Trucking in Canada & How to Start a Trucking Business in Canada 2024

3 min read

As per the mid-year data from the United Nations, Canada is home to a population of 37,742,154 people. The vast expanse of the country is traversed by more than 700,000 trucks, with approximately 420,000 dedicated to commercial freight transportation. Among these, 500,000 are straight trucks, and 200,000 are truck tractors. The Canadian trucking industry, responsible for transporting nearly 61 million shipments in 2019, generated a substantial $37.9 billion in revenue. It's crucial to note that the term 'trucking industry' refers to companies engaged in cargo transportation via trucks, employing approximately 181,000 truck drivers.

The National Highway System of Canada spans 38,021 km, comprising three distinct types of routes:

  1. Core Routes:
    Covering 27,608 km, these routes include crucial interprovincial and international corridors.

  2. Feeder Routes:
    Spanning 4,490 km, these routes link core routes to other provincial and regional centres, including intermodal facilities and significant border crossings.

  3. Northern or Remote Routes:

 Extending over 5,922 km, these routes serve the northern provinces and territories.

The primary artery of the National Highway System is the Trans-Canada Highway, stretching 7,821 km and traversing all ten provinces.

Examining the history of trucking in Canada reveals its evolution from waterways as the primary mode of transportation. The construction of a rugged highway connecting Montreal to Quebec City in 1734 marked a shift. By the 1850s, railways dominated transportation, but the 1900s saw a surge in trucking popularity, highlighted by the purchase of Canada's first gasoline-powered truck by Parker Works. Truck driving courses gained traction, emphasizing the significance of trucking not just as transportation but also as a career. The introduction of refrigerated containers in the 1930s facilitated the transport of fresh produce across the country.

Transitioning to the present scenario, the Canadian trucking industry operates under regulations set by Transport Canada and the Motor Vehicle Transport Act. Key regulations include the Motor Carrier Safety Fitness Certificate, Commercial Vehicle Driver Hours of Service, Memorandum of Understanding on Interprovincial Weights and Dimensions (MOU), and the mandatory implementation of Electronic Stability Control (ESC) on commercial vehicles.

Licences and permits required to establish a trucking business in Canada encompass the National Safety Code Certificate, Federal Business Number for Income Tax and GST, International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) Registration, International Registration Plan (IRP) Registration, Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Fuel Charge Registration, and proper insurance coverage.

The National Safety Code, established in 1987, sets uniform safety standards for all Canadian trucking companies, emphasising safety, uniformity, and regulation enforcement across provinces and territories.

Insurance, a critical aspect for trucking companies, includes Liability Insurance, Bobtail Insurance, and Cargo Insurance. These provide coverage for damages caused by trucks, accidents during non-trucking operations, and protection for the cargo being transported, respectively.

Additionally, compliance with provincial and territorial rules is essential, and trucking companies must adhere to the specific licensing and regulatory requirements of the region they operate in. For the most up-to-date information, it is recommended to refer to the relevant provincial authorities or the ICBC website. Best of luck with your trucking endeavours!

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Eld Mandate 2
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