Proposal to import immigrant truck drivers receives pushback

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A proposal by the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) to begin a pilot program that would import immigrant drivers into Canada to help satisfy the need for more truckers has drawn criticism from Teamster’s Canada, the country’s largest transportation union.

It calls the OTA’s proposal a horrific idea. “Trucking companies can’t move overseas, so they’re trying to bring cheap labor to Canada,” François Laporte, the president of Teamsters Canada, said in a news release. “Instead of trying to suppress wage growth, the Ontario Trucking Association should be looking at ways to give truckers a big raise.”

In a recent interview with a news outlet, president of the Ontario Trucking Association, Stephen Laskowski, made the case for the need to import immigrant labor. “The driver shortage became more acute in 2018 due to the fact that we have a large percentage of individuals over the age of 55 driving… we’re facing older demographics, more retirements and, at the same time, more demand,” said Laskowski, who is also the president of the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA).

According to a 2016 study conducted by the Trucking Alliance of Canada, the industry will be short 34,000 drivers by 2024. “It’s only expected it to get worse in 2019. This is an issue from a supply-chain perspective and we need to find a solution to it,” Laskowski warned.

In recent years, Sikh truck drivers have emerged as the clear majority of the Canadian trucking industry. Industry experts now estimate that about 60% of the Canadian trucking industry is controlled by people of Punjabi origin.

And this is happening in the US as well. Punjabis are the fastest growing population of truck drivers in North America. In fact, the North American Punjabi Trucking Association (NAPTA) estimates that Sikhs control about 40% of trucking in California. -CINEWS

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