Camioneros Latinos en Canadá (“Latin American Truck Drivers in Canada”) is a group of drivers from Latin America that resides at and works in Canada under the principles of unity, trust, and mutual assistance. Its main goal consists in encouraging the professional improvement of its members through education, training, and adoption of the best practices in terms of safety, driving techniques, service, and behavior in order to promote the growth, sustainability, and profitability of the transportation industry.
Furthermore, it provides and spreads information through communication networks to Latin American companies and drivers that are looking for new opportunities for business and professional growth in Canada.
TRUCK DRIVER SHORTAGE CRISIS IN CANADA
In 2013, the Conference Board du Canada (The Conference Board of Canada) reported that about 4,000 to 7,000 truck drivers will be needed by 2020; that is to say, an average of 1,200 to 1,500 truck drivers per year. However, recent studies carried out by the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) revealed that the shortage of manpower in road transportation in Canada could reach 33,000 truck drivers by 2020, 48,000 by 2024, and the worrying number of more than 900,000 together with the United States of America in the next decade.
As a result, many companies had to paralyze part of their activities, while other companies were compelled to reject new contracts, lose clients, or close down.
The companies, as well as the government, tried to, with limited results, adopt different strategies with the aim of modifying the perception of this profession in order to attract especially young people and women, who are still a minority in this industry.
• Weekends at home.
• Routes chosen as preferred by the truck driver.
• A working week of three or four days.
• Reimbursement of study expenses.
• Schedules that allow drivers to alternate work with study.
THE PRIMARY CHALLENGE OF THE INDUSTRY
Hiring and reducing the high rates of labor turnover, which are among the highest ones in comparison to other industries.
THE GOAL OF THE PROJECT
It consists in encouraging and motivating the over-the-road trucking companies in Canada to hire truck drivers from Latin America.
WHY HIRING LATIN AMERICAN MANPOWER?
• Because it reduces the high rates of labor turnover. A foreign employee that wants to work in Canada under the LMIA program needs to sign an exclusive contract with the company that requires him. Under such contract, the worker is NOT allowed to change employer during the term fixed by the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). Thus, job stability is guaranteed, which ensures a higher return-on-investment ratio.
• Because the Latin American roads are among the most demanding and dangerous roads of the world due to their steep geography and to the extreme climate conditions that demand highly qualified truck drivers with wide experience in safety and driving techniques, which corresponds to the ideal profile for the North American roads.
• Because, unlike the trucks used in Europe and Asia, the trucks used in Latin America are mostly made in North America. Thus, truck drivers are well trained and experienced in the use of manual transmission and air brakes and the adequate handling of cargo.
• Because Latin American truck drivers have a solid base in truck mechanics due to the fact that several routes are isolated: access to services in such places can be impossible and truck drivers cannot be helped on time. Such knowledge allows truck drivers to make correct and accurate diagnoses of the mechanical issues that may arise while driving through the routes of Canada and the United States.
• Because the Latin American culture, habits, and customs are quite similar to the Canadian ones. This allows the processes of labor, social, and community adaptation and integration to be faster and more fluent in comparison with migrant workers from other countries whose lifestyles differ from the Canadian ones.
• Because hiring truck drivers from Europe became increasingly difficult. According to the report of the European Road Freight Transport in the United Kingdom, in 2018, in Germany, France, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, the shortage of truck drivers rose up to 127,500, which is similar to the situation that Canada and the United States are currently dealing with. On the contrary, Latin American countries have many truck drivers to supply local demand. This allows a faster selection and hiring of qualified workers to fill the available truck driver positions in Canada.
Challenge: Latin American drivers have poor knowledge of English and French.
• Attending different free language courses offered by the government.
• Creating manuals, guides, and dictionaries that are focused on road transportation.
• Encouraging companies to hire bilingual personnel to act as intermediaries and translators among the drivers and the different company’s departments.
Challenge: Reducing costs related to the hiring process.
• Evaluating and training drivers in their homelands so as to incorporate them in the country of destiny as soon as possible.
• Encouraging companies to hire bilingual personnel to act as intermediaries and translators among the drivers and the different company’s departments, which is cheaper than maintaining the trucks in the parking lots.
• Taking into account that it is cheaper for the workers to travel to North America from Latin America than from Europe or Asia.
WE ARE PART OF THE SOLUTION
Camioneros Latinos en Canadá is not registered in any association or formally-constituted organization. We are truck drivers interested in promoting hiring programs for Latin American workers with the aim of proposing feasible and lasting solutions for the current freight industry crisis in Canada.
We can provide information, help, assistance, and support for the following tasks:
• The research for professional and experienced drivers in Latin America.
• The selection and hiring processes.
• The training of drivers in their homelands to speed up labor integration.
• The management of the migration and other legal processes with professional assistants from the government.
• The strategies for language issues between the companies and the drivers.
• The preparation of a complete support program for drivers and their families in the processes of integration and adaptation to the company and the new culture. This program includes welcoming drivers in the country upon arrival, accommodation in the first days after arrival, support in the process of finding a house, acquisition of suitable clothing and provision of food, acquisition of furniture, the opening of a bank account, the registration to receive medical care, assistance in the process of sending children to school, etc.