Friday, June 21, 2024
Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Womens' Trucking Federation Canada CEO Shelley Walker at a June 27th, 2023 announcement. Photo: RWN

Ontario investing $1.3 million in Truck driver training for women, other underrepresented groups

Participants eligible for $1,000 for transportation and childcare support, $300 for equipment, $400 weekly allowance

Ontario Premier Doug Ford at June 27th announcement. Video: RWN

On June 27th, the Ontario government announced that it is investing $1.3 million to prepare 54 women, newcomers and others from underrepresented groups for in-demand careers in the trucking industry. The announcement event was held at the facilities of Green for Life in Ayr, Ontario.

“This innovative program will help break down barriers to attract more women into the trucking industry,” said 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.”

Led by the Women’s Trucking Federation of Canada (WTFC) 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 jobseekers how to operate a commercial vehicle, perform manoeuvres, conduct inspections, maintain the vehicles, and understand commercial vehicle systems and controls.

Across Ontario, at least 6,100 more truck drivers are needed to fill job vacancies and to ensure families and businesses receive goods on time and the province’s economy reaches its full potential. Only two per cent of Ontario truck drivers are women, which is why the program will reimburse up to $4,500 for childcare and other living expenses.

“This investment in the trucking industry directly helps more people achieve fulfilling careers as professional drivers,” said Shelley Walker, CEO at Women’s Trucking Federation of Canada. “With a significant and growing skilled driver shortage facing Ontario’s trucking industry, this initiative is timely in both removing barriers to employment and supporting Ontario’s economy. We thank Premier Ford and Minister McNaughton for their leadership and support, and look forward to working with them on this incredibly important initiative.”

The project will also cover training for forklift operation, defensive driving, workplace violence and harassment, and human trafficking awareness. After completing the program, the WTFC will work with graduates to ensure they are employed as professional drivers. While not a traditional training provider, WTFC will automatically become an affiliate member of the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario, TTSAO president Phil Fletcher told Road Warrior News.

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.

This project is funded through the government’s Skills Development Fund, an over $700 million initiative, which supports ground-breaking programs that connect jobseekers with the skills and training they need to find well-paying careers close to home.

Click here to contact WTFC on the “Bridging the Gap” program

Those interested in the Bridging the Gap in Trucking program can apply by emailing [email protected]

The Women’s Trucking Federation of Canada is a non-profit organization established to encourage the employment of women in the Transportation Industry. Its purpose is to promote personal growth and responsibility whether ”In the Office, under the Hood or behind the Wheel”. Despite the name, “Women’s Trucking Federation of Canada,” membership is not limited to women. WTFC welcomes the involvement of anyone who is positive and supportive of women in the Transportation Industry.

Its aim is to provide a platform and open environment for women across the Transportation Industry to come together, problem solve, share ideas and help to promote our industry to future generations as a viable career option.