Bus and truck drivers eligible for Express Entry

Bus and truck drivers eligible for Express Entry

This move comes as part of Canada’s attempt to fill driver shortages in the busing and transport trucking industries across the country.

On November 16, 2022, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) transitioned from its National Occupation Classification (NOC) 2016 system to an updated NOC 2021 version.


As part of this transition to NOC 2021, IRCC made 16 occupations newly eligible for Express Entry. Included among those additions are transport truck drivers and bus drivers, two occupations that are pressured by significant labor shortages across Canada.

Canada’s school bus driver shortage

Within the busing industry, Canada has long dealt with a lack of school bus drivers in many areas of the country. Due to such factors as low wages and “a rash of retirements during the pandemic”, for instance, many communities across the country are struggling to find transportation for students.

As an example, employment shortages in this industry have led to the cancellation of much-anticipated events for students across Canada, such as an 8000-student cross-country meet organized by one Catholic School Board in London, Ontario last October.

The cancellation of multiple bus routes in Montreal due to a lack of school bus drivers was reported by Global News in October 2022 as well. This was a similar situation to what occurred in a Yellowknife hamlet in the first week of 2023.

For many students around the nation, school bus transportation is essential. According to a Transport Canada news release from July 2022, 2.2 million children in this country “travel to and from school [on buses] every day.” As a result, a lack of workers in this sector could significantly affect the lives of many young people.

Canada’s lack of truck drivers
The development of the Canadian national supply chain depends on the trucking industry. According to TruckingHR Canada, the industry’s high unemployment rate, which was 18,000 in Q2 2021 and 20,110 in Q2 2022, “has a major impact on the national economy when there are disruptions and labor shortages.”

Truck Driver Shortage :

Canada predicts that over 34,000 truck drivers will leave the industry each year, in part because of problems like “safety concerns [and] costly upfront training expenditures” as well as retirements and work-life balance. This indicates that the trucking sector, where the rate of job openings for Transport Truck Drivers (NOC 2021: 73300) was 9.1% in Q2 of 2022, will continue to hinder the Canadian economy if nationwide labor shortages continue to rise.

Changes to Express Entry aimed at mitigating labor shortages in the transportation industry

To mitigate the above-outlined labor shortages, IRCC has added transport truck drivers and bus drivers to the list of occupations eligible for immigration to Canada via Express Entry.

The Government of Canada is still optimistic that this advancement of Express Entry eligibility, along with other changes to Express Entry like targeted draws, will encourage more foreign nationals to immigrate to Canada in the future, particularly skilled workers who are best able to fill the nation’s most critical employment gaps, such as those mentioned above.

Note: Targeted Express Entry draws, which are expected to begin as early as Q2 2023, will allow IRCC to conduct Express Entry draws that place less priority on a candidate’s Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score and instead seek out prospective immigrants based on specific target attributes such as their language skills, educational backgrounds, or work experience. Further details regarding the specifics of targeted Express Entry draws will become available as Canada gets closer to implementing the new method.

Foreign nationals seeking immigration to Canada have a number of choices besides Express Entry.

These alternatives include routes like the Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP), the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot, and the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs), which are run in 11 of the country’s total 13 provinces and territories (excluding Quebec and Nunavut) (RNIP).

The aforementioned initiatives, as well as numerous others around the nation, give local governments the discretion to pick and choose which foreign-skilled people they believe would be most helpful in filling local labor market gaps.

In light of this, if a potential immigrant applied to a program for bus or truck driving in a region with an Express Entry Route

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