In a recent appearance at the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food, representatives from the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers and the National Cattle Feeders Association raised concern over the truck driver shortage and its impact on supply chain efficiency.
This warning comes off the heels of the auto parts sector raising similar concerns to the Standing Committee on Finance regarding dwindling trucking capacity throughout the economy and the impact on their members’ operations.
“Trucks move the economy and without more commercial truck drivers, supply chain issues raised by the users of truck transportation will continue and intensify as the North American economy strengthens,” said CTA President Stephen Laskowski.
Gary Cands, SVP, Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers, raised the issue of rising costs related to truck transportation at a recent Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food:
“The cumulative impacts to the entire supply chain that arise from these challenges are not always borne entirely equally. We know that many of our members are seeing cost increases from suppliers in the range of 25% to 30%. They are seeing trucking costs more than double, and fuel surcharges have gone through the roof,” he said.
The National Cattle Feeders Association (NFCA) Chair, James Bekkering, also highlighted the issue of the driver shortage:
“The international (vaccine) mandate has definitely had an effect. It has taken another portion of the workforce out of what is already an industry with a short supply of truckers,” he said.
To address the driver shortage, the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) is calling on the federal government to support a proposal by Trucking HR Canada that would assist Canadians in dealing with the costs of associated driver training, including reforms to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program which would better protect the labour rights of new entrants into Canada and streamline the application process for these safe and compliant trucking firms, as well as a crackdown on the underground economy in the trucking industry.
CTA continues to lobby for these changes through various Government of Canada processes including the Supply Chain Summit.