Ontario has recently released its 2019 budget, and it has the trucking industry buzzing. The government has announced that the trucking industry will now be welcome into the Ontario Immigration Nominee Program through the in-demand skill stream, a move that the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) is applauding.
As stated in the budget, “To better reflect employer and labour market needs, the government will seek to expand the occupations eligible for the Employer Job Offer: In-Demand Skills Stream to include transport truck drivers and personal support workers.”
This move will give Ontario trucking companies access to foreign labour resources, which is currently provided to construction and agricultural industries. The Ontario Immigration Nominee Program (OINP) allows foreign workers and international students with the right skills, education, and experience to apply for a nomination for permanent residence in the province.
This is great news, especially since the trucking industry is still struggling with a driver shortage. The 2019 Canadian Federal Budget did include items to help address the driver shortage, such as funding for training, but access to foreign workers will really help Ontario trucking companies secure new drivers.
Chairman of the Ontario Trucking Association, David Carruth stated, “The industry is taking steps to help address its labor shortages – from increasing wages to better marketing the opportunities available in the industry – but these measures alone will not be able to meet the labor needs over the coming years without access to labour through immigration. Today’s budget announcement will provide assistance to our sector and by extension the Ontario economy.”
All prospective drivers will have to go through Ontario’s mandatory entry-level training program, as well as any additional in-house training by their employer. The OTA is optimistic about recruiting professional foreign truck drivers but notes that they do not expect, nor want, immigration to completely solve the industry’s labor shortage.
“Ontario’s economic competitiveness is highly dependent on the trucking industry as the dominant mode of freight transportation in the province. Having access to this program provides trucking companies an avenue to recruit the talent they need to fill gaps in their workforces,” states Carruth.
In addition to being welcomed in the ONIP, the trucking industry will also participate in a pilot program to bring highly skilled immigrants to smaller communities. The budget also confirmed it would maintain the tax exemption for natural gas used as transportation fuel. Lastly, in an effort to make it easier for truck drivers to confirm credential and reduce paperwork, Ontario will now allow electronic documentation for International Registration Plans.
TRAFFIX is pleased to see that the trucking industry’s vital role in Ontario’s economy is being recognized. It is great to see that the government is taking steps to allow the trucking industry to solve the driver shortage. If you are interested in a career in trucking, learn more on our careers page or view our current openings.