Is Trucking a Good Career Choice for Newcomers to Canada?
Recent labour shortages mean plenty of opportunities for immigrants.
Being a long-haul truck driver allows you to see every corner of Canada, earn a good wage, and enjoy extended breaks in between contracts and jobs. It is an excellent career choice for any newcomer to Canada, and there are many companies looking to hire foreigners and recent immigrants.
The Canadian trucking industry is experiencing severe labour shortages and there are plenty of opportunities for work. All you need is a clean driving record, a work permit (more on those later), and a desire to meet targets and deadlines. Simple as that! A new career in long-haul truck driving could be yours.
What is it like working as a Long-Haul Trucker?
Long-haul truckers can spend up to two weeks at a time on the road and drive for 12 hours or longer in one day. You need stamina, dedication, and a strong work ethic. To help you pass the hours, it may be worth investing in some audio books and subscribing to podcasts.
The salary range for a Canadian long haul trucker is from $55,000 to $65,000 per year, equal to most careers that require a trades ticket or university degree, so this is an excellent opportunity for anyone who likes to drive. Many companies also pay for bonuses by the kilometer, allowing you to earn even more.
Long-haul truckers have some flexibility and freedom to set their own schedule, but once you commit to a job or contract, keeping your word is the most important part. You need to commit to arriving on time, every time. If you fail to meet your deadlines, you will find yourself out of a job, with no positive reference to take to other companies.
What are the Duties of a Long-Haul Truck Driver in Canada?
If you’re employed as a long-haul trucker, there are some typical duties you can expect:
- Conduct thorough pre-trip inspections of your truck, including assessing the equipment, tires, cold storage unit, lights, tires, and brakes.
- Know how to execute emergency roadside repairs.
- Obtain special permits and other necessary documents to transport cargo on international routes.
- Record a detailed list of cargo information, distance travelled, fuel consumption, and other pertinent information in the provided logbook or on-board computer.
- Communicate with other drivers and your company’s dispatcher using a “citizens’ band” (CB) radio, your phone, and an on-board computer.
- Drive articulated or straight trucks that weigh more than 4600 kg and have three or more axles.
- Transport goods, food, and materials to destinations across the country, often in inclement weather.
- Oversee all maintenance of your vehicle, ensuring that it is fit for predicted road conditions and has the correct tire grade.
- Oversee loading and unloading cargo, including performing spot quality checks and ensuring that everything is stored and secured safely.
- Be comfortable driving in two-person teams or long convoys of trucks, particularly in more dangerous road conditions.
- Understand how to care for and maintain any hazardous materials or dangerous goods.
- If you’re employed via the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), understand how the rules and restrictions apply to your employment.
Why are Trucking Companies Looking to Hire Newcomers to Canada?
Trucking associations across the country are facing serious labour shortages as long-haul truckers get older and younger generations are drawn to different industries. Their proposed solution? Hire more newcomers to Canada, and more immigrants in general.
While certain labour unions aren’t thrilled at this prospect, one thing is for certain – there are plenty of long-haul trucking jobs available for newcomers to Canada who have the gumption, desire, and drive (pun intended). Some foreigners are even being recruited using the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
What is the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP)?
The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) enables employers to hire people without work permits and visas to fill certain jobs in industries facing labour shortages in Canada.
If you’re applying to become a truck driver under the TFWP, it may be a temporary position. This designation is only short-term and you need to show government officials that you’re ready, willing, and able to leave the country on short notice.
How can Newcomers to Canada Apply to Work in the Trucking Industry?
A good place to start is to get in touch with the trucking association in your desired province and familiarize yourself with the truck driving requirements in Canada.
The federal government's job bank offers more than 4,000 vacancies and applying can help you obtain a TFWP or a more permanent visa. If you receive a job offer from a pre-approved listing by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, they can help you with the correct paperwork you need to start work.
Good luck with your job search!