Ontario invests $1.3 million in truck driver training for underrepresented groups

Berita, Otomotif169 Dilihat

The government of Ontario has allocated $1.3 million to the Women’s Trucking Federation of Canada (WTFC) to provide free truck driver training to underrepresented communities in the trucking industry.

Premier Doug Ford announced on June 27 in Ayr, Ont., that the Bridging the Gaps in Trucking program will offer approximately 200 hours of training to 54 individuals from underrepresented groups, including women, newcomers (including immigrants from Ukraine), enabling them to acquire AZ or DZ licenses and secure employment opportunities in the industry.

Premier Ford emphasized the vital role of the trucking industry in Ontario, highlighting its impact on various sectors. Recognizing the current labor shortage, he expressed concern over the low representation of women, who currently account for only 2% of truck drivers in the province. Additionally, Ford noted that the trucking industry in Ontario is experiencing a “historic” labor shortage, with 6,100 job vacancies that need to be filled.

Shelley Walker, CEO of WTFC, expressed that given the prevailing circumstances, this initiative is well-timed as it not only helps overcome employment obstacles but also contributes to the growth of Ontario’s economy.

To eliminate obstacles for participants, the program offers various forms of support. This includes up to $1,000 for transportation and childcare assistance, $300 for necessary equipment, and a weekly allowance of $400.

The funding provided aims to support underrepresented groups in the trucking industry. Premier Ford emphasizes that it will facilitate greater participation of women in the sector. However, Shelley Walker highlights that the funding is not limited to a specific gender but extends to all underrepresented groups in trucking, including at-risk youth.

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“We are collaborating with the Solicitor General’s office to assist individuals with previous incarcerations in finding meaningful employment and providing them with a second chance,” she shared.

According to Walker, the program will commence with two weeks of soft skills training conducted by WTFC. This will be followed by eight to nine weeks of in-truck training, which will be provided by DriveWise in the GTA, Crossroads Truck Training Academy in Ottawa, and Transport Driver Training in Kitchener.

Upon the completion of the training, participants will engage in a four-week job placement facilitated by WTFC, in collaboration with a selected carrier group.

Despite the province’s announcement that the first round of in-person training is set to begin on July 1, Walker disclosed that the program’s final specifics are still being ironed out.

The funding is provided through the Skills Development Fund, a $700-million initiative by the government designed to support programs that equip job seekers with the necessary training and skills to secure well-paid employment opportunities in Ontario. The fund plays a crucial role in fostering the economic growth of the province.

Minister Monte McNaughton, responsible for labor, immigration, training, and skills development, affirmed the government’s commitment to ongoing investments in the trucking sector.

He voiced, “Truckers are the often-overlooked heroes who play a crucial role in maintaining the seamless functioning of our economy. It is imperative to create additional avenues for individuals to pursue these rewarding and meaningful professions.”

He proudly stated, “I am proud to have made Ontario the first province in Canada to secure the right for truckers to access washrooms. Our government remains committed to investing in training to ensure that every individual in our community has the opportunity to earn higher wages, benefiting themselves and their families.”

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WTFC is presently welcoming applications for the training program.

Source : trucknews.com