One of Doug Ford's senior cabinet ministers was in North Bay on Tuesday talking about the trucking industry and the need to help companies find and hire drivers.

Economic Development and Job Creation Minister, Todd Smith, was at the local Manitoulin Transport facility to listen to the concerns from the trucking industry, as well as to announce changes to a provincial immigration program to help ease the labour shortage.

“We're opening up our Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program to allow for these trucking companies to find drivers that want to come from another country. We will help get them on the pathway to a permanent residency, and more importantly, fill a labour shortage need in our own community here in the north,” said Smith.

Stephen Laskowski is the president of the Ontario Trucking Association and says there is a great need for more drivers.

“We're at about 20,000 short per year, and what's going on in northern Ontario isn't just the shortage, we are also having a demographic tsunami. The average age of a truck driver in Canada is over 55-years-old, and in northern Ontario, it's even higher.” said Laskowski.

The minister says a similar plan will be put in place to help attract more personal support workers.