BANFF — After a healthy western lunch of steak and potatoes, Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) members, including management from carriers like Manitoulin and Bison, sat down for two and a half hours to talk issues surrounding immigrant drivers.
It was the first business session at the AMTA Annual Conference and featured a panel of experts on immigration. Moderated by Hill Bros. Expressways Ltd. General Manager Bob Hill, the panel featured Evelyn Ackah of Ackah Business Immigration Law, April Shand, vice president of human resources, Westcan Bulk Transport, Chelsea Jukes, recruitment manager, also with Westcan, Joyce Conroy from the Alberta Immigration Nominee Program, and Shauna Kit of W-K Trucking.
Panelists left their gloves at home, and didn't pull any punches; the discussion was insightful and honest, touching on everything from the bureaucracy of bringing over foreign workers, to language requirements, to the need for HR plans, to racism and the importance of treating foreign workers like any other Canadian.
Today's Trucking will have more on foreign workers, but for now, here are some key points from the session:
Evelyn Ackah: "Forecast. Make an HR plan to identify who'll you'll need."
Chelsea Jukes: "We need to have all guns firing in terms of recruitment. We don't have the driving force, we don't have enough people."
April Shand: "Westcan has embraced the temporary foreign worker program; it's a key component to our strategy. But it's a big commitment. There's a 24hr turn-around for domestic recruits; with foreign workers it is much longer."
Evelyn Ackah: " Immigration law is constantly changing. Check the website frequently. Make sure you comply in regards to foreign employment; the government is doing a lot more audits."
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