March 16, 2023

Bus and truck drivers eligible for Express Entry

On November 16, 2022, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) updated its National Occupation Classification (NOC) system to the latest NOC 2021 version. The update included 16 new occupations eligible for Express Entry, among them transport truck drivers and bus drivers, two occupations that are currently facing significant labor shortages across Canada. This update is expected to be a significant relief for the transportation industry and students who rely on these services.


Canada's School Bus Driver Shortage

Canada has been experiencing a shortage of school bus drivers in several parts of the country for many years. Factors such as low wages and retirements during the pandemic have made it difficult for many communities across the country to find transportation for their students. Labor shortages in this industry have led to the cancellation of many student events across Canada, such as the 8000-student cross-country meet organized by one Catholic School Board in London, Ontario, in October 2022.

In October 2022, Global News reported that the school bus driver shortage in Montreal forced the cancellation of several bus routes, which is similar to what happened in one Yellowknife community in the first week of 2023. According to Transport Canada, 2.2 million children in Canada travel to and from school on buses every day. Therefore, labor shortages in this industry can have a significant impact on the lives of many young Canadians who rely on these methods to get to and from school daily.


Canada's Truck Driver Shortage

The truck driving industry is vital to the progression of the national supply chain across Canada. However, there are a high number of vacancies in this industry, estimated at 18,000 in Q2 2021, which has risen to 20,110 as of Q2 2022, according to TruckingHR Canada. Labor shortages in the trucking industry have a heavy impact on the national economy when there are disruptions and labor shortages.

TruckingHR Canada estimates that over 34,000 truck drivers will leave the industry annually due to safety concerns, high upfront training costs, work-life balance, and retirements. This means that the trucking industry, where the job vacancy rate among Transport Truck Drivers (NOC 2021: 73300) was 9.1% in Q2 of 2022, will continue to hinder the Canadian economy if nationwide labor shortages continue to rise.


Changes to Express Entry Aimed at Mitigating Labour Shortages in the Transportation Industry

To mitigate the labor shortages in the transportation industry, IRCC has added transport truck drivers and bus drivers to the list of occupations eligible for immigration to Canada via Express Entry. The Government of Canada hopes that this expansion to Express Entry eligibility, along with other changes to Express Entry such as targeted draws, will drive more skilled foreign nationals toward Canadian immigration in the future.

Targeted Express Entry draws, which are expected to begin as early as Q2 2023, will allow IRCC to conduct Express Entry draws that place less priority on a candidate's Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score and instead seek out prospective immigrants based on specific target attributes such as their language skills, educational backgrounds, or work experience. Further details regarding the specifics of targeted Express Entry draws will become available as Canada gets closer to implementing the new procedure.


Other Immigration Options for Foreign Truck and Bus Drivers

Beyond Express Entry, foreign nationals looking to come to Canada have several immigration options. These options include Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs), which are operated in 11 of the country's 13 total provinces and territories (excluding Quebec and Nunavut), as well as the Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) and the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP).

While there are several pathways for foreign nationals to come to Canada, the addition of truck and bus drivers to the list of Express Entry eligible occupations is an important step toward addressing labor shortages in these industries. With millions of Canadian children relying on school buses to get to and from school and the trucking industry playing a crucial role in the country's supply chain, it is essential to fill the vacancies in these occupations to keep the economy moving.

Moreover, the recent addition of these occupations to the Express Entry program will also benefit foreign truck and bus drivers who aspire to come to Canada. The program enables applicants to obtain permanent residency in Canada and eventually become citizens. This not only opens up opportunities for career growth and development but also allows immigrants to experience Canada's rich cultural diversity.

The IRCC has not yet provided any updates regarding the start date for the targeted draws, but the program is expected to begin as early as Q2 2023. The targeted draws will provide opportunities for foreign nationals with specific skills that are in demand in Canada to apply for permanent residency. This would allow them to fill in the labor gaps in various industries and contribute to the Canadian economy's growth and development.

The inclusion of truck and bus drivers in the list of occupations eligible for Express Entry is a positive step towards addressing labor shortages in these vital industries. The shortage of school bus drivers affects the daily lives of millions of Canadian children, while the shortage of truck drivers has a significant impact on the country's economy. The new targeted draws initiative and other immigration pathways further open up opportunities for skilled foreign workers to help fill these gaps and contribute to Canada's success.


Explore Your Immigration Options as a Bus or Truck Driver with Pelican Migration Consultants

If you are a bus or truck driver interested in exploring your options to immigrate to Canada, Pelican Migration Consultants can help. We are one of the top immigration consultants in Dubai. Our experienced and knowledgeable team can guide you through the process of applying for Express Entry, Provincial Nominee Programs, and other immigration pathways to help you achieve your goal of living and working in Canada.

At Pelican Migration Consultants, we understand the unique challenges and opportunities facing skilled workers like truck and bus drivers, and we are committed to helping you navigate the Canadian immigration system with ease. Our services include personalized consultations, application preparation, and ongoing support throughout the immigration process. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you achieve your immigration goals and start a new chapter in your career and life in Canada.