“The Voice of Western Canadian Truckers.”
In February 1999 the dream of a Western Canadian Trucking Magazine became a reality. Until then the only magazines available in Western Canada were published in Ontario and the advertisers, for the most part, were from the East. Today Western Canadian truckers have their own magazine that is quite unique in that we don’t write technical articles. Instead Pro-Trucker is an entertainment magazine where you can read about other drivers and their life on the road; their problems and how they handle them; issues of the day and the ever present humour that hopefully will put a smile on your face when you are far from home.
At the end of each year I can’t help but look back and think about how much things have changed over the past sixteen years that we have been publishing and of course those things that have stayed the same. Like the on-going shortage of qualified truck drivers. The problem is that the average age of truck drivers is going up each year because so few new drivers are entering the industry. The age-old system of mentoring that has brought so many young drivers up through the ranks has all but disappeared and the number of companies that train green drivers, eating the expense to do so, is also on the decline as those drivers leave for companies who sit back and then offer slightly higher wages.
There are numerous reasons young people are not entering the industry. Long hours and time away from home are big ones but so is the lack of a certification that many young people are looking for today. In reality it is also not an easy profession for young people to get in to. I have received many calls from people who find themselves in the catch 22 situation of having taken a short Class 1 course, mainly because that was all they could afford, only to find that they cannot get a job unless they have experience. Of course they can’t get experience unless they have a job…
A possible light at the end of the tunnel, which at this point admittedly is just a flicker but optimistically could lead to better things, comes from the province of Ontario which, after being embarrassed by Toronto Star articles telling how easy it is to obtain a Class 1 licence in the province, has committed to introducing mandatory higher standards of training for entry level drivers. Now if the training is high enough, and if other provinces can be convinced to follow suite, we may eventually get a nation-wide entry level standard which will allow new drivers to go straight to work. Taking this wish list a step further, if it were a certification program, it would also bring higher wages.
A little over a year ago I received an email from one of our writers saying he was taking a sabbatical from writing because of medical issues. This of course upset everyone here and since he is a very private person our subsequent communication has been limited, greatly adding to our concern. Visiting him was out of the question as he lives a long way out of town– Ireland to be exact. I am very happy to say that I received an email from Frank Cox this week with an article for this issue. I am sure that his story will bring a smile to your faces as it brings back long forgotten memories of your first truck. His email has definitely brightened our Christmas.
From all of us here at Pro-Trucker we wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and all the best to you and your families in the New Year.