A vital goods movement industry supporting BC’s economy could face a labour shortage over the next eight years.
President CEO of the B.C. Trucking Association, Louise Yako, says a new Canadian Trucking Alliance report projects a shortage of at least 6,000 truck drivers in B.C. by 2024.
Yako says nationwide the industry says it could be short as many as 48,000 drivers, as the industry grapples with a troubling demographic trend.
“Many drivers are older than the average age of a worker in Canada which means that we are not attracting young people at the same rate that other industry sectors are.”
She says one of the barriers the industry is struggling with is B.C.’s graduated licensing program; truck driving requires a class one license, which a young driver wouldn’t be able to obtain until at least their 19th birthday.
“At the age of 19, a lot of young people have already decided on a career path, and since trucking wasn’t open to them at the age of 18 when they graduated high school, they’re already going on to other things.”
She says the industry has been working with NorKam Secondary in Kamloops to develop a high school training program that could eventually be expanded around the province. But she says there needs to be some flexibility to the graduated licensing program for youth who are getting that kind of specialized, professional driving training.
And she says wages, even at the entry level, are competitive.
“It’s not uncommon for drivers to be making at the low end about $40-45,000, and up at the high end, well up to $100,000, and that’s for real specialty driver occupations with very expensive equipment.”
She says the industry is also working as a part of a national mentorship program to try and attract more women to the industry.
With files from Simon Little