Reddit Gold: “How an immigration scheme steers newcomers into Canadian trucking jobs – and puts lives at risk”

Reddit Gold highlights the most useful and educational content on Reddit as found on r/AutoBestOf.

Today’s post is from u/WontSwerve who describes how an immigration scheme steers newcomers into Canadian trucking jobs – and puts lives at risk.

Canadian, Ontario based driver here.

I work for a company out of Oakville. I know our company actively advertises in places like India, China and even Eastern Europe.

It’s easy to get approved for immigration if you have family here. It’s also easy if you have an in demand skill, which due to a driver shortage; trucking is. It’s also easy to get approved if you have a job lined up.

So companies like mine will sponsor them, and help them attain their license.

The air brake test (the Z portion of you license) is memorizing a small book of multiple choice questions. It’s even offered in different languages if your English is too bad. You can take this any time and redo as many times as needed. You need 16 out of 20 questions right.

Driving is harder, but here’s the thing. Driving schools often will take new drivers on nothing but the ministry test and have them learn it over and over. Think 4 or 5 times a day in a 6-8 week period. Anyone who lives near Steeles in the GTA can attest to the amount of “Driver Training” transports doing dumb shit and driving slow in that area.

When it comes time for the test, the pretrip is easy. They now know “I have to be in this gear at this point. I can clear this turn by waiting to cut back until my hood is pointed here. I know speed changes here”.

When they get off the ministry test, and they have their license they’re fucked. They never learned the reason they had to use different maneuvers. They don’t know how to judge space. They don’t know how to make sharp or angled turns. They probably can’t upshift smooth, and they probably stall out every downshift or just coast to stops in neutral. But most importantly, they don’t understand following distance.

I’ve met driver at my company that paid me 20 bucks to back up into an easy spot because they only learned on way to do it, and there’s not room to set that method up. I took the time to show him how to set up and guided him back in rather than take his 20 bucks.

I’ve met drivers who literally don’t speak English. They ask you something, you tell them where they have to go they smile, nod say “Yes thank you” and start walking in the opposite direction.

I met a driver who asked me which door is door 3. The doors at this place weren’t numbered, but lettered. He couldn’t read the word “three” and figure it out.

I’ve met drivers who are literally getting paid just a dollar or two above min wage hourly. I’ve even met drivers who get paid by the mile, but it’s either so little per mile or there’s so few miles given to them, that even though they’re gone 5 or 6 days a week, they only take home 500 bucks.

I’ve met drivers who get suckered into lease deals with their company. The company will pay them three or four times more than their non contract drivers, but the driver now has to pay for their own fuel, insurance, registration fees, taxes, truck payments, maintenance and they’re without benefits. They also have to do the accounting side of all that. All this has to be done ASWELL as driving 60, 70 hours a week. The company will still get a cut of the profit from the freight, but all the risk has been moved onto the driver. I actually almost got caught in one of these, but the lease deal was almost 50 pages long. I walked out when I said “Anything this long detailing pay is too complicated for me.” And because it’s a lease, you don’t even own the fucking truck when the lease is done.

But most of all I’ve met drivers who are stressed, confused, tired and away from family in a country they don’t understand, where they can’t communicate in an industry which still has PLENTY of racism and resentment in it because not only are some of these guys really poor and unsafe drivers, but because they get paid so little it keeps driver wages down. It’s no longer worth it to hire me to run at 55 cents per mile or 25 bucks an hour when a new driver who is still less safe and reliable will do it for 30 cents or 18 an hour.

16 People died in Humboldt because in my opinion it’s STILL to easy to get a commercial drivers license.

I get alot of people who look down on me for just being “a dumb truck driver”, but this is hard and precise work I do. It’s not the most mentally engaging task, but I’ll be damned if it’s not 12-14 hours of pure concentration every day. Just ONE fuckup or distraction, I lose my career and my way to make money for my home and family.

That’s without the stress of delays for weather, accidents or being treated poorly by your company or customers, or simply not being able to find parking at the end of the day… It’s actually amazing more accidents don’t happen.

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