Are You a US Truck Driver Who Wants to Work in Canada?
Land the driver’s job you want, where you want. Your experience, training, and knowledge of the industry can all help you move north. Here’s what you’ll need to know in order to get started.
United States Versus Canadian Qualifications
The basic requirement for being a truck driver is essentially the same in the United States and in Canada: the right driver’s license, with an excellent driving record to support it. Your US CDL license will likely make it easy for you to get the appropriate license in Canada (for vehicles classes 1 to 3). If you are planning to drive a truck in Ontario, for example, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation explains that you will need either a class D, a restricted class A or a full class A license. It is important to ensure that you take the necessary steps to secure your Canadian license after you’ve arrived in Canada.
According to Service Canada, additional qualifications that will help you secure a job in trucking include “a vocational diploma (DEP) in trucking” as well as “training in the handling and transport of hazardous products or dangerous goods, and knowledge of (or training in) mechanics.” If you’re already a truck driver in the US, you may well have the training you need already to get your foot in the door. Many companies will also offer on-the-job training.
Which Immigration Program Is Right for You?
Your best bets as a US truck driver are the provincial nominee programs (those that are not Express Entry) or a temporary work permit.
Provincial Nominee Programs
Determining the right PNP program to apply through is key to increasing your chances of success. Long-haul truck driving is considered a category C job by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Some non-Express Entry provincial nominee programs may accept applicants in category C (intermediate) jobs. For example, the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program considers some truck drivers eligible under the Semi-Skilled Worker Category. Every province has different nominee programs, and each program in each province has different requirements. Which program(s) you may be eligible for will depend on your experience, skills, and where you want to live, among other factors.
Temporary Work Permit
As Settlement.org explains, to get a temporary work permit, you first need to have a job offer from a Canadian employer. Next, your employer will need to apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (an LMIA). Employment and Social Development Canada will decide the following:
a.) whether there is a shortage of Canadian workers available to fill the position
b.) if the employer can hire a foreign worker to fill the position
If Employment and Social Development Canada says yes to both of those conditions, then they will issue an LMIA to your employer, and you will be able to apply for a temporary work permit. You will have to prove that you will leave Canada at the end of the permitted time period of employment, that you can support yourself (and any family members who may be accompanying you) while in Canada, and that you meet the language requirements for one of Canada’s official languages, English and French.
You may also have to undergo a medical exam. You will also have forms to fill out and supporting documentation to provide. You’ll need to coordinate with your employer to ensure that you get the right documents and information you need from them for your application.
According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, temporary work permits for employees at skill levels C and D cannot exceed 24 months. Qualifications for these employees are “a high school diploma or two years of job-specific training.” Your ability to perform the job in question may also be assessed.
If you’re finding the number of options and the varying qualification requirements for different programs confusing, you can enlist the help of an immigration professional. An immigration professional’s job is to understand how Canadian immigration works and consider all aspects of your individual case in order to best help you navigate through the complex Canadian immigration system.
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About Michael Niren
Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more
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