Trucker shortage looms for Alberta
Province expected to need 6,200 drivers by 2020
Alberta is going to have a severe shortage of truck drivers by the end of the decade, according to a new report.
The Conference Board of Canada study predicts that by 2020 the province will need an extra 6,200 truck drivers to keep the economy rolling.
The shortage will be about 25,000 countrywide, according to the report which was funded by the Canadian Trucking Alliance.
An aging workforce is a big part of the problem, said Emmet Callaghan who owns a truck driver training school in Calgary.
"The age of current truck drivers is getting old, like the baby boomers are moving through the system and there will be a shortage and the industry is growing as well, so it's kind of a double hit," he said.
The Conference Board report says a few things should be done to help make the job more attractive, such as higher wages, better working conditions and upgraded licence standards.
Twenty-year veteran driver Peter Goodfellow agrees.
"A Class1 licence is a professional licence, but it's not recognized as a certified trade so the wages are low and the wages do not compensate for the time away from your family," he said.
According to the Canadian Trucking Alliance, trucks haul about 90 per cent of the goods we buy and sell as well as most of the items traded with the U.S.
In a bid to address the looming shortage of drivers the province is looking at providing loans or grants to people considering becoming truckers. The training course costs about $7,500.
"I drive down the road and every second truck that passes me I see advertises for drivers, we need drivers," said Goodfellow.