Female Drivers in the Trucking Industry: What’s the Current Status?

As the truck driver shortage continues to plague the industry, many trucking companies are banking on one demographic that we all look to when a crisis hits: women. 

When the economy took a nosedive in the 1929 stock market crash, it was women who went out and got jobs to help support their families while their husbands were unemployed. And now, in 2022, with the truck driver shortage at an all-time high, it’s once again women who are being looked to as a solution.

So, what’s the current status of female drivers in the trucking industry? And what are truck companies doing to attract more women to the field? Let’s take a look. 

Women in Trucking Today

 Statistics show that almost half (47%) of Canada’s workforce is composed of women. However, in the trucking industry, that number drops to only three percent. 

 In the past, this low number might have been accepted as the norm as, historically, trucking has been a male-dominated industry. But now more trucking companies are taking a closer look at their hiring practices and are asking themselves: why aren’t more women driving trucks?

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The answer to that question is not a simple one. There are a number of factors that play into why women are underrepresented in the trucking industry—from cultural norms to a lack of family-friendly policies. But whatever the reason, trucking companies are starting to sit up and take notice. In fact, the number of female truck drivers has risen steadily in recent years in Canada & the US. Since 2010, there has been an 88% increase in the number of women getting their commercial driver’s licenses (CDL).

However, the industry still has a long way to go in terms of attracting women drivers. With 23,000 vacant truck driver positions in Canada that need to be filled in, it’s clear that the industry needs to start making some changes to get women behind the wheel.

So, what’s being done to address this gender gap? We explore the initiatives that trucking companies are taking to bring more women into the industry.

Women in Trucking & Women’s Trucking Federation Of Canada 

Two such organizations, Women in Trucking (WIT) and the Women’s Trucking Federation of Canada (WTFC), are making strides in creating a more inclusive industry for women and helping break down the barriers that are preventing them from joining the field.

These organizations work to promote women’s employment in the trucking industry and support female truck drivers through networking, education, and advocacy.

The Women in Trucking Association is a non-profit organization with the mission to encourage women’s employment in the trucking industry. It also supports the advancement of women in the industry and minimizes obstacles that might prevent their success. 

Meanwhile, The Women’s Trucking Federation of Canada is a national organization created for women to empower, expand and retain employment of — and shift attitudes about—women in the industry and beyond. This includes supporting the industry with issues around training, safety, career progression, education, mentoring, and more. Established in 2015, the group aims to promote personal growth and responsibility whether women are “in the office, under the hood or behind the wheel”. 

Programs That Encourage Women in Trucking

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Aside from the work of organizations like WIT and WTFC, there are also many programs in place to help encourage women to enter the trucking industry. Here are a few of them: 

Alberta Government Supporting Women In Commercial Trucking Careers

Alberta’s government has earmarked $3 million to help support women who are seeking job opportunities in the transportation sector. As one of the five pillars of Alberta’s Recovery Plan, the province is strengthening the workforce with skills training and employment grants. This funding is part of a $10-million investment in the 2022 budget to help reduce labor shortages in the commercial trucking industry.

Driving Back To Work Grant Program

Unemployed Albertans have an opportunity to start careers as commercial truck drivers through the extension of the Driving Back to Work Grant Program (DBTW). Unemployed Albertans can access funding to take the Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program to earn a Class 1 driver’s license. This grant will help to fill an expected shortage of commercial drivers, forecast to be more than 12% by 2023, putting the province’s supply chain at risk.

Women With Drive Leadership Summit

 The annual Women with Drive Leadership Summit has become the industry’s go-to event for leaders across the sector. It works to support and strengthen their workforce through strong diversity and inclusion initiatives backed by action and understanding. Delegates leave this event with new connections, ideas, and best practices in recruitment and retention that foster inclusive workplaces.

“The representation of women in the trucking and logistics industry remains well below their representation in Canada’s workforce as a whole,” says Angela Splinter, CEO of Trucking HR Canada. “The Women with Drive Leadership Summit puts the issue front and center; promotes the sharing of ideas, experiences, and leadership practices while providing richer perspectives on the issue.”

Top Fleet Employers Program

The Top Fleet Employers program is a national program that recognizes the importance of having and implementing sound HR policies and practices in the trucking and logistics industry. Trucking HR Canada rates applicants for this distinction on topics such as recruitment and retention practices, workplace culture, compensation, training and skills development, and innovative HR practices. 

Skills Training Project In Ontario

The Ontario government is investing $600,000 in a skills training project in the Waterloo region to prepare 30 women and individuals from underrepresented groups for careers in the trucking industry. This program will provide people with more opportunities to find meaningful, well-paying jobs and address labor shortages in the region’s trucking sector. 

YWCA Changing Gears

This is a free truck driver training program for self-identifying women. Participants will have the opportunity to acquire a Class 1 driver’s license as well as the training needed to kick start a career in transportation. 

Women Shifting Gears

Women Shifting Gears is a unique program designed to empower women and develop their skills to enter the transportation industry as a Class 1A Professional Truck Transport Driver. The program results from a collaboration between the Saskatchewan Trucking Association, the YWCA Saskatoon, and the Saskatchewan Ministry of Immigration and Career Training.

Women Success Stories in the Trucking Industry

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Despite the challenges faced by women in the trucking industry, there are many success stories of those who have persevered and made a name for themselves. Let’s look at several who have blazed a trail for other women.

1) Luella Bates

In 1918, Luella Bates became the first woman truck driver. She worked for the Four Wheel Drive Auto Company from 1918 to 1922. She was a test driver for the company during WWI, traveling across Wisconsin. Luella Bates worked as a demonstrator and driver even after the war, when most women were laid off to make room for returning soldiers. She was a proficient driver and mechanic who took care of all her truck’s maintenance.

2) Lillie Elizabeth Drennan

Lillie Elizabeth Drennan is recognized as being the first female truck driver and owner of a trucking company in the United States. Drennan and her husband took advantage of the oil boom in 1928. They established their own trucking company, which she eventually became sole proprietor of. After the Railroad Commission began overseeing the motor-freight industry in Texas, she obtained her commercial truck driver’s license in 1929.

3) Kitty Liang

Kitty Liang’s narrative is one of passion and creativity, as she uses trucking to discover inspiration all around the US. Liang hails from Sacramento, California, but was born in China and immigrated to the United States in 2007. She received a Master’s degree in English Creative Writing from Harvard University.

Liang realized after graduation that she didn’t want to be tied down in an office and wanted to learn more about the United States, where she had recently become a citizen. Liang decided to become a truck driver with these two things in mind. As a Schneider truck driver, she found the training to be calm and laid back. She also had the opportunity to travel around the country while creating art.

Kitty has always felt welcome in the trucking profession and wanted to share her experiences with others. The job never felt too difficult, and she always felt accomplished, and she hopes that others feel the same way.

4) Molly Sizer

Molly Sizer is a YouTube celebrity and a contestant in the 2017 Most Beautiful Trucker event. There is a lot more to Sizer, though, than her good looks. She is renowned as a tireless worker, driving hundreds of miles and transporting up to 50,000 pounds of frac sand as a professional frac sand hauler. In a feature on FreighWaves, Sizer shared how much she enjoys her profession.

“What was most thrilling was going to these sites and working with these other drivers, and everyone is hyped up because there is a lot of money to be made – the passion and high level of emotion are contagious,” says the driver.

Sizer’s YouTube channel—where she gives people a peek into the day-to-day grind of being a woman in the trucking profession—has thousands of subscribers and views.

5) Susie De Ridder

Susie De Ridder won Female Driver of the Year in 2020. She is the first recipient of the coveted award sponsored by Women In Trucking Association (WIT) and Walmart. She works as a driver for Armour Transportation Systems in New Brunswick, Canada.

“I am always inspiring and encouraging the next generation to join the trucking industry. I promote this in my daily travels with Clare, WIT’s trucking doll. She is proudly displayed on my dash and is a great conversation starter to tell others about my awesome trucking career,” said De Ridder. 

De Ridder has been driving for 40 years and has gone over four million miles without an accident. She was named to WIT’s Image Team in 2018 after serving on the board of the Women in Trucking Federation of Canada. Since then, she’s been featured in trucking periodicals in the United States and Canada, giving women in the trucking profession a lot of visibility.

As a panelist and speaker, De Ridder speaks at and participates in many trucking industry events. She regularly visits Girl Gala Events at high schools and community colleges as a mentor.

Ready to Get Started On Your Trucking Career?

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The trucking industry is changing, and with it, the role of women within it. Women are now more visible than ever before in this traditionally male-dominated field.  And with more opportunities opening up for female drivers, the crisis of the driver shortage may soon be a thing of the past. 

If you’re a woman considering a career in trucking, there has never been a better time to get behind the wheel. Contact Gennaro Transport Training today to learn more about our courses and see how we can help you start your career in trucking.

How The Truck Driver Shortage Is Impacting The Trucking Industry

The trucking industry has always been the lifeblood of Canada’s economy.  The flow of goods and materials across the country keeps businesses running and helps to ensure that Canadians have the supplies they need. However, even this pillar of the Canadian economy is not immune to change. One of the most pressing issues currently facing the trucking industry is a shortage of drivers.

By the end of 2021, the industry had already logged a shortage of as many as 23,000 drivers. Just last month, industry representatives met with federal officials to share an even more alarming number—a projected shortage of up to 55,000 drivers by the end of 2023.

Needless to say, the lack of drivers is having a ripple effect throughout the trucking industry and it’s impacting businesses and consumers alike. To fully understand the extent of the driver shortage and how it’s affecting the trucking industry—keep on reading. 

How the Shortage Happened

At the heart of this issue are several complex factors that vary across different regions and companies. In some cases, the driver shortage is made worse by an aging workforce and a lack of qualified young people to take their place. In others, it’s simply a matter of too much demand and not enough drivers to meet it.

Just how severe is the shortage? Data gleaned from Canada’s Labour Market Information indicates the following:

  • There are nearly 23,000 vacant truck driver positions in Canada.
  • 61% of employers report having difficulty filling driver positions.
  • 7.4% of all truck driver jobs are vacant.

The Impact of Truck Driver Shortage On Businesses

The truck driver shortage has led to a number of challenges for businesses, particularly those that rely heavily on the trucking industry to move their goods and supplies.

Here are a few ways in which the driver shortage has impacted businesses:

Shipping Delays & Major Disruption Of The Supply Chain

One of the most immediate impacts of the driver shortage has been shipping delays. With fewer drivers on the road, there are simply not enough trucks to move all the goods that need to be shipped. This has led to delays in receiving supplies, which can impact businesses of all sizes.

In some cases, the delays have been so severe that they have disrupted the entire supply chain. This is particularly true for businesses that rely on Just-In-Time (JIT) inventory, which is a system where goods are only produced or shipped when they are needed.

While the trucking industry has been able to maintain a high level of service, for the most part, the driver shortage has led to some businesses having to make changes to their operations.

Decreased Efficiency

Despite its ubiquity in the Canadian economy, the trucking industry is a highly competitive one. Carriers are always looking for ways to cut costs and offer the most competitive rates. The driver shortage has made this difficult because, with fewer drivers on the road, trucks are often forced to travel long distances to pick up and deliver their loads. This not only leads to increased fuel costs but also puts additional wear and tear on the trucks.

All of these factors have a direct impact on businesses and their bottom line. In some cases, the increased costs associated with the driver shortage are passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices. In others, businesses are forced to absorb the costs, which can lead to decreased profits.

Are There Any Solutions Available For The Truck Driver Shortage?

Without a doubt, the truck driver shortage is a complex problem that will require a multi-faceted solution. Here are a few ideas and ongoing solutions that can help mitigate the truck driver shortage:

An Amplified Recruitment Campaign

One of the most obvious solutions to the truck driver shortage, of course, is to simply recruit more drivers. However, this is easier said than done. This is why the Trucking Alliance of Canada is asking for federal support to help attract more candidates. They believe that a well-funded recruitment campaign would help to address the driver shortage and allow the industry to continue to thrive.

As a response, the Alberta government has undertaken an initiative called the Driving Back to Work Grant Program (DBTW). With this, unemployed Albertans can have an opportunity to start careers as commercial truck drivers through access to funding to take the Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program to earn a Class 1 driver’s license.

Enticing More Women To Join The Trucking Industry

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While male truck drivers still make up the vast majority of the workforce, there has been a slight increase in the number of women joining the industry in recent years. Data from Trucking HR Canada shows that approximately 97,000 women work in Canada’s trucking and logistics industry. However, most of them work in either shipping and receiving, or in administration. Data shows that only 10% work as commercial truck drivers and less than 5% are in a management or supervisor position

To help entice more women to make their mark in the trucking industry, Alberta’s government announced they were investing $3 million to help support women who are seeking job opportunities in the transportation sector. As part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan, the province seeks to help reduce labor shortages in the commercial trucking industry with skills training and employment grants

“Women are an essential part of Alberta’s workforce and their accomplishments contribute to our success. I am very pleased this Budget 2022 grant will open doors to a career many thought was not achievable. Alberta needs trailblazers.” said Alberta’s Minister of Transportation — Rajan Sawhney, back in March.

Through a combination of supporting individual Class 1 driver’s license training, program development tailored to women, and promoting new career choices in transportation, the $3-million grant will provide women with new skills to achieve success in the industry.

“We applaud the Government of Alberta and its ongoing commitment to women and Women Building Futures. Providing opportunities for women to become professional commercial truck drivers is turning economic security from a dream into a reality for many women and will help our province prosper,” added Carol Moen, president and CEO of Women Building Futures.

Where Does The Trucking Industry Go From Here?

It’s evident that the truck driver shortage has a significant impact on the trucking industry. However, with ongoing initiatives and solutions in place, there is hope that the industry will be able to weather this storm. What’s important now is for everyone in the industry to work together to find the best way forward. Only then can the trucking industry continue to thrive in spite of the challenges it currently faces.

With the government backing programs to help with the driver shortage, there might just be hope for Canada’s economy to get back on track. Do you want to be a part of the solution? Contact Gennaro Transport Training. We offer a wide range of courses that will give you the skills and experience you need to succeed in the trucking industry. Give us a call today to learn more about our program and how we can help you get started in your new career.

Severe Weather Preparedness Week: Tips on How Truck Drivers Can Stay Safe on the Road

In Canada, there are over 160,000 vehicle accidents every year.

If that number alone does not inspire you to take extra caution when driving, allow us to put it this way: that is one accident – whether by collision, rollover, or jackknife – every three minutes. Of those, 30% are environment and weather-related.

So as some parts of the world move into Severe Weather Preparedness Week, we also want to make sure that we’re taking a look at how truck drivers can stay safe on the road. Especially as the weather showdown between winter and spring looms, it’s important to remind ourselves what this week represents: safety in severe weather conditions.

Blizzards, ice storms, flash flooding – all of these present unique risks for those behind the wheel. So, in order to help keep you safe during this potentially hazardous time, we’ve put together a few tips for truck drivers preparing for severe weather.

Severe Weather Conditions You’re Likely to Encounter on the Road With The Ever Changing Weather In Alberta

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As a truck driver, you may face a number of severe weather conditions on the road, especially when you consider the radical climate changes in Alberta.


A blizzard is an intense snowstorm characterized by strong winds and very low temperatures. Visibility can be reduced to near zero at times, making it extremely dangerous to drive in. If caught in a blizzard while driving, pull over and wait for it to pass.

Ice Storms

An ice storm is a winter weather event that occurs when freezing rain coats surfaces with a thick layer of ice. This can make driving extremely hazardous, as icy roads can cause vehicles to lose control or even skid off the road. Always slow down when driving in an ice storm, and be especially careful when turning or braking.

Flash Flooding

Although flash flooding in Alberta is not likely, Flash flooding can occur suddenly and without warning, making it a particularly dangerous weather event to encounter while driving. When flash flooding is occurring, do not attempt to drive through water that is deeper than the height of your vehicle’s headlights – you could easily lose control and be swept away.

Strong Winds

High winds can cause problems for both truck drivers and their vehicles. Not only can high winds make it difficult to drive, but they can also result in downed trees or power lines, as well as flying debris. If you find yourself caught in a windstorm while driving, pull over and wait until the storm has passed.

Extreme Heat

Extreme heat can be just as dangerous as extreme cold. It can affect both your truck and your body, leading to problems like dehydration, heatstroke, tire blowouts, and engine strain. When driving in extreme heat, be sure to stay hydrated and take breaks often to avoid overheating. You may also want to consider driving in the early morning or evening when temperatures are cooler.

How To Stay Safe During Severe Weather

1. Check the Weather Forecast Before Heading Out

Many phone apps now offer hour-by-hour weather updates that can give you a good idea of when the worst of the storm will hit. It’s also a good idea to check local news outlets and trucking websites for updates and alerts. If possible, try to plan your route around the worst of the weather.

2. Give Yourself Extra Time

When severe weather is on the horizon, it’s always a good idea to give yourself a few extra hours to get to your destination. This way, if you do run into some bad weather, you won’t be putting yourself under unnecessary pressure to get where you’re going on time.

Of course, we know that isn’t always possible. If you find yourself short on time, make sure to take extra care and drive slower than usual. Your cargo may be time-sensitive, but it’s not always worth putting your life at risk.

3. Drive Defensively

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This one may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to remember that defensive driving is always the best way to stay safe on the road – especially when severe weather is involved.

In general, you should be leaving plenty of space between you and the vehicle in front of you. This will give you more time to react if they make a sudden stop. You should also be aware of what’s going on around you at all times, and be prepared to adjust your speed or route if necessary.

4. Pack an Emergency Kit

The last thing you want is to be stranded on the side of the road during a severe weather event.

That’s why it’s always a good idea to have an emergency kit packed and ready to go. This should include things like food, water, blankets, warm clothes, a first-aid kit, and anything else you might need in case you find yourself in a bind.

You should also make sure you have a charged cell phone with you at all times, so you can call for help if necessary.

5. Check Your Truck

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Before you hit the road, it’s always a good idea to give your truck a once-over and make sure everything is in working order.

This includes checking your tires, brakes, lights, and wipers. If you’re driving in bad weather, you don’t want anything to go wrong with your truck – that could lead to a very dangerous situation.

Stay Safe & Prepared at All Times

Truck drivers are on the front lines when it comes to severe weather – they’re the ones who have to keep Canada moving, no matter what Mother Nature throws their way. That’s why it’s so important for truckers to be prepared for whatever conditions they might encounter on the open road. 

If you want to learn more about severe weather preparedness, or if you’re looking to become a professional truck driver, we offer a variety of courses that can help you stay safe and prepared. For more information, visit our website or give us a call today. Stay safe out there!

Truckers Take a Stand Against Vaccine Mandates: A Timeline of the Freedom Convoy

Sparked by a vaccine mandate that requires truckers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to cross the US-Canada border, the “Freedom Convoy” is a movement that has gripped the country and captured the attention of the world.

Here’s a timeline of the key events – from how the demonstration started and how it’s shaped up since.

What Is the Freedom Convoy All About?

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Before we chronicle the key events of the Freedom Convoy, let’s first discuss what it is all about.

The “Freedom Convoy” movement stems from the grievances of protesters regarding Canada’s new mandate implemented by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Truck drivers are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to cross the US-Canada border – a mandate that has sparked outrage among many truckers and their supporters across Canada. Unvaccinated truckers crossing the border need to quarantine once they return home, an inconvenience that could hinder their livelihoods.

This new mandate was put into effect in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but many believe it to be a violation of their liberties and freedoms. And so, the Freedom Convoy protesters are calling for a repeal of the vaccine mandate and have since made strides in rallying support.

A Timeline of Key Events

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Now that we have a better understanding of what the Freedom Convoy is about, let’s take a look at the key events that have transpired since it began.

January 15, 2022:  

The Trucker Vaccine Mandate is put into effect, sparking backlash among the trucking community. 

January 22, 2022: 

The US exemption for truckers crossing the border is revoked, requiring all truckers to be vaccinated.

January 23, 2022: 

The Freedom Convoy was assembled, with participants from various parts of Canada. The protesters started to make their way to Ottawa near Parliament Hill to voice their opposition against the mandate. 

January 28, 2022:  

The first few batches of the convoy arrive in Ottawa and set up camp outside of Parliament Hill. 

Despite taking measures to cushion the impact of the protest, the City of Ottawa and its residents saw a significant disruption in traffic and delays in public transit. 

January 29, 2022: 

Thousands of protesters converged as the main rally took place. An estimate of 18,000 people was in attendance, a combination of truckers and supporters. 

There were no injuries or violence reported, but there were several reports of disorderly conduct. In particular, the desecration of the National War Memorial by some protesters drew ire from many. 

January 30, 2022: 

The demonstration continued, and the city officials were forced to mitigate the impact of the protest. 

Government-run offices in downtown Ottawa were closed, and several main roads were closed down due to the protest. 

An official investigation was also launched as a response to the desecration of the National War Memorial. 

January 31, 2022: 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau refused to meet with the organizers of the protest, but he did make a statement regarding the issue. 

He condemned the protests and reiterated his stance on the vaccine mandate. 

February 2, 2022:  

The organizers of the demonstration issued a statement that they will not be leaving Parliament Hill until their demands are met. 

February 3, 2022: 

The organizers announced that the protest will continue. They also held a press conference to address allegations that the protest was an act of misogyny, racism, and terrorism. 

February 4, 2022:  

A “surge and contain” strategy by the police was implemented with the goal of ending the protest. 

Several people were arrested, and the demonstration was subsequently dispersed. 

The online fundraising platform, GoFundMe also announced the suspension of payments from donors to the organizers of the Freedom Convoy. 

February 6, 2022: 

Ottawa mayor Jim Watson declares a state of emergency in the city. 

This gives him more authority to deal with the situation, including seizing 3,000 liters of fuel from the protesters. 

February 7, 2022: 

This marked the second full week of the protest. 

The protesters remained undeterred despite the increased fines and threats of arrests. 

February 10, 2022:

Prime Minister Trudeau finally addresses the opposition organizers directly at an online meeting. 

February 13, 2022: 

The third week of the protest saw a counterprotest from the residents of Ottawa. 

February 14: 

The Federal government declares a National Emergency. 

A first in the history of the country, the Emergencies Act was invoked to deal with the situation. 

This gives the government a sweeping power and authority in stopping the protests.

Is An Amicable End In Sight?

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Despite the declaration of a national emergency, the protesters continue to hold their ground. 

The organizers of the protest have stated that they will not stop until the vaccine mandate is lifted and that they would remain in Ottawa “for as long as long as it takes for governments across Canada to cease all mandates” linked with COVID-19. 

Meanwhile, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson claimed that he and organizers had struck an agreement for them to stay out of residential sections of the city and limit their protests to the streets right in front of Canada’s national parliament.

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