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After spending over 30 years in the travel business, I thought I had experienced every mode of transportation from airplanes to rickshaws and everything in between. However, this year I was introduced to a whole new world of transportation, the Canadian Trucking industry. I entered this wonderful new world when ISB Canada set out to help solve one of the industry’s most challenging issues; the chronic shortage of qualified drivers.

While the predictions vary slightly for the next five years, the current squeeze on drivers is only going to escalate. The shortage of qualified truck drivers in Canada could reach over thirty thousand by the start of the next decade, according to a recently released report from the Conference Board of Canada, leaving the industry scrambling to find ways to fill those future empty seats.

The pressure for companies to keep trucks on the road is tremendous and if not addressed could lead to some troubling trends for the industry. The number one concern would be recruiting shortcuts which could include; cutting corners, minimizing your screening process or accepting a driver that wouldn’t necessarily qualify under a normal operating environment. Additionally, accepting driver submitted documents including MVRs, CVDRs, criminal background checks or letters of experience, which can be easily tampered with and are causing a rise in fraudulent documents. These shortcuts may get a driver in a seat quicker; however, is the short term compromise worth the risk of maintaining your driver compliance, increasing insurance premiums or a major accident that injures someone or worse?

The bottom line is it remains the responsibility of the company to manage their compliance and stay diligent to best practices even through this demanding driver shortage. This year ISB Canada introduced the Making Eligibility Easy platform to help companies hire better quality drivers faster.   The MEE platform gives companies a competitive advantage in qualifying drivers, recruiting them faster and ensuring that the company remains compliant to best practices. MEE also eliminates those troubling trends by providing authentic documents from the source and contributing to driver compliant files throughout the recruitment process.

In addition, ISB Canada has been working in partnership with Canada’s largest commercial insurers to improve the driver qualification standards with a goal to reduce everyone’s risk and enhance driver insurability. We are very excited about the progress happening between all industry stakeholders and ISB Canada is pleased to be championing this important preventative safety effort.

Michael Thompson is a visionary and performance-focused leader with 20-plus years of experience building profitable businesses. With an exceptional track record in the Canadian technology and corporate marketplace, he is well known for his customer-centric approach, team building talent and ability to create a deep network of senior C-level relationships. Prior to ISB, Mr. Thompson was at the helm of a major Canadian company specializing in supply chain management and innovative 1:1 marketing technology solutions. Before that, he had been vice president of a top-tier travel and leisure company, where he drove record growth and created the largest wholly owned consumer travel business in North America with $1B of network sales. In addition to his leadership role at ISB Canada, Mr. Thompson participates on several boards and committees, including the CEO Forum.