Following 2020: here’s what trucking and logistics HR pros should expect next

By: Angela Splinter

As an unsettled 2020 comes to an end, let’s look at what 2021 will have in store for our trucking and logistics workplaces.

The modernization of Canada’s Labour Code

In what our own Policy Analyst Marisha Tardif has likened to a “legislative tsunami,” recent amendments to the Canada Labour Code include new labour standards, wage-fairness rules, and occupational health and safety requirements.

Many of these regulations took effect in September 2019 but several are yet to come. Notably, the amendments of Bill C-65 and the accompanying regulations which protect against harassment and violence in the workplace.

The Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations, published in June, make a long-awaited detail official: new anti-harassment and violence provisions will take effect on January 1, 2021.

The regulations will apply to all workplaces covered under Part II of the Canada Labour Code, including many trucking and logistics employers.

NOC updates

Canada is now conducting its 10-year review of the National Occupational Classification (NOC), the federal system for categorizing job types in the country, including truck driving.

The next release includes new job-skill classifications that address concerns about how the federal government incorporates formal and informal training, education, and work experience into the NOC.

In early 2021 we will see how truck drivers are classified in the new system, and how it will affect federal programs.

Training and wage subsidies

With the events of 2020 clearly demonstrating how important this industry is, Trucking HR Canada was able to access federal funds for training and wage subsidies for jobs in trucking and logistics.

Our Career ExpressWay program has successfully supported the training and onboarding of close to 100 young people across the country, in driving positions, logistics, IT support, administration, and more. It provides up to $10,000 for driver training and up to $15,000 in wage subsidy per employee.

Our hope is that we can expand our program in 2021 to better connect our industry to Canadians of all ages looking for meaningful work in a sector with loads of career opportunities.

Diversity and inclusion

No longer buzzwords, workplace diversity and inclusion will remain a focus of Trucking HR Canada as we help employers expand the pipeline of talent into our industry.

One key initiative is our 2021 Women with Drive Leadership Summit, planned for March 10th.  With an international flair, we look forward to learning from and virtually connecting with a global network of women who have stepped up in their respective countries in responding to the challenges of COVID-19.

Driver shortages

Whether you believe it or not, we are on track for more acute driver shortages.

That is why Trucking HR Canada is planning to bring together industry stakeholders to define the root causes of our recruitment and retention challenges, from compensation structures to the nature of long-haul trucking driving itself.

The shortage of qualified drivers is an enduring issue. But there are always new approaches and new ideas that can inform innovative and practical solutions.

Growing our Top Fleet Employers

Now in its eighth year, our Top Fleet Employers program has grown steadily.

Our Top Fleet Employers are leaders in promoting a positive image of trucking and logistics and offering great places to work. By sharing sound HR policies and practices, they set an important example as we reach out to young people, women, and other job seekers.

Each year trucking and logistics companies undergo a rigorous application process but only the best are recognized as Top Fleet Employers. Applications close January 28, and you can click here to learn more: https://truckinghr.com/top-fleet-employers/

 

COVID-19

Where things will go in 2021 is anyone’s guess, but we know for sure that trucking and logistics will be pivotal to ensuring all essential goods—from food to fuel, and even more importantly, vaccines—get to all Canadians.

Rest assured that Trucking HR Canada and all of our partners are here to support you in ensuring you have the skilled workforce you need to make that happen.

Cheers to 2021.

Recruiting and Retaining Diverse Communities: An Employer Roadmap

Sizing up the labour market—and what to do next

Sizing up the labour market—and what to do next

February 18, 2020 by Angela Splinter

Labour shortages in trucking and logistics are an ongoing concern. Employers and employees across the country feel increasing pressure from longer recruiting processes, reduced productivity, and the fact that our pool simply continues to shrink.

To quantify the problem, Trucking HR Canada (THRC) launched a Labour Market Information Project in the summer of 2018. More recently, we partnered with The Conference Board of Canada on a comprehensive survey to more accurately assess the industry’s labour needs.

This work is important for businesses in trucking and logistics. But it’s also clear that understanding the industry’s labour needs affects all Canadians.

In 2019, the trucking and logistics sector employed 3.6% of Canada’s workforce, or just over 650,000 workers. And, while 45% of these employees are truck drivers, we also employ close to 90,000 people in shipping and receiving, close to 88,000 delivery and courier service drivers, and just over 36,000 material handlers at warehouses and distribution centers.

The size of our impact

Transportation is one of 10 critical sectors on which Canada’s economy and national security depends, as identified by Public Safety Canada’s “National Cross Sector Forum 2018-2020 Action Plan for Critical Infrastructure.”

Trucking and logistics companies connect consumers, businesses, and international markets that are vital to our economy. According to the Conference Board of Canada, the sector carries an estimated $550 billion worth of goods purchased by Canadians and more than $300 billion worth of Canadian goods destined to export markets (this does not even include wheat and crude oil).

And we support the nine other critical infrastructure sectors: energy and utilities, information and communication technology, finance, health, food, water, safety, government, and manufacturing. These pillars of our economy depend on a healthy trucking and logistics industry.

The size of our workforce

In 2019, the trucking and logistics sector employed 3.6% of Canada’s workforce, or just over 650,000 workers. And, while 45% of these employees are truck drivers, we also employ close to 90,000 people in shipping and receiving, close to 88,000 delivery and courier service drivers, and just over 36,000 material handlers at warehouses and distribution centers.

And let’s not forget the many others who keep operations going: an estimated 40,000 managers, supervisors, and administrative staff, and 9,000 accounting personnel.

The size of our problem

According to Statistics Canada’s Job Vacancy and Wage Survey, the truck transportation industry experienced an average job vacancy rate of 6.8% in 2019. This is the second-highest vacancy rate among Canadian industries after crop production, and more than double the national average of 3.3%.

Put differently, we’re unable to fill roughly one out of 15 open positions, most of them truck drivers. In fact, the total number of truck driver vacancies in Canada has increased from an annual average of 8,600 in 2016 to 20,500 in the first three quarters of last year.

Against this backdrop, it may come as little surprise that 61% of employers who responded to our survey reported difficulties filling truck driver positions within the past year.

One reason is demographics. According to the 2016 Census, 32% of truck drivers in Canada are 55 years or older compared to 21% of the entire Canadian labour force. More than 6% of our drivers are 65 and older. It is difficult to compete for younger workers.

Call to action

Our industry’s shortage of workers—and drivers in particular—affects individual businesses, Canada’s transportation infrastructure, and the overall economy.

We need to work quickly on solutions. As a first step, on March 11, we’re making sure everyone is aware of the severity of the situation.

We’re now finalizing our briefing report in partnership with the Conference Board of Canada and will release the results of our Labour Market Information Project at a press conference in Toronto on March 11 at Noon EST.

If you cannot make it to Toronto, please register to watch the event live via our web cast. We also encourage you to reach out to your provincial trucking association. Many will be joining via webcast in their offices.

Immediately following the press conference, we will hold a Workforce Knowledge Exchange—a discussion that will focus on identifying specific actions now that we have comprehensive data about our labour market.

Space is still available. Feel free to reach out to [email protected] to learn more.

Connector Guide

Enabling the Trucking Workforce – Connector Guide

Supporting Persons with Disabilities: A Roadmap for Canada’s Trucking and Logistics Industry

Supervisor – Physical Demands Assessments (PDAs)

Shunt Driver – Physical Demands Assessments (PDAs)

Safety and Loss Prevention Specialist – Physical Demands Assessments (PDAs)

Heavy Equiptment Mechanic – Physical Demands Assessments (PDAs)