Manitoba is poised to become the first province to make driving a commercial vehicle a designated occupation.
According to the Winnipeg Free Press, the wheels are in motion after an agreement by the province’s Apprenticeship and Certification Board to develop a commercial truck driver designation.
The decision comes on the heels of a Conference Board of Canada report that warns the trucking industry may face a gap between supply and demand for truck drivers of more than 30,000 by 2020.
The move in Manitoba is seen as one element needed to aid in the recruitment and retention of truck drivers, as highlighted by the Conference Board study and last year’s landmark report by the Canadian Trucking Alliance Blue Ribbon Task Force on the Driver shortage.
The report suggests companies have had challenges recruiting drivers for a number of reasons, including the profession has never had any official standing. Creating a certification process and making truck driving a designated occupation won’t be a magic bullet, the WFP article notes, but provincial and industry officials believe it won’t hurt.
“Everyone is saying it makes sense to be able to have a clear set of standards to go and train individuals and actively participate in the labour market as truck drivers,” said Paul Holden, the executive director of Apprenticeship Manitoba. “The other thing is the individual is now going to get a formal credential, which is very different from the way the industry operated in the past.”
Terry Shaw of the Manitoba Trucking Association said all the provincial trucking associations and the Canadian Trucking Alliance are working together to try to standardize these credentials.
For the full WFP article click here.