Bus and truck drivers eligible for Express Entry
This move comes as part of Canada’s attempt to mitigate driver shortages in the busing and transport trucking industries across the country.
On November 16, 2022, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) transitioned from its National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2016 system to the updated NOC 2021 version.
IRCC made 16 new occupations eligible for Express Entry as part of the transition to NOC 2021. Among those additions are transport truck drivers and bus drivers, both occupations that are under pressure from Canada’s severe labor shortages.
Canada’s school bus driver shortage
In the transit industry, Canada has long been dealing with a shortage of school bus drivers in several parts of the country. For example, many communities across the country are finding transportation for students due to factors such as low wages and “mass retirement during the pandemic.”
For example, job shortages in the industry have led to the cancellation of long-awaited events for students across Canada, such as the 8,000-student transnational conference organized by a Catholic school board in London, Ontario, last October.
Also in October 2022, Global News reported that a shortage of school bus drivers in Montreal forced the cancellation of multiple bus lines, similar to what happened in the Yellowknife neighborhood in the first week of 2023.
School bus transportation is critical to many children across the country, with a Transport Canada press release estimating that as early as July 2022, 2.2 million children in the country “commute [by bus] to and from school every day.” As such, the Labor shortages in the industry can have a major impact on the lives of many young Canadians who rely on these means of getting to and from school every day.
Canada’s truck driver shortage
The truck driving industry is integral to the development of supply chains across Canada. According to TruckingHR Canada, the industry’s large number of job openings — reported to be 18,000 in the second quarter of 2021 and rising to 20,110 by the second quarter of 2022 — “when there are disruptions and labor shortages, there will be significant impact on the national economy.”
Due in part to issues ranging from “safety concerns [and] high upfront training costs” to work-life balance and retirement, TruckingHR Canada estimates that more than 34,000 truck drivers will leave the industry each year. This means that if the national labor shortage continues to rise, the trucking industry will continue to hold back the Canadian economy, with a 9.1% vacancy rate for transport truck drivers (NOC 2021: 73300) in the second quarter of 2022.
Changes to Express Entry aimed at mitigating labour shortages in the transportation industry
To alleviate the labor shortage mentioned above, IRCC has added transport truck drivers and bus drivers to the list of occupations eligible to immigrate to Canada through Express Entry.
Canadian Politics Above Overview – Future Canadian Immigration.
NOTE: Targeted Express Entry draws expected to begin as early as the second quarter of 2023 will allow IRCC to conduct Express Entry draws that place less weight on candidates’ Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) scores and instead seek Attributes such as language skills, educational background or work experience of potential immigrants. More details on the specifics of targeted Express Entry draws will be announced as Canada moves closer to implementing the new process.
Other immigration options for foreign truck and bus drivers
In addition to Express Entry, foreign nationals wishing to come to Canada have several immigration options.
These options include pathways such as the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), which operates in 11 of the country’s 13 provinces and territories (excluding Quebec and Nunavut), as well as the Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) and Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP).
The programs described above, and many others across the country, allow each region in which these programs operate to selectively select skilled foreign workers that the local government deems best to fill gaps in the local labor market.
Thus, in the case of bus and/or truck driving, if a prospective immigrant applies for a program operating in an area with a particularly large labor gap in the truck or bus industry, they position themselves as likely to immigrate to that area and serve locally as a bus Or truck driver jobs.