Food In Canada

Nationwide truck driver shortage threatens Canada’s supply chains and economy

By Food in Canada Staff   

Business Operations Food In Canada Editor pick Food Manufacturing supply chain

Photo © Hor / Adobe Stock

Canada is experiencing a nationwide truck driver shortage that, in recent years, has resulted in shipment delays, out-of-stock retail shelves, and increased prices. The current workforce is rapidly approaching retirement and without a concrete solution to attract and retain new drivers, the existing, unsustainable model poses a risk to the national economy.

A newly released white paper by PwC Canada commissioned by Food, Health & Consumer Products of Canada (FHCP), reveals the Canadian trucking industry currently suffers from 20,000 vacant driver positions, which, given the increasing average driver age, will soon grow to 30,000 without systemic change. Combined with weak driver utilization practices, a poor perception of the industry from potential recruits, and demographic gaps in the existing workforce, the trucking industry is in a critical position, requiring investment from all stakeholders to bridge the growing gap.

The white paper, titled Truck Driver Shortage in Canada, is the result of extensive research enhanced with executive interviews with some of Canada’s largest manufacturers, surveys, on-site facility visits, conversations with existing drivers, and thorough data analysis. It presents actionable solutions that aim to address the existing driver shortage by suggesting new ways to attract drivers, retain the current driver pool, and increase efficiency through technological advancements and strengthening industry cross-collaboration.

“The last couple of years have shown how fragile Canada’s supply chains are,” says Frank Scali, vice-president, Industry Affairs with FHCP. “From a pandemic to weather related disasters and interprovincial trade barriers, Canada has enough unpredictable factors that threaten the stability of our supply chains. The truck driver shortage is one that can be easily mitigated if industry and government can collaborate and invest in the right places.”


Among the proposed solutions, Truck Driver Shortage in Canada covers:

  • how to improve the image of the profession through strategic advertising that highlights technological advancements and shares personal success stories to a targeted, diverse talent pool;
  • how government can aid in removing high training costs and lengthy courses as entry barriers;
  • the need for transparent compensation packages that support a healthier lifestyle for employees, deemed critical for the new generation of drivers;
  • providing a better on-site experience to ensure drivers are respected and safe; and
  • improved efficiency across the supply chain through digitization.

The future health of Canada’s supply chains depends on both industry and government to act now to address the truck driver shortage, leveraging the entire network of stakeholders wherever possible to ensure a collaborative approach.

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