What You Need To Know To Be A Truck Driver in Canada

Canada Is Calling!

Truck drivers deliver something special. They work behind the scenes to ensure that we can preserve our way of life and ensure our daily needs are met. Trucking is hard work and there are many drivers from around the world that want to move to Canada. They could be looking for a new start, safer home for their family, greater income, or all of the above.

Roadways from the Canadian Prairies to California and Arizona are some of the most beautiful and enjoyable routes out there. Plan your resets to take advantage of the beauty and adventure that California and Arizona have to offer – especially in winter!

Moving to Canada isn’t as simple as relocating and jumping in a truck. It takes a long time, a lot of commitment, and a financial investment in moving and supporting yourself once you arrive. Yes, this opportunity isn’t for everyone, but for those who are brave and feel this is the right fit and timing for them, have a chance to unlock a new future for themselves. 

So, if you’re interested in driving in North America, let’s jump right in! 

Below is a detailed overview of what you need to know and what it takes to move to Canada to be a professional driver with Agri-Fresh. 

This guide covers: 

  1. An overview of the position and opportunity to drive with Agri-Fresh
  2. An explanation of the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP) which is the program used to bring experienced drivers to Canada
  3. Our hiring criteria 
  4. The qualifications needed to be accepted by the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program
  5. Frequently Asked Questions
  6. If you prefer watching a video rather than reading, we even have a Facebook Livestream right below here that goes through all of this information in great detail but is easy to understand 

What It’s Like To Drive With Agri-fresh

At Agri-Fresh, we take great pride in our customer-focused culture, and we look for drivers who share this vision. Our ideal driver has a passion for driving the long-haul routes and is committed to delivering fresh and healthy produce to Canadians.

What you can expect:

  • The starting rate per mile is $0.45/mile for year 1, in $0.50 year 2
  • Pay for picks, drops, layovers, delays, and border crossings
  • Performance bonus, yearly retention bonus, and driver of the month/year recognition
  • A health benefits package after three months.
  • Vacation pay of four percent
  • Late-model Kenworth trucks (660s and 680s)
  • Driving an average of 11,000 miles per month or about 58 hours a week

As an Agri-Fresh driver, you can expect a starting salary anywhere from $65k – $70k per year

Related: You can see a detailed job description here.

Moving to Canada is a big move and we use the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program to help qualified drivers come to Canada. 

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Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program

The Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP) is a program created to bring skilled workers to Manitoba with the goal of benefitting the provincial economy and providing meaningful work for newcomers. The MPNP for Skilled Workers is locally driven and based on the needs of Manitoba employers. They select internationally trained and experienced workers, and help them settle and work in Manitoba while nominating them to receive Canadian permanent resident visas.

What We Look For When We Hire

As a customer-centric company, we have an immense amount of pride in what we do and who we work with. When it comes to hiring, we look for people who share our vision. 

To work with Agri-Fresh, we look for drivers who are:

  • Rooted to past companies
    • Not every job is the right fit, and we understand that. However, we do want to see a sense of loyalty in our drivers. It’s a mutual investment.
  • Always willing to grow
    • Canadian driving comes with its own set of characteristics. Not just with the terrain, but many parts of the day-to-day differs from European trucking. We need drivers who are willing to adapt and embrace the Canadian roads and our California-to-prairies long hauls.
  • Drivers with great attention to detail
    • From your logs to the condition of your truck, we look for drivers who share the same sense of pride in the work we do.

And then there’s the rest of the credentials. To drive with Agri-Fresh (and in Canada), you must:

  • Have a minimum of three years of long-haul driving experience
  • Have a Class 1A (or equivalent) driver’s license with two to three years of experience
  • Be eligible for cross-border travel
  • Be able to travel for extended periods —The average length of a trip is 15-25 days
  • Be able to operate and drive articulated trucks to transport goods and materials
  • Be able to plan travel schedules and routes using maps and other trip planning tools such as GPS
  • Have experience in winter (snow and ice) and mountain driving is preferred
  • Be able to lift at least 50 lbs
  • Have a clear criminal record check
  • Have a good driver abstract with no major violations
  • Have clear verbal and written English (Level 5 IELTS)

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What You Need To Become A Driver In Manitoba

Before driving with us, we help you map out a plan to settle in Manitoba and train to become a long-haul driver.

We start by talking about your settlement funds — this is the money you need to set aside to live while you train for your career with Agri-Fresh. This settlement fund should account for:

  • Eleven to 15 weeks for training.
  • Food for the duration of the training. We estimate about $900 in food costs for yourself.
  • Fuel costs average to about $400-$500.
  • Other things we want our drivers to consider are tools, a mailing address and safety gear. This averages another $1,250.
  • Lastly, Manitoba truck driver licensing will be the biggest investment at $8,000-$10,000.

You’re looking at $13,650 to settle in Canada. Agri-Fresh subsidizes the training. We’re also here to help you through the entire process. We understand it’s a big commitment to immigrate to a new place and we want to make that process and comfortable as possible.

After you fill out an assessment form with us, we’ll schedule you in for a ‘Fresh Fit’ meeting and then a ‘Healthy Profits’ meeting where we break down the settlement fund, talk about the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program, and do some pre-employment testing. In order to officially apply, you’ll need documents including:

  • A criminal record check
  • A copy of your license
  • Your passport
  • Pictures of your current vehicle
  • Your resume and cover letter 

Communication is key at Agri-Fresh, and it’s important to us that our drivers have strong written and verbal English skills. The last major component we look need from our drivers is the completion of the IELTS exam. This exam ensures you’re able to clearly communicate in English.

Your training for your Class 1 driver’s license will take a minimum of 121.5 hours of class time and road training. This is the largest cost in your settlement fund. You’ll be set up with one of our partner driving schools and then you’ll go through further training with our team once you’ve obtained your license.

In summary

If this opportunity sounds interesting for you, the FIRST STEP is to fill out the contact form below. Once we determine if you are a good fit for us and we’re a good fit for you, then we can get into more details about the position and the approval process. So, if you’re ready to see if we’re a good fit then, please…

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FAQs

Do you only hire single drivers or do you hire teams?

We’re open to team drivers! For the most part, we hire single drivers, though we do have some teams. 

What are the main lanes from the prairies to California?

We specialize in long-haul routes from California and Arizona to the Canadian Prairies (Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan). We don’t have local runs at this time.

What if someone only has experience with an automatic?

Experience with a manual truck is a necessity because our drivers start with Kenworth T660 and T680 trucks, which are manual. 

Is Agri-Fresh part of the LMIA program? How is it different from MPNP?

Not yet, but we are working to be a part of it in 2020. The Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) program is similar to the MPNP, just on a federal (all of Canada), rather than provincial (Manitoba) level. The MPNP requires you to be working towards becoming a permanent resident, where the LMIA program doesn’t.

Why is Agri-Fresh a good fit and a great employer?

We are a carrier with a higher purpose. We provide a service that is critical for Canadians with our specialization in hauling fresh fruit and vegetables from California and Arizona to the Canadian Prairies. If you’re looking for a position as a driver with a higher purpose and want to help Canadians eat healthy every day — Agri-Fresh is the company for you.

What does a typical rounder look like?

One of rounders starts by taking freight from the prairies such as oats or canola oil and delivering it to one of our southern customers. From there, you’d pick up a produce freight in California and deliver it to either Calgary, Alberta or Regina, Saskatchewan. One rounder is about 600 miles a day and an eight to ten day trek. We usually have our drivers do two rounders before returning home. Click to read this post to learn what a typical rounder is like with Agri-Fresh!

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