If you look back in February 2020, the Canadian trucking industry was already faced with a shortage of labour of 20,000 jobs. This shortage is expected to jump to 50,000 by 2024. Consumer needs were at an all time high with more and more online shopping, economy was steady, and unemployment rate was reasonably low across the country. Enter the COVID-19 pandemic, within weeks, millions of Canadians lost their jobs, everyone scrambling to get by in the new normal. Some businesses during this crisis grew but most had to deal with layoffs, work reductions, and closures.
Impact on the Trucking Industry
COVID-19 completely changed the trucking industry, even though trucking was identified as an essential service and exempt from many restrictions, but those drivers who transported non-essential businesses, or non-essential goods, were suddenly out of work with no end date in sight. Meanwhile, those drivers who were fortunate enough to keep working were faced with a dilemma, keep working during the pandemic and risk being exposed to the virus which could endanger not only them but also their families or refuse work and stay home and risk losing their only source of income.
COVID-19 had an impact on business owners whose livelihood depended on truck drivers delivering goods, they saw a huge decrease in the number of drivers returning to work, which only worsens the existing driver shortage issue – even when the economy goes back to its regular pace.