How Much Does A Truck Driver Make In Canada?

How Much Does A Truck Driver Make In Canada?

Truck driving is essential, acting as the cornerstone of the nation’s supply chain by guaranteeing the efficient transportation of goods across various locations. The vastness of Canada, with its sprawling landscapes, requires an extensive transportation network and truck drivers play a key role in maintaining the flow of this network. Naturally, many people considering this profession often wonder, “How much does a truck driver make in Canada?” as it’s a crucial factor in deciding whether to pursue this career.

Truck Driving Requirements And Qualifications

To become a truck driver in Canada, obtaining a specific class of driver’s license is essential, depending on the size and type of truck you intend to drive. This involves completing a driver’s education course, passing a knowledge test, and then successfully completing a road test. Beyond licensing, many employers require their drivers to undergo specialized training programs covering safety protocols, handling hazardous materials, or operating specialized vehicles. Toronto Truck Driving School (TTDS) offers premium instruction in a supportive setting, allowing truck drivers to hone their road skills and progress in their careers.

Comparing Short-Haul Vs. Long-Haul Driving

Truck driving jobs vary significantly in terms of responsibilities and earnings. One common question aspiring truck drivers ask is, “How much does a truck driver make in Canada?” The answer depends on several factors, but a significant one is whether one does short-haul or long-haul driving.

Short-haul drivers primarily operate within a specific region or province, usually covering distances that can be travelled within a day, meaning they don’t typically spend nights away from home. This is a significant advantage for those who prefer to return home daily. They are often paid an hourly wage, and the average yearly income for a short-haul driver in Canada starts around $36,660.

Long-haul drivers, sometimes crossing provincial or national borders, cover much greater distances. These trips can take several days to complete, requiring drivers to spend nights on the road. Their compensation is usually structured differently, with many being paid per mile. On average, a long-haul driver in Canada will earn about $48,310 per year when just starting out. However, those on the higher end of the earning spectrum can earn over $70,000 yearly, and some can make much more with experience.

The Truck Driving Experience

The truck driving experience varies widely between short-haul and long-haul driving, each with its own challenges, responsibilities, and rewards. Here are a few things to consider.

Life On The Road

For short-haul truck drivers, the daily routine mirrors that of local couriers. Despite the potentially lengthy and irregular days, they go home at night. Long-haul truck drivers face a more demanding lifestyle, with days or even weeks on the road, transporting goods across the country. While long stretches away from home result in a longer break upon return, it doesn’t make the job less challenging, especially for those with families.


While both types of truck drivers are responsible for coordinating the unloading of their cargo upon reaching their destination, the nature of the cargo being transported can significantly impact the truck driver’s responsibilities. For instance, transporting perishable goods, hazardous materials, or oversized loads requires additional care, expertise, and certifications.

Their interactions with customers, the logistics involved in their daily activities, and their stress levels can also vary significantly. For short-haul truck drivers, frequent stops and constant interaction with different customers can be both rewarding and challenging. It also involves more logistical planning and time management to ensure timely deliveries, which can be stressful during peak times or in dense urban areas with heavy traffic.

Long-haul truck drivers face different kinds of challenges. The long hours on the road can be physically and mentally taxing. They must manage their time efficiently to comply with driving hours and rest periods regulations. Long-haul truck drivers often face the challenge of maintaining a healthy work-life balance due to the extended periods away from home.

Road Expenses

The question “How much does a truck driver make in Canada?” is not just about the gross income, but it’s also crucial to factor in on-the-road expenses. Short-haul truck drivers have minimal job-related expenses — maybe a coffee to start the day and lunch later on. Long-haul truck drivers spend extended periods on the road, so they eat out more often, use paid facilities for showers and laundry, and occasionally pay for accommodations. While some companies might provide a stipend for these expenses, it’s not always the case. Long-haul truck driving can also have other indirect costs. For instance, a person’s physical and mental toll can lead to higher healthcare expenses in the long run.

Truck Types

Short-haul and long-haul truck drivers often drive different types of trucks. Short-haul trucks are more compact and easier to handle on city roads since they primarily operate within city limits. Long-haul trucks are much larger and designed to carry as much cargo as possible. Short-haul trucks are meant for solo driving and lack the additional amenities of long-haul tractor-trailers. The cab area is also quite different. Long-haul truck drivers, who can spend weeks on the road, usually have an extended cab with a small resting space and a cot, saving them money on hotels.

Maximizing Earnings And Opportunities

Boosting your earnings and future opportunities in the trucking industry involves several strategies. One direct way is by becoming an owner-operator, which means owning your truck or a fleet of trucks and running your own transport business. Although this requires a significant initial investment for purchasing trucks, insurance, and maintenance, it allows you to set your rates, choose your clients, and control your schedule. However, it also involves managing expenses, ensuring compliance with regulations, and maintaining your equipment.

Another avenue to explore is specialized hauling, which involves transporting hazardous materials, oversized loads, or perishable goods. These jobs often pay more due to the added risks and expertise required. Certifications, such as specific endorsements for transporting dangerous goods, can make you eligible for these roles. Expanding your skills and credentials by adding endorsements to your license or attending training programs can qualify you for a broader range of driving opportunities.

Truck driving in Canada offers the opportunity to explore diverse landscapes, enjoy job autonomy, especially in long-haul routes, and have job security due to the steady demand for goods transportation. It’s essential to consider these factors, personal circumstances, and long-term goals to determine the most suitable and rewarding type of truck driving for you.

For over 25 years, Toronto Truck Driving School (TTDS) has trained and licensed thousands of drivers now employed in various transportation industries. Registered as a Private Career College and a member of the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario, we have the experience and expertise to set your career in motion. Enroll today and join the thousands who have accelerated their careers with us!

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