Chronic shortages of truck drivers in Canada could be made worse by new security measures at the US border, according to industry representatives.
The Canadian Trucking Alliance has raised fears drivers will be asked to navigate some complicated laws south of the border or face tax and immigration issues.
The trucking body fears the new arrangement could lead to more drivers quitting an industry predicted to have a shortfall of 48,000 people by 2024.
Truck driving in numbers
47: average age of a truck driver
A third of drivers are over 55
Long-haul drivers could work 14 days in a row
Average salary: $55,000 to $65,000
Shortfall of 48,000 by 2024
The Liberal government recently agreed an information-sharing deal with the US. Under the legislation, a log will be created of every traveller who leaves the country, primarily to close a security gap that has seen Canadians leave the country to join terrorist groups untracked.
The deal will also allow better monitoring of the amount of time Canadians are spending south of the border. The current yearly cap is 120 days, or 182 with special permission.
Those exceeding the yearly limit face being considered a US resident, and having to pay the resultant taxes. They could also lose their Canadian residency and access to health care, or be deemed an illegal resident in the US, which could result in being banned from the country for up to 10 years.
Quick Facts: The Canada-US Border
Longest international border in world at 8,891km, 2,475km of which is with Alaska
3.3 million Canadians travelled to the USA in February 2016, with 2 million moving in the other direction
400,000 people and $2.4 billion in trade cross the border each day
Canada and US are second and fourth largest countries in the world by area
Canadian provinces and territories on border: Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick
US states on border: Alaska, Washington, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine
Representatives want assurances the data will not be used to form an argument against Canadian truck drivers.
Problems could stem from drivers spending a short time over the US border, and that being chalked up as one of their allowed days.
Route planning will also become an issue with the need to avoid spending too much time across the border, posing cost and time wasting issues.
The Alliance is calling on the federal government to make the situation clear so the correct measures can be put in place.
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