The OTA has asked the province to consider launching a pilot project through the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (ONIP), which aims to fill labour shortages with skilled international workers. A similar program was launched by the previous Liberal government in 2017 focusing on attracting workers to specific jobs in the construction and agriculture sectors.

The North American trucking industry has been grappling with a severe shortage of drivers over the last several years. According to a 2016 study conducted by the Trucking Alliance of Canada, the industry will be short 34,000 drivers by 2024.

Teamsters Canada, the country’s largest transportation union, said in a news release that it was horrified by the OTA’s proposal regarding the OINP, urging the organization to instead focus on hiking wages and improving working conditions to attract more workers to the industry. The union says non-union driver wages in Ontario have remained stagnant for close to 35 years.

“Trucking companies can’t move overseas, so they’re trying to bring cheap labour to Canada,” François Laporte, the president of Teamsters Canada, said in a news release.

“Instead of trying to suppress wage growth, the Ontario Trucking Association should be looking at ways to give truckers a big raise.”