Amid rising demand for truck drivers, the industry’s HR experts have tools to help

Amid rising demand for truck drivers, the industry’s HR experts have tools to help

Angela Splinter, CEO

Amid rising demand for truck drivers, the industry’s HR experts have tools to help

According to Trucking HR Canada’s latest labour market information (LMI), nearly 320,000 people were employed or actively seeking work as truck drivers during the third quarter of 2022. Roughly 60% of these drivers work directly in the truck transportation sector while the rest are employed in construction, agriculture, mining, oil and gas, wholesale distribution, and other industries that use trucks to get the job done.

Qualified truck drivers are hard to find. During Q3 2022, the unemployment rate for truck drivers fell by more than half to 2.1% compared to the same period in 2021. Job postings for truck drivers are going unfilled for longer periods. In 2021, the percentage of jobs that were posted for more than 90 days went from 18% at the start of the year to 40% by the end.

Brand new drivers present an even bigger challenge given the cost of recruiting, onboarding, and training. While some but not all of these costs can be passed along to customers in other sectors of the Canadian economy, trucking and logistics firms have to be efficient and strategic in their HR practices.

Western impacts

Our LMI suggests that certain regions of the country have a greater need for trucking and logistics workers than others. THRC is working with some provinces and territories to gain a clearer understanding of these regional realities.

For example, we partnered with the Alberta government and Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) to study employment in the province’s trucking and logistics sector. Here is what we learned:

  • Alberta accounts for 14.3% of employment in the sector, averaging nearly 95,000 workers over the past 10 years.
  • Transport truck drivers (NOC 7511) make up 45% (approximately 41,000) of Albertans who are employed in trucking and logistics.
  • Other industry occupations include shippers and receivers (15% of the sector’s total workforce); delivery and courier service drivers (11%); and material handlers (5%).
  • 35% of truck drivers in Alberta work in general freight while 26% work in specialized freight. The rest are employed in other sectors such as construction; mining; wholesale and retail trade; and manufacturing.
  • Vacancies have soared to the second-highest rate since Statistics Canada began publishing the data in 2015. On average in 2021 there were 3,200 truck driver vacancies in Alberta, up 19% from 2019.
  • THRC expects the demand for drivers in Alberta to increase to 49,000 by 2025, in part due to an aging workforce.

Driving toward solutions

What is THRC doing to help? Here are four initiatives to consider:

1. Career ExpressWay

We have a suite of driver training and wage incentives to help trucking and logistics employers recruit, train, and retain talent. From drivers to office staff to student internships – our programs directly support your recruitment and retention efforts.

2. THRC Resource Centre 

We also have a growing suite of resources and tools to help employers develop a more diverse, flexible, and inclusive workforce.  This includes guides, templates, best practices and more.

Trucking Careers GPS is an interactive online resource where career-seekers can learn more about the industry and how to put their skills to work.

3. Women with Drive

Every year Trucking HR Canada hosts Women with Drive, a national leadership summit focused on how to make trucking and logistics a more welcoming industry for women and other equity-deserving groups. The next summit will be held on March 8, 2023, International Women’s Day. Registration is open.

As part of an ongoing project, funded through Women And Gender Equality Canada, THRC is taking the Women with Drive events on the road! Over the next two years, we will be hosting events in communities across the country – including all western provinces.

4. Labour Code Compliance

THRC is a designated training provider for anti-workplace harassment training required under the Canada Labour Code, offering cost-effective training for trucking and logistics employers. We are also working in collaboration with the Pay Equity Commissioner to help employers stay on track to compliance.

With reliable labour market data and HR management tools, employers can more effectively help workers recognize the many opportunities in the trucking and logistics sector, and build strong workforces for today, and the future. Explore the THRC Learning Centre 


Trucking HR Canada’s subsidies help Border City Concrete

Border City Concrete gets new Class 1 drivers and a mechanic with support of Trucking HR Canada’s subsidies

Lloydminster has the particularity of straddling between Alberta and Saskatchewan. You literally can change provinces by crossing a street.

Ron Kelly, Border City Concrete

So it’s no surprise that Ron Kelly has been looking at both provinces’ programs to find subsidies to train two existing employees so they could get their Class 1 licence and perform broader functions at Border City Concrete (BCC), the excavation, aggregate and concrete delivery company he manages there.

In the end, he found the solution through Trucking HR Canada’s Career ExpressWay program, which offers up to $10,000 per person to get their Class 1 licence training.

“With the federal program, it was only one party, and I could do multiple things with it,” Kelly says.

The first employee who obtained the professional driver training was an equipment operator. Now that he has his Class 1, he doesn’t need a colleague to move his equipment around anymore and he can also haul gravel. “It opened up a lot of opportunities for him,” Kelly says.

The other had a Class 3 licence before the Career ExpressWay experience, which allowed him to do some trucking jobs. “But he was missing out on a lot of the long hauls and the bigger jobs because he didn’t have his Class 1,” Kelly notes.

These are individuals who couldn’t afford it on their own. Having the subsidy really helped have these two individuals more engaged within the company and for the company to be more successful, for sure.

Ron Kelly

“These are individuals who couldn’t afford it on their own. Having the subsidy really helped have these two individuals more engaged within the company and for the company to be more successful, for sure,” he says, underlining that Trucking HR Canada’s subsidies covered 100% of the training fees.

Kelly mentioned that Career ExpressWay has allowed him to do “multiple things”, referring to the fact that, in addition to the two drivers’ training, he hired an apprentice mechanic by using the Employer Wage Support for Youth program, which paid the first $10,000 of the young man’s wages.

“Times are a little different right now than they were maybe five or six years ago. Everyone’s watching their pennies and their cents. So hire a new guy and train him for a brand new role and get some help right off the bat to get him going until they can do more work on their own is really nice,” Kelly says about Trucking HR Canada’s financial support.

And managing the program was pretty simple for BCC. “Dealing with Trucking HR Canada I found was very easy; they responded quickly and they are courteous. They helped me through things when I had questions and we got things done pretty quick,” Kelly says.

Young and willing to work

20 year-old Nicholas Wenger is the apprentice mechanic BCC hired for its Paradise Hill (SK) Hardy Services division. Nicholas’ dad, Leon, has been a truck driver for as long as he can remember, so he was exposed to trucking at an early age.

Yet, his real passion is mechanics and there’s plenty for him to do at BCC since construction applications can be hard on trucks and heavy machinery. He enjoys the variety of tasks he’s performing. “They’re really good in getting me to all sorts of jobs and getting me familiar with as many things as possible,” Wenger says about his employer.

I’m really enjoying it so far. I can see myself going along this route for years to come, for sure.

Nicholas Wenger

Wenger is eager to make a career in the trucking and logistics sector. “I’m really enjoying it so far. I can see myself going along this route for years to come, for sure,” he says.

That’s certainly music to Kelly’s ears. “Getting the additional new hire wage support subsidy helps to offset some of the training costs. It gives us the opportunity to hire local, to hire someone who’s young, keen, willing to work, willing to learn and to grow within our company,” he says.

Kelly adds that he’s pleased by young workers on different aspects, including their ease with technology. “Things are getting to be more digital and that helps out through the company when you start to use more application programs for safety, pre-trips or time sheets. It’s nice to have that younger workforce to guide some of the more senior guys,” he says, insisting on the importance of building partnerships with young workers.

Not only would Kelly repeat the Career ExpressWay experience, he’s spreading the word about it to other companies. “I’ve recommended it because I thought it was a good way to get younger involvement and to help companies with some of their staffing shortages. It’s a great program,” he concludes.

To learn more about the wage subsidy and subsidized driver training programs, and how you too can benefit from this opportunity, please visit THRC Career Expressway or e-mail [email protected].

Labour shortage solutions

Labour shortage solutions

Cecilia Reaburn

Trucking HR Canada’s latest LMI data shows, yet again, record high Truck Driver vacancies across the country with 25,560 vacant truck driver positions recorded from Jan-March 2022.

This represents the industry’s highest number of vacancies ever recorded since Statistics Canada started tracking vacancies in 2015. Even more concerning is that 49% of these openings remain unfilled for 90+ days.

Driving roles are not the only roles going unfilled. The Canadian Truck Transportation industry has been seeing a steady increase in vacancy rates across the sector since the first quarter of 2021. The sector is currently recording the second highest vacancy rate in Canada at 8.7%. These job vacancy rates describe the industry’s proportion of all vacant jobs. This specific piece of labour market data gives us a glimpse of the challenges faced by our employers in securing the workers needed.

But it’s not all doom and gloom.  THRC has leveraged our labour market information to develop innovative solutions addressing the current challenges and supporting our employers.  Let’s take a look:

Career ExpressWay

Over the past two years, THRC has helped 100+ employers access wage and training subsidies through our Career ExpressWay program. The program offers support for employers who are actively recruiting students, young people, persons with disabilities, new drivers and more.

The program offers a range of subsidies for employers. Since July 2020, we have helped employers onboard over 500 youth and students in driving and non-driving roles.

Our progress?  To date, 95% are still employed and 25% are women, which is higher than the industry average of 15%.

The Student Work Placement Program initiative connects employers with the next generation of our non-driving workforce while supporting their wages. We are increasing the job readiness of students and graduates while helping employers grow their talent pipeline directly from the post-secondary candidate pools. Employers can access a maximum of 50%, up to $5,000 for new students hired.

The program also offers a job board, “Job Connect”.  We collect student job opportunities from participating employers and distribute/promote them directly to our post-secondary partners who are working directly with students eager to join our industry.

For more information on how to take advantage of the Career ExpressWay, reach out to [email protected]

Women with Drive Hits the Road

Our employers are also working hard to find new and creative ways to build and support an increasingly diverse and inclusive workforce. We saw record attendance at our Women with Drive Leadership Summit on June 2, 2022, in Toronto, and now with the support of Women and Gender Equality Canada (WAGE) we are re-launching our Women with Drive Hits the Road events. We will be hosting Women with Drive events across the country, highlighting solutions, supports and strategies to increase women’s participation as well as their opportunity for internal advancements within our sector. Delivered in partnership with various regional and provincial partners, these events will focus on the intersectionality of experiences of women and other equity deserving groups. You will have to keep an eye on the THRC Event page and our social feed when we will be in your area next for a WWD event.

Ukraine Response

With the ongoing war in Ukraine, Canada has become a safe haven for many families fleeing the violence. Our sector is well positioned to offer support and opportunity to these newcomers. Craig Faucette, Chief Program Officer of THRC has recently authored a blog with resources and opportunities for our sector to provide support and opportunity while also addressing some of our recruitment challenges. You can read the full blog on the THRC Website.

NEW HR Resources

This fall 2022, THRC will be adding to its suite of resources, releasing five guides that offer a deep dive into HR management areas relevant to our industry employers. The guides will cover topics in the following areas:

  • Compensation
  • Flexible workplace practices
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Workplace wellness
  • Leadership best practices

The Guides are supported by a new suite of practical tools: templates, samples, assessments and more. These 2-to-5-page downloadable documents help employers’ action recommendations found in the Guides. If you need some tips for creating a total rewards statement, compensation philosophy and/or need an example of a flexible workplace policy, these guides can help get you started

Our industry leaders are always looking for the next opportunity to support their employees through strong HR policies put into practice. That’s why THRC is honoured to host our annual Top Fleet Employers at the annual Awards Gala every year. This year’s gala will be held on October 13, 2022, in Toronto, at the Palais Royale. A total of 81 Fleets will be recognized for their outstanding efforts to continually raise the bar of HR excellence within the trucking and logistics sector. These fleets are also anxiously awaiting to find out who will be named HR Leader of the Year. An industry honour that showcases an individual’s contribution to our sector. Tickets for the Gala are selling fast. Be sure to buy your tickets soon to save your seat. We can’t wait to see you there!

The team at THRC is here to help.  For information on any of our initiatives – feel free to reach out to [email protected] and stay in touch by subscribing to our newsletter.

Driver language diversity – building a successful team

Driver language diversity – building a successful team

Craig Faucette

A mix of languages are being used by trucking and logistics employees in the workplace and based on what we heard from industry employers - this mix will continue to diversify.

Trucking HR Canada (THRC) consulted the most recent Census data to determine what languages are being used in the industry and through employer surveys and interviews we further explored if this mix of languages is being considered by companies as they work to foster effective communication in their workplace.

The following is what we found.

Languages Used

According to a custom cross tabulation of labour force data from the Census, in almost all trucking and logistics workplaces you will hear one of Canada’s official languages, as over 98% of truck drivers and fleet managers say that they use either English or French at work. This isn’t the whole story though.

Roughly one quarter of Canadian truck drivers and fleet managers have a non-official language as their mother tongue, as defined by Statistics Canada. Of these most (78% truck drivers and 74% fleet managers) report using a non-official language regularly at work, as defined by Statistics Canada, in addition to one or both official languages.

With a current driver workforce of approximately 291,700, based on current Statistics Canada Labour Force Data, this means we have over 56,800 employees using a language other than English and/or French in our workplaces.

Punjabi is, by far, the most common non-official language used in trucking and logistics workplaces, accounting for 60% of non-official languages used at work by drivers and 33% for fleet managers.

After Punjabi, the most common non-official languages used are German, Spanish, Polish, Russian, Mandarin and Cantonese.

Provincial Distribution

Ontario is home to almost half of Canada’s drivers and fleet managers who use non-official languages at work.  British Columbia has the second highest, followed by Alberta (See Table 1)


Almost 80% of Punjabi speaking drivers are based in Ontario and British Columbia. These provinces are also home to the largest proportions of Mandarin (64% and 30%) and Cantonese (62% and 33%) speaking truck drivers. Alberta and Manitoba are home to most of the truck drivers who use German at 55% and 24% respectively.

Language Diversity in Practice

The majority of language diversity challenges experienced by employers was with their drivers — with over 40% of survey respondents “agreeing” or “somewhat agreeing” that the language diversity of truck drivers is a real challenge.

Employers indicated that ineffective communication overall impedes productivity. Examples given include tasks taking longer to complete, workers taking longer to explain instructions or relay information, and safety or compliance measures being compromised.

This is an important consideration.  With our driver vacancy rate at a record high, increasing the productivity of our current workforce is a business imperative.

The Industry’s Response

Employers are working to build effective lines of communication and two thirds of survey respondents “agree” or “somewhat agree” that their approach to language diversity is effective.

The most common approach amongst our survey respondents to ensure effective communication within a company’s workforce was to hire managers or supervisors who can speak other languages. Others included:

  • hiring staff in other key positions (e.g., dispatcher) who can speak other languages
  • providing language training in French and/ or English
  • posting notices in languages other than French and/ or English
  • encouraging staff to use google translate
  • developing study packets for drivers that display information using visuals and that articulate information in a clear and concise way.

Effective communication is the foundation of strong workplace cultures that supports safety, driver retention, productivity, and more.  Ensuring your employees can effectively communicate with each other, customers, and others is one approach that can help ensure you continue to succeed on all fronts.


Employment, Residency and Jobs for Ukrainians in Canada

Employment, Residency and Jobs for Ukrainians in Canada

Craig Faucette

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine is close to entering its fourth month, more and more Ukrainians are looking to flee the conflict and resettle in welcoming countries. And, Canada is one of many countries opening its doors to Ukrainian newcomers.  As they arrive looking to create a new home, many supports are being made available, such as settlement services, housing and employment services. Our industry is also well positioned to help. The following information describes various pathways into Canada for Ukrainians and how trucking and logistics employers may be able to help.

Pathway to Canada:

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRRC) has introduced new immigration streams for Ukrainians who want to come to Canada temporarily or permanently. A Canada-Ukrainian Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) has been created, which is available for those fleeing the Ukraine and their immediate family members. There are no limits to the number of Ukrainians who can apply. This will eliminate most of the usual visa requirements in order to acquire residency in a timely matter. Their stay can also be extended by two years if needed. The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) has made pending files a priority to renew work permits, study permits, temporary residence and proof of citizenship while Ukrainian nationals are residing in Canada. The Canadian Border Services Agency also has a temporary measure put in place (Administrative Deferral of Removals) in order to delay Ukrainian nationals, currently residing in Canada, from having to leave the country.

Family Sponsorship:

Canadian citizens and permanent residents can apply to sponsor eligible family members to come to Canada. Applications are still to be submitted through usual procedures. Applications for immediate family members will be prioritized by the IRCC through the use of a special family reunification sponsorship pathway.

For more information on the immigration process visit:

Employment for Ukrainian nationals in Canada:

All Ukrainians who come to Canada as part of these measures are eligible to apply for open work permits and employers will be able to hire Ukrainian nationals through the process of CUAET. Employers looking to hire Ukrainian nationals in Canada can set up an employer profile on the Government of Canada’s Job Bank website, and then create a posting and submit a form (provided by the Job Bank site) specifically designed for this purpose. Ukrainian nationals in Canada can also visit the Job Bank’s job board free of cost.

Organizations Supporting Ukrainian Refugees:

There are over 550 organizations helping refugees with settlement and integration into Canadian society.  These organizations help with settlement and adaption services such as health, housing, schooling for children, continuing education, social services, and employment services to just name a few.

Connecting and building relationships with these organizations may be a valuable link to connecting to refugees and providing an avenue for employment with your company.  The Government of Canada has a settlement services finder that refugees can use to look for services in the communities they settle in.  Employers may find the tool useful to identifying local agencies that they can reach out and partner with.

Jobs for Ukrainians Facebook Group:

Facebook groups have been created that aim to facilitate contact between Ukrainians arriving in Canada who are seeking employment and employers who are hiring.  This may be a potential resource to help support Ukrainian newcomers while filling some of your recruitment needs.

As Ukrainians look to seek refuge or make Canada their new home, there are many opportunities for our industry to help make the process much smoother.  Offering opportunities and support to newcomers can help individuals who are fleeing incredibly difficult and traumatic circumstances while providing a head start on a new life in Canada.

Driving Diversity: How to develop DEI policies that work

Driving Diversity: How to develop DEI policies that work

Angela Splinter

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) sometimes feel like a “check the box” exercise, which is why these initiatives can fall short as you try to establish a culture where employees can imagine themselves as key contributors.

For many trucking and logistics employers, just getting started with DEI is the hard part. The longer you wait to develop policies and practices, the more you risk missing out on finding top talent among underrepresented people and reaping the benefits of a more inclusive workplace.

This is why Driving Diversity is the theme of our annual Women with Drive Leadership Summit on June 2 in Toronto.

This year’s conference will examine what it means to hire, train, and retain a more representative workforce in trucking and logistics, with a special emphasis on DEI tools, strategies, and best practices.

Our morning panel includes DEI experts from academia, government, employers, and business who will share ideas and actions they have taken to increase diversity across the industry.

The afternoon features what has quickly become the most popular piece of the program, the Learning Highway, where delegates can participate in speed-learning on topics including:

  • Using social media and marketing to recruit a diverse workforce
  • Workforce planning through diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Canada Labour Code compliance
  • Using industry-specific wage subsidies to support recruiting a diverse workforce

The conference is also a place for HR professionals to network and learn from each other, and to access DEI resources they can take back and share with their own teams.

These resources include Recruiting and Retaining Diverse Communities: An Employer Roadmap. Produced in partnership with the Alberta Motor Transport Association, this guide identifies specific groups that are underrepresented in the industry and provide strategies that can help attract, recruit, and retain diverse talent.

THRC will introduce a suite of tools that HR professionals can use to create and implement effective DEI policies; manage hybrid and flexible workplaces; improve performance appraisals; develop workplace wellness programs; and create a compensation philosophy. Developed specifically for trucking and logistics employers, these resources will be available from the THRC website and provide templates and step-by-step support for HR teams.

DEI policies don’t exist as a “favour” to underrepresented groups. They’re intended to help employers establish and maintain a workplace that is welcoming, supportive, and draws strength from the knowledge and experiences that come from a diverse workforce.

Register and join us in Toronto on June 2 to learn more.

Trucking HR Canada’s wage subsidy programs are now fully part of Emterra’s recruitment strategy

Trucking HR Canada's wage subsidy programs are now fully part of Emterra's recruitment strategy

Janine Welch doesn’t miss a single issue of Trucking HR Canada’s e-bulletin called “HR Insights”. That’s actually how the human resources manager at Emterra Group learned about the organization’s Career ExpressWay initiative and the different wage subsidy programs available.

The Canada-wide waste and recycling company has now hired over 15 new workers with the support of wage and new driver training subsidies available through the program. “We also use the program for different logistics positions,” Welch says to illustrate that, in addition to drivers and the people loading the refuse trucks, the Career Expressway contributed to the successful hiring of staff for roles in multiple departments such as mechanics and mechanic apprentices, dispatchers, operations specialists and marketing & communications experts to name a few.

The financial support is very helpful. It allows us an opportunity to consider and explore different recruitment and attraction strategies. The subsidy offers a fantastic opportunity for young workers to enter the industry and allows Emterra the financial flexibility to hire and train more employees,"

Janine Welch, Human Resources Manager, Emterra Group

Evaluating a candidates’ eligibility for the financial support brought by these Trucking HR Canada programs “up to $10,000 in wage subsidy for a worker aged 30 and under; up to $10,000 to pay the training fees of a new truck driver” has become second nature at the fleet. “As we hire people through our recruitment process, if a potential worker meets the hiring criteria, we submit their name to the program for approval,” Welch says.

With recycling being at the heart of Emterra?s mission, the money saved with Career ExpressWay is reused to find even more new talent. “The financial support is very helpful. It allows us an opportunity to consider and explore different recruitment and attraction strategies. The subsidy offers a fantastic opportunity for young workers to enter the industry and allows Emterra the financial flexibility to hire and train more employees,” says the HR expert who cherishes the concepts of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Besides, the process is seamless. “It was very easy to navigate, and the turnaround time for processing a claim is minimal,” Welch says.

Getting access to young workers represents a considerable value in itself, according to the Emterra Group’s spokesperson. “The shifting demographics make it even more important to attract and retain a young workforce, the wage and the training subsidy programs are very important for companies like Emterra to take advantage of,” she says.

“Young workers bring new ideas and perspectives. They’re always confident to share their ideas and provide feedback. They have a natural attraction and understanding of technology, and a strong desire to make a positive impact in the world. These traits are beneficial in supporting Emterra?s mission of enabling people and businesses to become stewards of the environment.”

Curbside appeal

At 28 years old, Kyle McGlynn-Bye already has several years of experience in the waste and recycling business. He used to be the one running behind the refuse truck to load it. Now he’s the one behind the wheel, as Career ExpressWay funded the training that led him to get his Class 1 licence.

“My dad has been involved with recycling and garbage collection since he and my mom got together, so I’ve been around trucks my whole life,” says the young man from Peterborough, Ontario. But he’s still learning every day, building on his past experience, which gave him an edge as a driver. “I already knew what the job involved. There?s always more to learn, though, with doing this job because there are always new houses, new roads. There’s always something that can make things change in a moment,” he says.

Driving a refuse truck is certainly a unique kind of trucking that requires special skills. It’s a constant stop-and-go and the driver needs to stay focused at all times in case someone pulls out in front of his vehicle. There’s also the challenge of navigating in narrow streets with cars parked on both sides, a situation that gets even worse in wintertime.

Nonetheless, it’s still trucking, a heavily regulated industry. “I didn’t really realize how many rules and regulations there actually were for bigger commercial vehicles than there are for cars. There’s a lot more that you need to pay attention to,? McGlynn-Bye says, referring to what he learned during his subsidized driver training.

“It’s not always easy, but I work with a great group of guys,” McGlynn-Bye summarizes about his new career as a truck driver.

And thanks to Trucking HR Canada?s Career ExpressWay, that group could very well expand soon, according to Janine Welch. “It’s really an excellent program. It’s got lots of opportunities for those young people to get into the trucking and logistics sector. Emterra has been really pleased to be part of the program and we do look forward to continuing our support and participation,” she concludes.

To learn more about the wage subsidy and subsidized driver training programs, and how you too can benefit from this opportunity, please visit THRC Career Expressway or e-mail [email protected].

Trucking HR’s wage subsidy program helped continuous improvement at Arrow Logistics

Trucking HR's wage subsidy program helped continuous improvement at Arrow Logistics

Labour shortages in the trucking and logistics sector have led several employers to use signing bonuses as a recruitment strategy. What if the tables turned? What if there were bonuses or incentives for employers who hire students or young workers?

That’s exactly what Arrow Logistics found through Trucking HR Canada’s Career ExpressWay when they hired a student, and were able to receive a subsidy equivalent to 70% (up to $7,000) of that student hire’s wages through the Student Work Placement Program (SWPP).

I had my HR people look to see if there were any programs that would align with what we are doing and they are the ones who found the program, says McLean Cruthers, Project & Logistics Manager at Arrow Logistics about SWPP.

During a particularly busy period at Arrow, they noticed they needed help in warehouse logistics. The financial support from Trucking HR Canada (THRC) certainly helped Cruthers sell the idea of recruiting additional staff to upper management, he says.

Cruthers, having experienced being a co-op student himself as he began his career, was excited by the opportunity to introduce a young worker to the industry. I myself was a younger person in the industry. I, too, went through a similar student program that I hired with, he recalls.

Jeff Duong, the young man he recruited through the Career ExpressWay program, is 26 years old and on his way to earning a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce with a major in Supply Chain Management at MacEwan University in Edmonton.

My main job was to make sure that containers were arriving at specific times as well as organizing the warehouse and making sure that the products are going at the time that is needed, Duong says about his placement experience.

Getting better all the time

Cruthers liked Duong’s analytic approach to his work. We can always work more on the continuous improvement and, even though we’re doing well now, it doesn’t mean we can’t be doing better, he says.

Duong contributed to improving some aspects of the company’s operations and the partial wage subsidy was an added bonus. By the end of my co-op internship, I was able to improve upon some of the communication as well as inventory accuracy and efficiencies within the warehouse operations, the young man says about his time at Arrow.


Getting work experience before graduating and thus becoming even more attractive to future employers was Duong’s plan when he joined the SWPP. According to Cruthers, it was a win-win situation. It worked both ways. We were giving a student an opportunity and we were getting somebody we could hire for eight months through that contract work and get financial support. When I look just at my division, it helped in the overall bottom line, for sure, he says.

Cruthers helped Duong understand the functioning of the warehouse from the ground up and taught him what the forklift operators and the drivers go through before taking it to the next level of supervising.

You definitely have to be able to balance giving them an everyday job where they can get to a role, have functions that help operate the business on a day-to-day basis and keep the business going while also finding ways to develop through new things that happen as well, Cruthers says.

And new things happen all the time in the trucking and logistics sector, Duong learned. Something that was not in his books at University. You can’t really plan out everything because at the end of the day, when you’re working with trucks there will be things that go wrong all the time, he says about the need to have contingency plans and continually adapt to the situation.

His initial interest in logistics developed during travel in China in 2019, as he was visiting a trade city called Yiwu. I was mesmerized by the amounts of inventory and products that were there. I wanted to understand how that worked, Duong recalls.

Arrow contributed to that understanding. Cruthers says he and Duong had very interesting discussions about the evolution of the whole supply chain environment. Just having engaged conversations about that was, I guess, the most rewarding thing, Cruthers says, referring to the passion he could see in the intern’s eyes.

While it was the first time that Arrow hired a young worker through such an initiative, it probably won’t be the last. If the opportunity is there, for sure we’ll definitely do that, Cruthers says about using the Career ExpressWay program again.

To learn more about the Student Work Placement Program, and how you too can benefit from this opportunity, please visit THRC Career Expressway or e-mail [email protected].