Supply chain shortages stressing Canadians: Survey

by Today's Trucking Staff

Canadians are increasingly concerned about whether they will be able to get the products they want in the face of supply chain disruptions, according to a poll commissioned by the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA).

Eighty-five percent of those surveyed by Nanos said they were concerned or somewhat concerned about their ability to get products. There was particular anxiety around perishable goods.

Two-thirds of those surveyed said they experienced delays or shortages for basic perishable necessities such as food. Thirteen percent said this happens regularly and 55 percent said it happens occasionally.

Frequent and regular shortages of this type were cited most often by those in B.C. (17 percent), followed by the Prairies (14 percent) and Ontario (13 percent). But those in Atlantic Canada were most likely to report occasional shortages (71 percent), followed by those surveyed in Ontario (58 percent) and B.C. (56 percent).

Supply chain anxiety was particularly high among women and Canadians over 55.  Seventy-seven percent of those between 18 and 35 were concerned or somewhat concerned about the supply chain challenges, compared to 90 percent among those over 55.

Eighty-nine percent of women said they were concerned or somewhat concerned, compared to 80 percent of men.

Overall, 63 percent think labour shortages in trucking are contributing to higher inflation. Those in Quebec were most likely to link the labor shortage to inflation challenges (69 percent), followed by Ontario (62 percent) and B.C. (60 percent).

Trucking HR Canada says the trucking industry has nearly 23,000 vacant truck driving jobs and could be short more than 55,000 drivers as early as 2024.

Opinion of trucking has dropped

But opinions about the importance of trucking have dipped in the wake of so-called Freedom Convoy protests. More than three quarters of those surveyed (77 percent) gave a positive rating to trucking’s contribution to Canada’s prosperity, but that was down from 88 percent in November 2021.

“Considering the onslaught of negative media attention generated by the border and Ottawa protests earlier this year, the vast majority of Canadians continue to acknowledge how important the industry is to our society,” CTA observed in a related press release.

“Some natural attrition was also expected from the unprecedented level of admiration the industry received from the public as it stepped to the forefront very early in Canada’s pandemic response strategy.”

“The escalating shortage of professional truck drivers is having a negative impact on the supply chain and, by extension, the economic recovery of Canada,” said CTA president Stephen Laskowski.

“It is critical we act quickly to alleviate the compounding economic stress on Canadians and the businesses they rely on to keep them safe, secure and to keep the economy moving.”