Currently Ontario is the only Canadian province that requires training for commercial truck drivers beyond what is required to obtain a commercial license. In the wake of recent crashes, including the horrific accident involving a bus carrying the Humboldt Bronco’s hockey team, there is a growing push across the country for more mandatory training.
Currently, all provinces require commercial drivers to pass written, medical, and road tests, with training encouraged but not mandatory. Ontario requires drivers complete a 103.5 hour in-classroom and behind the wheel training course. This requirement was introduced last July, being the first province to do so.
Steve Laskowski, president of the Ontario Trucking Association and Canadian Trucking Alliance, called for all provinces to adopt Ontario’s “gold standard” for trucking requirements known as the Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program.
Both Saskatchewan and Alberta are looking in to implementing programs similar to MELT, with Saskatchewan in particular planning to have a plan rolled out by 2019. In contrast with Ontario’s training plan however, this plan would only require 70 hours of training, with the intention of extending the requirement over time.
The maritime provinces have been pushing for more training for years. An existing program is in place that recommends eight weeks of training followed by four weeks of internship with a fleet, but the program is currently voluntary.
Reputable companies often won’t hire drivers who lack sufficient training and have some form of refresher/ongoing training in place. Smaller companies often lack the resources to follow this behaviour.