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Trucking in Canada Salary, Best Truck, and Trucking Companies

By Vineet Baid on December 15, 2020


After covering various aspects of the trucking industry in Canada, we have curated more details in this article. 

Truck Driver Salary in Canada

After discussing how to become a truck driver in the previous article, in this article we will cover the salary of a truck driver in Canada. Being a trucker in Canada allows the driver to have an opportunity to see every corner of the Great White North. But, how much does a trucker make in Canada? A trucking job in Canada promises a good wage, and is an excellent career choice even for a newcomer to Canada. 

How much do truck drivers make in Canada?

With some experience and qualification, a trucker can find a job anywhere in Canada and make an annual income ranging from $48,750 to $82,875 CAD.

The salary also depends on other factors like the driver’s skill level or training, level of work experience, language ability in English and French, and which province they intend to operate in. 

The average salary of truck driver in Canada is $49,718 CAD per year (or $25.50 per hour). Entry level positions start at $34,125 CAD per year. Also, in reports we have seen that the shortage of truck drivers in Canada has increased in 2020. Experts predict that Canada will be short 25,000 truck driving positions by 2023. This means truck drivers are in high demand. Additionally, the Truck driver unemployment rate in Canada is 3.3% in 2020, far lower than the national unemployment rate of 5.8% at the same time. Below is average salary for truck drivers in each of the provinces in Canada. 

 

Province

Average salary (CAD)

Alberta

$54,151

Ontario

$47,482

British Columbia

$48,905

Saskatchewan

$49,101

Northwest Territories

$52,650

 

Best Semi Trucks in Canada

Canada is rich in varied geographic conditions. The topography varies from a mountainous west coast, to a flat central prairies, to the eastern forested plains, and to the frozen north. It also shares borders with USA to the south and northwest. A truck operating in this region should be reliable and adaptable in both countries (if operating in both). Below are a few highly reliable commercial truck brands any owner operator or large fleet can consider: 

Volvo

One of the largest commercial truck brands in Canada, Volvo owns 13.9% of the commercial truck market share in the country. With the changing trends, Volvo has consistently focused on innovations such as autonomous trucks and electric vehicles. The company has developed connectivity using telematics data that allows their semi-trucks to communicate with each other on the road.

The in-cab interiors are comfortable and the truck is easy to drive. Volvo trucks are ideal for over-the-road truckers as most new models come equipped with remote diagnostic capabilities. If the driver faces any problems during the trip, the Windows app allows the fleet owners to diagnose the problem and run tests from their home base. 

International

In 2018, International trucks accounted for nearly 36% of Canada’s Class 7 truck sales. One of the most reliable commercial truck companies, International has been actively striving to improve fuel efficiency and vehicle uptime in 2020. The 2020 International LT Series aims at improving vehicle aerodynamics. This will be achieved by eliminating (or reducing) the tractor-trailer gap and enhancing the roof fairings coupled with other changes made to the exterior. It aims to improve fuel economy by 8.2% hence reducing the fuel costs in operation.  

Freightliner

With 75 years of creating medium and heavy-duty commercial trucks, Freightliner is a remarkable company with its Detroit powertrain. It coordinates how the truck’s engine, transmission and axles work together as an integrated system that improves vehicle efficiency. Freightliner trucks experience higher uptime rates when they are paired with safety features like windshield mounted camera. It makes it easier for fleet owners to keep their fleet operating seamlessly.

The company is researching ways to reduce trucking emissions. It aims to achieve this by switching two of their semi-trucks from diesel engines to hydrogen fuel cells. 

Peterbilt

Peterbilt trucks are one of the most comfortable trucks, making them a preferred choice for long-haul drivers. It uses SmartAir to save fuel while keeping drivers cozy when resting in the vehicle. The Smartling remote diagnostics keep drivers safe on the road. It diagnoses and fixes problems and gets the trucks back on the road as soon as possible.

The company name is synonymous with semi-trucks. In 2020, Peterbilt plans to start limited sales of electric vehicles. As of now, 16 electric Peterbilts are on the highway. The number is planned to be steadily increased to 36.

Mack

Mack has been creating commercial trucks for over a century and sells them in 45 different countries. It is the largest manufacturer of Class 8 trucks in North America and expects to sell upwards of 3,10,000 Class 8 trucks in Canada and USA in 2020. 

Mack trucks are good for fleets that operate in multiple climate zones. The batteries in these trucks are Absorbent Glass Mat batteries. These batteries are designed to handle temperature changes making the truck an ideal choice for operations in Canada. The trucks’ design maximizes its fuel efficiency. Many Mack trucks use natural gas instead of diesel. 

Kenworth

Just like Peterbilt, Kenworth is also working toward creating Class 8 commercial trucks that function with hydrogen fuel cells. It partnered with Toyota in 2019 to convert 10 of their T680 Class 8 trucks to run on hydrogen fuel cells with zero emissioTo ns. The T680 trucks are among the most aerodynamic commercial trucks. Along with a comfortable sleeper cab, the infotainment and navigation systems in these trucks are top of the line. 

To read more in-depth on all the trucking brands above read our article on 6 Best Semi Truck Brands for an Owner Operator.

How to find a good used commercial truck in Canada

As good as the listed trucks above are, commercial trucks are one of the biggest investments in a trucking business. A used truck can be a possible option to look into as well to lower the upfront cost. 

Before purchasing a used truck, it can be important to understand what the business requirements for that truck will be. Apart from the requirements and the budget, there are a few other factors to consider before getting a used truck:

History, maintenance, and accident checks

Before going through on the history of the vehicle, it is important to find out the reason the current owner has decided to sell the truck. It can help in detecting any existing problems that might not be on the maintenance or other records. If everything seems to be in place, the next step would be to review maintenance and repair records to assess the vehicle health. 

Ensure oil checks records are checked with diligence. Regular oil changes help in tackling engine problems in the future. 

Find out if the truck was involved in an accident, and if yes, check the following: 

1. What kind of accident/collision was the truck involved in?

2. Extent of damage. 

3. Any parts that were replaced as result of the damage?

Quality checks

Look out for any physical damage like rusting on exterior surfaces as well as within the vehicle. Another thing for look is any bumps on painted surface, especially on the roof. These are indicator of rust underneath. It goes without saying, do not overlook physical damage, if any.

Mileage checks

Mileage is a great indicator of the overall quality of the vehicle when paired with other factors. Information about the engine model can help to understand at which mileage point an engine rebuild may be required.

Horsepower and towing capacity checks

Check the engine horsepower and towing capacity of the truck next to see if it meets the towing requirements of the business. For instance, if your business includes towing construction equipment such as excavators, then you might not require the same amount of horsepower as you would need for long-distance trailer towing. 

Any truck purchase is an important one and these checks may help in the future maintenance of the truck.

What are the largest trucking companies in Canada?

In 2018, the Canadian trucking industry generated a revenue of $39.55 billion (CAD) from almost 63.7 million shipments. Smaller companies tend to operate in areas closer to the home base. A bigger company however is usually involved in diverse operations across the country which can enrich a driver’s learning experience. A bigger fleet also is most likely to have a more standard operation and better pay, better equipment or trucks to drive, and additional perks and benefits a trucking company may offer.

We have curated a few of the largest trucking companies in Canada below:

TFI International Inc.

Formerly known as Cabano, Kingsway, and TransForce; TFI International Inc. is a transport and logistics company headquartered in Montreal, Quebec. It operates in Canada through four business segments providing services for truckload, LTL, dedicated contract, expedited shipments, intermodal, temperature controlled hauling, bulk shipments, tankers, and warehousing.

TFI International Inc. has been able to make a mark in logistics and transport industry by giving a certain amount of autonomy to its subsidiaries. The strategy helps in each subsidiary to cater to the regional markets while giving the parent company access to more markets. 

It accounts for the biggest share in Canada’s LTL business, or less than load business. Less than load business, also known as less than truckload shipping is transportation of relatively smaller freight. It is also Canada’s largest trucking fleet. 

In 2009, TFI International Inc. started its operation in the United States with acquiring Dynamex for $248 million. Within a year, Dynamex made about a quarter as much as TFI International, about $418 million in revenue.

It employs approximately 17,500 people. The TFI International Inc. fleet has:

2,209 trucks

6,578 tractors

26,581 trailers

8,568 OO

Note: Estimated figures

Mullen Group

Now one of the biggest trucking companies in Canada, Mullen Group started with a humble ’49 Chevrolet Maple Leaf. Rolland Mullen hauled gravel in his initial days and by mid 1950s, he hauled three trucks. As of now, Mullen owns shares in various trucking companies including S. Krulicki & Sons Ltd that operate under the brand names of Winnipeg Moving & Storage and Brandon Moving, RDK Transportation Co. Inc. These brand names provide transportation and logistics services throughout Canada and the continental United States. 

Mullen’s LTL segment operates in western Canada and Ontario extending into the United States. It delivers over 3 million shipments of consumer related goods to 5,500 communities each year. The main focus of the company includes ambient and temperature controlled delivery services along with pharmaceutical and package delivery capabilities. Its logistics and warehouse segment provides services throughout North America.  The assorted network of terminals and transload facilities provides safe and reliable movement of freight through a multimode transportation services. The services provided by Mullen Group include: full truckload, specialized trucking, intermodal and transload.  

It employs approximately 4,709 people. The Mullen Group fleet has:

1,515 trucks

3,372 tractors

8,537 trailers

1,099 OO

Note: Estimated figures

Day & Ross

Just like the Mullen Group, Day & Ross had a humble beginning. It was founded in 1950 by Elbert Day and Walter Ross in Hartland, New Brunswick. One of the first shipments to be hauled was a single truckload of potatoes in the 1950s. By 1966 it became a wholly owned subsidiary of McCain Foods Limited. It also expanded across North America through growth and acquisitions, including Sameday Worldwide, REI, Stonehammer Transport Inc., and A&S Kinard and Buckler Transport. It’s LTL boasts of national coverage that ensures the shipments reach over 90% of the Canadian population. The fleet include tailgates, drop trailers, temperature control, dry van, and drayage.

It employs more than 8,000 people. The Day & Ross fleet has:

625 trucks

2,027 tractors

6,070 trailers

1,961 OO

Note: Estimated figures

Bison Transport

Based in Winnipeg, Bison Transport was incorporated in 1969 by owner Duncan M. Jessiman. He currently serves as Chairman and sole shareholder of the company. It started by providing local cartage services to the construction industry and went on to be awarded with the catalogue business for Eaton's and then Sears. 

The company operates 6 key terminal hubs in Canada, located in Winnipeg, Mississauga, Edmonton, Calgary, Regina and Langley. It provides cross-border truckload transportation from British Columbia through the Maritimes and to 48 U.S. states.

The company’s divisions include dry van, long combination vehicle (LCV), refrigerated, intermodal, LTL, and Warehousing and Distribution. Moreover, Bison Transport was named as the 'Best Fleet to Drive For' by the Truckload Carriers Association and CarriersEdge in 2018. 

It employs more than 1600 people. The Bison Transport has: 1400 power units and 4000 trailers. 

Note: Estimated figures

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Vineet Baid

Vineet Baid
Like the simple things in life like chocolates, beer, and fries.


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