of Trucking HR Canada.

SWIFT’s goals are:

• To develop a national employment strategy and practical tools to support connecting women with careers in transportation
• Identify of best recruitment and retention practices to better support women in transportation
• Identify challenges, including existing barriers
• Promoting the trucking industry as an industry of choice for women

Splinter told Today’s Trucking that SWIFT is a home grown, 100 percent Canadian initiative, driven by the industry.

“We are working with Women in Trucking (WIT), so Ellen Voie will attend our first meeting and launch reception – which will take place on April 11 at Truck World in Toronto,” Splinter says.

“We don’t want to reinvent the wheel, so we’re going to learn from material that WIT already has and we’re in conversation and working together so that both initiatives are complementing each other,”

Women represent a mere 3 percent of Canada’s truck drivers, mechanics, transport trailer technicians, and cargo workers.

They also account for just 11 percent of managers, 13 percent of parts technicians, 18 percent of dispatchers, and 25 percent of freight claims, safety and loss prevention specialists.

So it’s important that SWIFT is a Canadian initiative, focusing on meeting the needs of Canadian employers.

Splinter comments: “It can also position us to access federal funds for this initiative. These are the kinds of things that the federal government will fund; they will certainly look for a Canadian focus.”

“While many gains have been made, women are still largely underrepresented in trucking-related careers. This challenge needs to be addressed as the trucking industry looks to ease an intensifying shortage of skilled workers,” Splinter says.

The committee is made up of 19 women, representing different sub-sectors of the industry but also different parts of the country, but does not yet include a female driver.

Splinter says they know some female drivers and should include some in the committee.

Here are the SWIFT members:

1. Caroline Blais, recruiting manager, Kriska Holdings Ltd.
2. Julie Burgess, manager of HR and communications, Triton Transportation
3. Lorraine Crawford, fleet and compliance co-ordinator,TDL Group
4. Brenda Cuthbert, VP human resources, Siemens Transportation Group Inc.
5. Jane Douziech, VP of Grimshaw Trucking
6. Nora Hillyer, senior VP, customer excellence, Northbridge Insurance
7. Patricia Harknett, CHRP VP human resources, Midland Transport Limited
8. Margaret Hogg, general manager, J.G. Drapeau Limited
9. Linda MacKinnon, MacKinnon Transport
10. Louisa McAlpine, Snowbird Transportation
11. Claudia Milicevic, senior director and general manager, TransCore Link Logistics
12. Natalie Meyers, chairperson, Meyers Transportation Services
13. Sherry Orr, VP client executive, national transportation leader, BFL Canada
14. Kathy Penner, associate publisher, Truck News
15. Joanne Ritchie, executive director, OBAC
16. Les Rozander, director, retention and recruiting, Canada, Trimac Transportation Services
17. Kelli Saunders, president, Morai Logistics Inc.
18. Vicki Stafford, VP of resource development, Cavalier Transportation Services
19. Linda Young, VP HR and people development, Bison Transport

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Thank you for publishing this article. More power to women becoming truckers. Although my issue isn't with women (necessarily) alone, my issue is with managers, directors, v.ps, executive, etc. It has nothing and I mean nothing to do with your gender. It has everything to do with your qualifications. To summarize my concerns, how many of these "professionals" have driven tr/trailer before? if you have then you belong in the industry, if you haven't isn't it about time to learn about the industry you're getting paid in?