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FOREST INK: How to get more women driving logging trucks

There is an existing low percentage of female drivers (three per cent of Canadian trucking jobs).
Jim Hilton pens a column on forestry each week for the Free Press

Getting information these days can be a challenge if you have a slow Internet connection. While I made some progress when I went to a satellite dish (an initial improvement from phone connection) the speed seems to depend on the time of day (early morning is best) and how much you’re willing to pay each month.

My latest Internet search about women involved with driving logging trucks presented me with written articles, You Tube videos and TikTok clips. There is lots of material to choose from but lately most of my time is spent watching the little icon spinning around as I wait for the next video clip to appear and when it does come on I spend more time waiting than I do watching. Assuming most people have a faster connection, the best I can do is inform you what videos to watch but then you can probably do this faster than reading my articles.

Keeping all this in mind I still encourage you to read on. Looking at the number of adds for jobs it should not be a surprise that logging truck drivers are also in short supply. Heavy equipment operators including truck drivers has been a male-dominated profession so some organizations are promoting the idea of trying to increase the existing low percentage of female drivers (three per cent of Canadian trucking jobs). Some provinces are doing a better job than others. For example, Gennaro Transport Training out of Alberta has some courses specifically designed for women. An article in the Canadian Forest Industry’s page describes how “Tiara Seitz is a log hauler and owner of Woodrow Trucking in Lower Nicola. She has been a log hauler for over 20 years now, and says she loves what she does and it gave her the opportunity to take her two young kids on the road with her.”

Another local example is Kaylee Roberts, who hauls wood from Mackenzie to Prince George.

Roberts, who was born in Quebec, moved to B.C. when she was 17. She has had a very diversified background as she gained some experience driving trucks. An article describes how “she worked for five years as a fruit picker before qualifying to be a truck driver and credits social media for allowing her to connect with other female truck drivers.”

Although Roberts loves the variety of wildlife she is able to witness, she laments that her job sometimes leads to animal causalities on the road. Due to the size and speed of logging trucks, it’s unsafe to swerve for animals. For example recently, she was unable to avoid hitting an injured moose on the highway. Find out more about Roberts’s experiences as a logging truck driver on her Instagram and TikTok sites.

The following are some additional resources that may be helpful for women thinking of driving transport trucks.

Alberta Government Supporting Women In Commercial Trucking Careers. Alberta’s government has earmarked $3 million to help support women who are seeking job opportunities in the transportation sector.

Driving Back To Work Grant Program.

Women With Drive Leadership Summit.

Top Fleet Employers Program.

Skills Training Project In Ontario.

YWCA Changing Gears

Women Shifting Gears.

Jim Hilton is a retired professional forester in the Cariboo.