Majority of Canadians view trucking as most important transportation mode: poll

More than half of Canadians view trucking as the most crucial transportation mode in the Canadian economy, according to a new poll.

The majority of Canadians (51%) surveyed by Abacus Research consider trucking the most important mode to get goods delivered across Canada – much higher than rail (19%), air (18%) and marine (13%). Three in four Canadians (76%) believe trucking to be either the most or second most important mode in getting goods to market. 

Per province, respondents in Saskatchewan/Manitoba most considered trucking to be more essential in transporting goods than any other mode (59%) and an extraordinary 93% in those provinces ranked trucking in the top two. Trucking was considered a top two mode by most respondents across all provinces, genders, age and across supporters of all major federal political parties. 

Man unloads boxes from truck
(Photo: iStock)

“Canadian truck drivers were widely recognized as essential workers during the pandemic. But it’s very clear that even as we return to normalcy, the trucking industry and the impact our hard-working trucking drivers make in the everyday lives of Canadians, is still immensely appreciated and valued,” said Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) president Stephen Laskowski.  

A large majority of Canadians also recognize how the labor/driver shortage the trucking sector is experiencing right now is directly pressuring the supply chain and hindering the delivery of goods to retail markets. 

Labor shortages

Sixty-five percent of Canadians think trucking is experiencing severe (25%) or moderate (40%) labor shortages. This was most pronounced in Quebec where 38% said the trucking labor crunch is ‘severe’. Only 2% of respondents in all provinces say the sector is not experiencing a shortage at all. 

Nearly unanimously, 96% of Canadians believe that labor shortages in trucking/logistics impact Canada’s supply chain and the ability to get food to market – even more so than in the agriculture sector. Sixty-seven said diminishing labor supply in trucking would have a major impact; while 28% said the effect could be more minor.

No other sector is thought to be as greatly impacted by labor shortages: Sixty-one percent believe labor shortages in agriculture would have a ‘major impact’ in the food supply chain, while only 46% said the same of rail and retail, respectively.    

British Columbia and Alberta respondents appear to be most concerned over trucking labor’s effect on food supply disruptions, with 72% and 74% saying it would have a major impact – higher than the national average of 67% who said the same.   

Over 60% of respondents in every province, age cohort, and gender across Canada believe trucking labor shortages are impacting the food supply chain in a major way. And over 90% in every category agree there’s either a major or minor impact. Women appear most concerned as 71% believe there’s a major impact, compared to 63% of men.  

When asked whether the current shortage of retail products is directly attributed to the lack of labor in trucking, 67% agreed this is the case, with 23% indicating a ‘severe’ effect and 44% saying there’s a ‘moderate’ effect. Another 18% believe there’s a minor connection. Only 3% said there’s no effect at all.      

Over half of respondents in every survey category said there’s either a severe or moderate effect between trucking capacity and retail goods shortages. 

“The impact of the truck driver shortage on the Canadian public and their ability to access food and other crucial products is very real and it is not going unnoticed,” said Jonathan Blackham, CTA director of policy & public affairs. “There is no doubt that the Canadian public has made the connection between shrinking labor in trucking, supply chain disruptions and product shortages on store shelves. It’s now time to act.” 

The Abacus poll was commissioned by the CTA. It was conducted randomly with 1,500 Canadians aged 18 and over, between Oct. 21-26.

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