One important lesson that the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us is the importance of ensuring smooth transport of essential products and services across the country.
Here’s a What-If scenario.
What if Canada did not have enough truck drivers during the pandemic?
Would the pandemic have been brought under control so effectively?
Would people have followed strict lockdowns if basic goods and services were scarce?
Would Canada’s vaccination strategy been successful if it were not possible to smoothly transport the vaccines across the country?
Canada’s pandemic struggles would have been far worse without its robust and efficient transportation sector. However, the future does not look so good because all the numbers suggest Canada is staring at a huge shortage of transport drivers in the future.
As per latest available data, Canada needs more than 17,000 transport drivers every year through 2025. And that’s just to cater to existing demand. It’s obvious that demand for transport and logistic services won’t just stagnate, which means the actual number of new drivers required every year may be in excess of 20,000 drivers per years.
Another issue is that Canada’s trucking industry has more aged workers as compared to other occupations. Around one in three male transport drivers in Canada is 55 years or older, as compared to one in five workers across all occupations in Canada.
And then, some provinces rely significantly on the transport sector to maintain economic growth. More than half of Alberta’s GDP is delivered by the trucking industry, which means shortage of drivers will have a direct and disproportionate impact on all sectors of the province’s economy.
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Good News for Truck Drivers Across the World
Canada’s time-tested strategy to deal with any labor shortage is to look for skilled or semi-skilled workers abroad. The hospitality industry is already reeling from the impact of shortage of workers after the pandemic. A similar situation in the transport sector can be disastrous for the entire country.
So, if you are a transport driver, then a move to Canada may be a fantastic decision for you, your career, and for the Canadian economy as well.
Overview of PR Options for Commercial Truck Drivers
There are multiple PNP streams for commercial truck drivers. Some are streams designed specifically to address the shortage while other streams focus on in-demand occupations with truck drivers added to the list of such occupations.
Saskatchewan Experience Category
Saskatchewan has a Long Haul Truck Driver Project as a part of its Saskatchewan Experience Category PNP.
To qualify, you must have six months work experience as a truck driver in the province and a positive LMIA. With a full-time job offer, Class 1 driver’s license, and CLB 4 or higher language proficiency, you can qualify for permanent residence.
British Columbia Skills Immigration Stream
The Entry level and Semi-skilled category of the BC PNP stream cover commercial transport drivers. This PR option is available to those with at least nine months work experience in BC along with a full-time job offer, BC Class 1 driver’s license and CLB 4 language proficiency.
The Northwest Territories’ stream for Entry-level/Semi-Skilled Occupations covers all NOC C and D occupations.
Like Saskatchewan and BC, you must have worked as a temporary foreign worker for at least six months in the province to qualify for permanent residence.
Other requirements include positive LMIA, CLB 4 or higher language proficiency, and CAD$10,000 as proof of funds to establish and maintain self in the province with an additional CAD$2,000 per dependent family member.
Yukon Critical Impact Worker
Yukon’s PNP stream for NOC C and D occupations covers truck drivers as well. The requirements are similar to other provinces with minimum six-months work experience, CELPIP or IELTS 4 score and minimum high school qualification.
Planning your Canada PR as a Truck Driver
A look at PNP streams of different provinces throws up some important points that you must consider when planning your PR strategy.
- PR is open only to those with work experience in the province. This means you need to focus on entering Canada on a work permit with positive LMIA, work as a truck driver, and then apply for PR.
- Provinces don’t recognize work experience in other parts of Canada, which means you need to choose your province when searching for a job and applying for a work permit very carefully.
Common requirements include a full-time job offer, Class 1 Driver’s license, high school education, CLB 4 or higher language proficiency, and high school graduation.
This means simply searching for truck driver jobs at random and hoping you will qualify for permanent residence won’t be a smart move. Instead, you need professional immigration guidance to shortlist the right provinces so that you can move from work permit to permanent residence in Canada without any hassles.