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Overhaul of Temp. Foreign Worker Program Will Hurt Trucking

OTTAWA, ON— The changes the Canadian government has announced to the Temporary Foreign Work Program will likely mean more parked trucks.

Jean-Marc Picard, the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association (APTA)’s executive director said: “The Conference Board of Canada released a document in 2013 highlighting the driver shortage that we are facing today as well as what to expect in 2020. Up to 33,000 drivers will be needed for our industry by 2020 and you can certainly review that number now because of the Temporary Foreign Program being almost inaccessible.”

Employment Minister Jason Kenney told CBC Radio Saturday that he’s phasing out the “low-skilled stream” of the program after having considered shutting it down completely.

"We seriously looked at saying what every other developed country does: no general low-skilled temporary foreign workers stream," Kenney said. "We came to the conclusion that the economic costs in general and the adjustment costs for particular businesses would be too extreme."

Here are some of the changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker program:

  • More inspections: one in four employers will be inspected each year. The government said it will hire about 20 more inspectors, bringing the number to about 60.
  • Higher fees: the application fee employers must pay per worker will go from $275 to $1,000, effective immediately.
  • Hefty fines of up to $100,000 for employers who abuse the program will roll out in the fall.
  • More funding for the Canada Border Services Agency to pursue more criminal investigations.
  • Posting the names of employers who receive permission to hire foreign workers.
  • Making public the number of positions approved through the program on a quarterly basis.
  • Reducing the amount of time a temporary foreign worker can be employed in Canada, to two years from four.

Picard commented: “Our members are extremely concerned about this situation. The program worked well for our industry and now they have no idea where and how they will find drivers to move the goods of their customers.”

“Every  company hauling  commercial  goods  today is looking  for  drivers;  it  is  a well-documented  fact  that  the industry  has a  shortage of drivers.  This has just amplified the situation and it will change the landscape of our industry in Atlantic Canada,” Picard said.

By 2016, Kenney said, "The government could decide to… eliminate the low-skilled stream [of the program], but we're trying to do this in a prudent way where the adjustment costs are moderate and we don't just end up causing devastation for thousands of businesses."

Picard said that “efforts are being taken across Canada to attract drivers” and that in Atlantic Canada, APTA is working to promote the industry, remove barriers,  make  funding  accessible,  but need trucking to be recognized as a skilled trade.

“We are at a critical point in time for our industry because the average age of drivers is increasing every year,” Picard said.

“The trucking industry would prefer hiring qualified Canadians as truck drivers; it is not in any trucking company’s business plan to grow their businesses using Temporary Foreign Workers.  It is expensive and many barriers exist, so companies that use the program only do so when they have exhausted their ability to attract qualified Canadians,” he added.

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we need to limit foreign drivers to small companies of 6 or lees trucks only for the next 3 years.

Truckers need to be paid a fair wage and treated better at the docks. All trucking companies that have not being for dock time at fair wage should not able to be able to bring drivers in if the company grosses over one million a year. Owner-ops should be able to bring a second driver so they can team to meet the new regs.

We do not need TFW driving trucks.
If these cheap paying carriers would learn to address the real issue of a lack of pay, something they have failed to do for 20 plus years now. They'd have all kinds of drivers banging on their door.
The other thing is, how many of these TFW employing carriers also willfully violate Canada's federal labour law by not paying their highway drivers overtime after 60 hours of all work performed in a week..
And there is a petition by truck drivers to stop TFW in the trucking industry.


Oh my god!!! If this happens the rates might go up and drivers might make a decent living. We sure dont want that.

there are lots of drivers in Canada, but the problem is that these days there are a lot of drivers that are cry babies... they don`t want to do this or that and cry all the time. I know because I used to be a dispatch and dealing with drivers is worst then dealing with kids. I drive now and believe me company`s don't make as much money as some think. after drivers, fuel and all expenses its not as good as drivers think...

I would like to ask the trucking companies in Atlantic Canada why so many drivers have taken the trek out here to the West to find half decent paying jobs so they can support their families that remain out East. Most of these guys hate being away from their families for months at a time. If they offered a fair wage, these guys could go home where they want to be close to friends, and watch their kids grow up.

Perhaps if these greedy trucking companies would show more respect
For there drivers and pay us a much better wage then the industry would
Attract new young people. I have been in this business 39 years and the company
I haul for took away our fuel surcharge but yet they still collect from
There customers. I have not seen a rate in crease in 17 years. I personally
Would not recommend and one that wants to get into this industry the way
It is today.

There is no driver shortage. There is a shortage of companies willing to pay drivers a good wage and treat them like humans and not just like another truck part though. But it is more profitable for them to cry "shortage" so they can hire foreign drivers who work for nothing, live 3 or 4 in a truck, and work non stop on the threat of being fired and deported. And if you take a look at the TFW program it also coincides with the roadside pee bottle phenomenon.

Mr. Picard,

As Executive Director of the APTA I would think you are an intelligent man, so why would you make such a ludicrous statement, you only embarrass yourself in front of an industry that knows why there is no new blood entering the trucking industry. When young men and women come out of high school looking for a trade and see a carpenter gets paid more than a truck driver, why would they want to drive a truck? If Politicians and Executive directors were paid the same as a truck driver, there would be fewer politicians....not such a bad idea is it...!... Our industry needs to step up to the plate and pay drivers and owner operators their true value. Grab the bull by the horns Mr. Picard, not the other end.....

What driver shortage? I am a 2 year licensed AZ driver who has been turned down for over 40 driving jobs because of a 3 Demerit minor ticket. Companies would rather let jobs go unfilled for months then pay a few Dollars more for Insurance coverage on me. Despite my willingness to work for their rock bottom wages like $13/hr! Surely it would cost more to get a TFW? I bet there are lots of drivers like me left to rot on EI while employers cry in the media....

You deleted my first comment yet leave 3 posts from a dispatcher calling drivers cry babies?

Dave, don't take it personally. We appreciate your comments and feedback. We have to take down anything that could get us into trouble. Write to us anytime!

Evey trucking company should limited to one foreign driver until they pay a living wage. One large trucking brought in 50 overseas drivers and drop pay to their other drivers from $.42 per mile to $.40 per mile and owner op pay from $1.17 plus fuel surcharge to $1.13 per mile plus fuel surcharge losing 7 owner-ops and 23 drivers yet can under bid 3 other companies to get more freight. This keeps all trucking rates lower in Canada.

There are enough drivers if the pay was better and the drivers got paid fair for all hours worked like other trades men or police. The gov needs give every trucking company one work permit for $200.00 all further permits should be $10,000.00 each

Your headline is wrong it force trucking companies to pay a fair wage.

if other professions were treated like truck drivers there would be shortages of people in every line of work.

The pending driver shortage in Canada could be solved if drivers were paid fairly for their time, instead of being expected to donate their time while waiting.
If trucking companies paid a living wage for the skill set required to handle commercial vehicles, more drivers would stay in the seat.

Truckers need to be paid for all hours worked at a wage that a trade would make. Untill then trucking companies should only get one work permit per year

There are too many trucking companies with trucks sitting because the shippers are not paying enough money to the trucking companies, can pay rates high enough to get drivers living in canada to dive truck that are working at other jobs.

I talked to one shipper he told me, he had 11 trucking companies plus 2 brokers biding for his loads for next 18 months . He told we need to bring more foreign drivers as the bids were coming at $2.20 plus per mile plus some trucking companies were going to charge him $60.00 per hour for dock time. He proceeded to tell unless more foreign drivers came he was going to ship his freight by rail. I told that would be much better than putting more trucks on the road.

The harper government is too week to set trucking rates in Canada so that truck drivers are paid fairly

Truck driver wages need to go up to 50 cents per mile plus detention pay at $20.00Us per hour then we can talk about a driver shortage as I talk to a lady who worked at doing drywall and she told she would like to driving with husband but could not afford the cut in pay from her current job as they had 2 kids in college.

The government need to set the min trucking rates and take insurance in Canada. Any trucking company who employees more than 3 foreign workers should have to pay for all hour worked at twice the min wage.

The federal government needs to make more expensive to import drivers. I talk to many drivers that come from other places in the world, they feel the large companies are just using them as a cheaper driver source

Trucking is hurt by the poor pay that truck drivers get. The trucking rates and driver pay needs to go up. No C.T.A. member should able to bring in any foreign drivers for 3 years

The federal gov. needs limit imported drivers until the large trucking companies treat the drivers that are here better.

Any trucking company bring in more than 3 people per year should be required to pay $ the foreign drivers $1,500 per week on a legal E-log

All trucking companies bringing in overseas workers must have free internet and a bedroom for every each driver from other countries and free use of washer and dryer. They must be able to show that they had turn down loads. They should be limited to 2 workers plus 10% of their workforce. They need to show that any driver can request to go on E-log and be paid hourly at a least twice the min. wage( plus $2.00 for ab. and sk. and bc.) Then if they have 3 or more overseas drivers and they do not pay those rates they will limited in the number of trucks they can have for the next 3 years

The CTA has been told by me and others that certain companies are short changing truck drivers and the CTA did not even try to set up a meeting with the truck drivers who left over wage disputes with CTA members. This is even after the CTA was told these drivers are lobbying to stop more TFWs coming to Canada

I talked to truck salesperson he said the driver (shortage) is making the trucking companies order less new trucks and with more features like inverters and fridges and CBs. He said that one company said that his truck drivers were leaving until he raised his pay to $.50 per mile and paid layover pay. He told me that 3 different shippers that left him have came back since aug. 1 of this year after certain APTA companies could not cover the loads.

Maybe with the changes the trucking industry will start to stand up to the receivers of the large companies. AT least one truck driver is in court against his treatment by loblaws.

I have it could up to a year to get TFWs approved but if you will pay the right donation of $5,000 this can happen in 90 days.

The CTA. needs to hire its own inspectors to check out its own members and not wait for the goverment inspectors

Truckers wages are 30% lower than in 1980 adjusted to inflation. Increase truck drivers wages 30% that include being paid for all hours worked like other jobs. The truck driver shortage will disappear. Limit TFWs to 2 per company and at least 100 km from cities of 500,000 or more.

No OTA or APTA. or BCTA. trucking company or member should be able to bring in TFWs until all outstanding driver treatment issues are addressed. I believe all the above org.(s) will not treat truck driver fairly if they can bring in more TFWs to shortchange.

I was just at a truck driver and owner op recruiting event and out of the the 23 companies recriuting truck drivers and owner-ops only 2 were paying rates that were competative with other jobs 5 or 6 of the trucking companies asked me when construction was going to slow down. I think most of those truck drivers will not come back to trucking at pay rates that the companies can afford to pay I meeting with 3 different companies on Monday to see if they can come with a rate that my ex drivers would come back to work in my trucks on their contract as they have more loads than what they can haul from now to the end of dec. I talked to 3 truck drivers that worked for me and they are very happy doing other work at $24.00 to $32.00 per hour plus overtime after 40 or 50 hours per week. None will come back to driving truck for less than $250.00 for a 10 hour day.

Any trucking company willing to pay $23.00 per hour plus overtime after 44 hours to to TFW,s and truck drivers from other parts of Canada plus free housing can get all the truck drivers they want. The CTA. should be happy that the goverment has set a floor wage to bring in overseas truck drivers.

A small group of truck drivers just met and sent letters to the fed government asking that bison and other large companies like Canada cartage not get any TFW,s until the lawsuits are settled with former truck drivers. The CTA. needs to come down harder on its members on the treatment and pay of current trucks drivers./ Nine of the 14 truck drivers at the meeting said that (mistakes) are made on their to the companies favor every month. Four of the truck drivers were new to truck driving in Canada. The 4 new truck drivers said that they were are looking for an other line of work as they were not being paid for layovers and the pay was too low for living on the road. Two of the 4 new truck drivers were going to another trade in January. One was going to stay driving truck for 2 years to get his P.R. card. they get a job as accountant. The other one was waiting for a call to get into the police training program. None of these truck drivers are telling other people to go into trucking until wages move up sharply