The Ontario government is spending $1.3 million to prepare 54 women, newcomers, and others from underrepresented groups for careers in the trucking industry.
Led by the Women’s Trucking Federation of Canada, this free project will provide participants with up to 200 hours of training needed to obtain AZ (tractor-trailer) and DZ (straight truck) licenses. Instructors will use both virtual reality systems and in-cab, hands-on training to teach job seekers how to operate a commercial vehicle, conduct inspections, maintain the vehicles, and understand commercial vehicle systems and controls.
The project will also cover training for forklift operation, defensive driving, workplace violence and harassment, and human trafficking awareness. After completing the program, the Women’s Trucking Federation of Canada will work with graduates to ensure they are employed as professional drivers.
To remove barriers to participation, participants will be eligible to receive up to $1,000 for transportation and childcare support, $300 for equipment and a $400 weekly allowance. The first cohort of in-person training begins July 1 and will be available in Kitchener-Waterloo, the Greater Toronto Area, Ottawa, and London.
According to the Ontario provincial government, at least 6,100 more truck drivers are needed to fill driving job vacancies. Only 2 percent of Ontario truck drivers are women, which is why the program will reimburse up to $4,500 for childcare and other living expenses.
“This innovative program will help break down barriers to attract more women into the trucking industry,” said Ontario Premier Doug Ford. “As we build Ontario, we’re going to need all hands on deck. That’s why our government is working hard to ensure that all skilled occupations are more accessible and welcoming for women and all under-represented groups.”