Summer 2021

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By Jordan Ewart, Manager of Policy & Government Relations, Saskatchewan Trucking Association

Throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen national campaigns aimed at spotlighting professional truck drivers going above and beyond to keep Canada’s supply chain intact.

The service our industry provides is without a doubt essential, and the gratitude being shown to drivers across Saskatchewan
has been noteworthy.

Each day, the trucking industry is seen in action on our roads and highways, but a successful day starts behind the scenes. Where does the success of the industry start? In the office, dispatch room, or warehouse, a good employer sets the tone for the day. Due to COVID-19, employers have be tasked with being creative in order to maintain the safety, mental and emotional well-being of their drivers.

I decided to connect with the STA membership and learn how employers are going above and beyond for their drivers during these challenging times.

Employers may be limited in what they can do for their drivers, but they are being as creative as possible to keep driver morale high. Whether it’s handing out Valentine’s Day goodies from the tailgate of a pickup truck in the parking lot or delivering prepackaged breakfasts and PPE, employers are doing what they can to help their essential front-line workers.

In my conversations with STA members, one point that was heavily emphasized: carriers have had to diversify how they do business, which includes how they manage their drivers.

Companies are still recognizing drivers and their significant safety milestones with industry awards and more. Actions like these help to build a strong company culture and maintain company retention. Thanks to Trucking HR Canada, we know that in Western Canada, provinces face higher voluntary turnover. Saskatchewan sits at about 17%, which is well ahead of the national voluntary turnover rate of 13%. This stat raises the challenge of retaining drivers. Between 2015-2018, the truck driver occupation saw a 62% increase in job vacancies across the entire Canadian sector.

Saskatchewan has not been immune to the increase in vacancies. In 2019, the numbers show that there were 3,220 transport truck driver positions to fill: the highest of all occupations where only high school is required.

Let’s not be too bleak, though. The driver shortage is real and labour demands continue to be a priority in Saskatchewan –
but I guarantee that employers with a strong company culture, a record of retaining drivers, and strong workplace policies are having greater success retaining their drivers.

If you are looking for ways to show appreciation for your drivers during the pandemic, keep it simple. Sometimes in life, it is the simple things that keep you motivated and fuelled. Thank you to employers who make their drivers feel valued!

As we reach a critical time of the COVID-19 pandemic, the STA has kept professional drivers in mind. From donating hand sanitizer to working with the government to secure voluntary vaccines for Saskatchewan Class 1A drivers crossing the Canada/U.S. border.

Driver safety is essential and ensuring our industry’s front-line workers have access to vaccines is our priority. We all need to work together to go the extra mile.


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