Immigrants and temporary residents to Canada from several countries are soon going to be able to get their Class 5 driver’s licenses on Prince Edward Island without having to wait at least a year in the graduated program.

Under the Licensed Driver Education Course, foreign nationals would reportedly be able to enjoy the same kind of benefits now currently enjoyed by Americans, the British and the Japanese.

Those countries have a reciprocity agreement with Canada. It allows citizens of those countries to simply swap their countries’ driver’s licenses for Canadian ones once they come to Canada. 

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Not so for other countries like China, Brazil or India, the biggest single source of new permanent residents to Canada. 

Immigrants from those countries have to complete tests and go through the roughly one-year-long graduated program which comes with passenger limits and other restrictions.

The new program, which is reported to be unveiled in September, is going to be administered by driving schools on the Island and will cost roughly $700.

With the global labour shortage of truckers, the new program to more quickly allow foreign nationals to swap their driver’s licenses for Canadian ones is expected to be a boon for those looking for jobs as commercial drivers. 

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The latest driver shortage survey by the IRU, an international transportation industry association based in Geneva, reveals trucker shortages are expected to jump up to 40 per cent this year.

“Chronic commercial driver shortages are getting worse, with millions of positions remaining unfilled,” said IRU secretary-general Umberto de Pretto in a statement in June. “This is putting already stressed economies and communities at higher risk of inflation, social mobility issues and supply chain meltdown.”

CTA Describes Trucker Shortage In Canada As ‘Acute’

Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) spokesman Jonathan Blackham has described the shortage of truckers in Canada as “acute” and said it poses a strain on the country’s supply chain. 

The Canadian trucking industry association is bullish on the recruitment of truckers from around the world. Last week, Blackham welcomed a plan by Immigration Minister Sean Fraser to open up the Express Entry program to truckers.  

“CTA has been calling on the government of Canada to help address our sector’s growing labour shortages by working with our industry to improve access to immigration channels,” Blackham told Trucking News. 

There are several ways for foreign nationals to immigrate to Prince Edward Island. 

Under the Prince Edward Island Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), foreign nationals who meet provincial criteria can immigrate to the Atlantic Canadian province through three streams:

  • Prince Edward Island Express Entry;
  • Prince Edward Island Labour Impact, and;
  • Prince Edward Island Business Impact.

AIP An Increasingly Popular Program For Immigration To PEI

The province also welcomes immigrants through the joint federal-provincial Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP)

Periodically throughout the year, the PEI PNP issues Letters of Advice to Apply (LAA) through provincial draws.

PEI’s Express Entry category operates by considering candidates already in the federal Express Entry Pool for a provincial nomination.

Such a nomination adds 600 points to a candidate’s Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score and effectively guarantees an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Canadian immigration.

Those eyeing the PEI Express Entry pathway must be registered in the federal Express Entry system and meet the requirements of one of the three federal economic immigration programs:

The PEI Express Entry Category features two pathways to Canadian permanent residence, one for candidates with a job offer and one for those without a position. Priority is given to applicants living and working in PEI.

Under the Prince Edward Island Labour Impact pathway, there are two streams:

Skilled Worker Stream Gives Permanent Residence

The employer-driven Skilled Worker stream allows skilled workers with an employment offer in PEI to be nominated for Canadian permanent residence if they meet the following criteria:

  • a full-time employment offer from a Prince Edward Island business in an occupation classified as skill level “0”, “A” or “B” of the National Occupational Classification (NOC);
  • completion of post-secondary education, with a minimum of 14 years of formal education;
  • between 21 and 55 years of age;
  • at least two years of full-time work experience in the past five years;
  • sufficient proficiency in English or French to occupy the employment offered;
  • sufficient settlement funds, and;
  • a demonstrated intention to settle on Prince Edward Island.

The Critical Worker category is designed to resolve labour shortages and is open to foreign workers already in PEI with employment in specific critical demand occupations. The primary criteria for nomination are:

  • a full-time offer of employment from a Prince Edward Island business in one of the following occupations:
    • truck driver;
    • customer service representative;
    • labourer;
    • food and beverage server, and;
    • housekeeping attendant.
  • six months of work experience with the Prince Edward Island business offering employment;
  • a currently-valid Canadian work permit;
  • a high school diploma and a minimum of 12 years of formal education;
  • between 21 and 55 years of age;
  • at least two years of full-time work experience in the past five years;
  • a demonstrated basic proficiency in English or French language;
  • sufficient settlement funds, and;
  • a demonstrated intention to settle in Prince Edward Island.

Foreign nationals applying under the PEI Work Permit Stream need to get a work permit and then take a job with a business in the province for a certain amount of time as designated in a performance agreement.

After the terms of that agreement are fulfilled, the applicant must make a minimum $150,000 investment in the business and commit to managing the business on a daily basis from within the province. 

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