How Provincial Governments Responded to Questions on Truck Driver Testing

November 26, 2018 Company News Fleet Management Logistics Safety

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Published by cbc.ca, October 12, 2018 —

– *note : Quebec and Nunavut did not respond to Marketplace
– Ontario already has mandatory training requirements for new truck drivers

British Columbia – Ministry of Attorney General

– Safety is our ministry’s top priority and this government is committed to ensuring we do everything possible to continually improve driving conditions for everyone on our roads.

– Applicants for a Class 1 commercial driver’s licence in in B.C. are required to undergo robust testing, mandatory air brake training, and driver record screening prior to being issued a licence.

– B.C.’s current commercial driver training model is consistent with other Canadian jurisdictions, except Ontario which implemented a mandatory Class 1 commercial driver training program in 2017.

– ICBC is reviewing the current Class 1 commercial driver training program in B.C. We will be looking at the recommendations from that review to see what improvements can be made, and how we can work with ICBC and all necessary stakeholders to implement changes. ICBC is also actively monitoring the ongoing development of mandatory training being done in Alberta.

– We will be sharing more details of possible changes in due time.  Given the scope and impact of potential changes, it is important to take the time to get the changes right.

– National Safety Code standards for operating commercial vehicles within B.C. fall within the scope of Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement, under the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, which is provincial and not federal. However, the federal government could impose standards on licensed drivers that operate inter-provincially. Consistent standards and the ability for commercial drivers and companies to operate across Canada are important factors in any changes that would be developed provincially.

Alberta –  Alberta Transportation

Here is a link to our July 10 news release about mandatory entry level training and other potential enhancements to the driver training and testing industry currently being considered by government: https://www.alberta.ca/release.cfm?xID=5729239DD5CDE-0266-46BC-793F8645970D79F6  

Follow up response:
Effective March 1, 2019, any person who wants to obtain a Class 1 or Class 2 driver’s licence must take the Mandatory Entry Level Training (MELT) Program.  The MELT program will be a government standardized curriculum consisting of a mandated number of in-classroom, in-vehicle (in-yard where the vehicle is not moving) and on-road training. All students will also be required to pass an enhanced knowledge and road test based on the curriculum in order to obtain their commercial driver’s licence.

The MELT curriculum is still under development. More detailed information about the curriculum and training hours will be released when it is complete.

Class 1 and Class 2 driver’s licence holders who got their licence on or before October 9, 2018,  will not be required to take the MELT Program.

Class 1 and Class 2 driver’s licence holders who obtain their licence between October 10, 2018 and March 1, 2019 must retake the enhanced knowledge test and road test—which will be based on the new MELT curriculum—when it becomes available in March. These drivers must successfully pass the knowledge test and the road test before March 1, 2020.

Alberta Transportation will provide MELT Program training for senior driving instructors at no cost to them or their affiliated driver training school.  Once the senior driving instructors have passed their training and testing, they will be required to retrain the driving instructors in their school.  Once this training is completed, the school must be recertified with Alberta Transportation to administer MELT training.

As of March 1, 2019, all existing Class 1 and Class 2 driver training schools and driving instructors must be recertified by Alberta Transportation to be able to administer the MELT Program for Class 1 and Class 2 driver training.  Previous Class 1 and Class 2 curriculums will no longer permitted as of March 1, 2019.

Saskatchewan provincial government

Why has Saskatchewan not implemented mandatory training for new large truck operators?

SGI officials have been working since last summer with industry and stakeholders to improve and standardize a training program for Class 1 drivers. It’s a significant undertaking, and Saskatchewan needs to collaborate with other jurisdictions to understand what improvements should be made.

In the wake of the Humboldt Broncos crash, involving a new driver who was not provincially required to undergo training, has the position of the Saskatchewan government changed?

  • We know improvements are required. We’ve been working on this for some time and are continuing to move forward on strengthening measures in the interest of safety.

If relevant, please describe in detail any changes that are being considered, along with timelines.

SGI officials are working with colleagues from British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba, as well as representatives from Transport Canada, to work toward a unified approach regarding driver training and requirements. This is a mobile industry, and we can find the best solutions if we work together to address gaps and inconsistencies when drivers cross provincial borders. This work includes curriculum content, the number of training hours and minimum training requirements (aligning with National Occupational Standards). Saskatchewan is also seriously considering mandatory training hours and improving driver examiner training and testing.  We will keep you updated on the progress of this approach this fall.

Under what conditions would Saskatchewan support mandatory training standards imposed by the federal government?

  • Commercial drivers travel all across Canada; Saskatchewan would be in favor of uniform standards across the country for this industry.

Manitoba – Communications Services Manitoba

Q: Why has Manitoba not implemented mandatory training for new large truck operators?

A: The Province of Manitoba through Manitoba Infrastructure (MI) and Manitoba Education and Training (MET) have committed to working together towards Mandatory Entry Level Training (MELT) for commercial truck drivers. As announced in April, the Manitoba government is consulting on the implementation of a standardized system of training and certification for commercial truck drivers. This work is being undertaken to ensure Manitoba’s commercial truck drivers are provided with the proper training and skills development before entering the workforce

Please see https://news.gov.mb.ca/news/?item=43756&posted=2018-04-26 for more information.

Q: In the wake of the Humboldt Broncos crash, involving a new driver who was not provincially required to undergo training, has the position of the Manitoba government changed?

A: As mentioned above, the Manitoba government is consulting on the implementation of a standardized system of training and certification for commercial truck drivers. The Humboldt tragedy has brought this issue back into the national spotlight, prompting provinces to examine their current training requirements for commercial truck drivers, and review any past positions they may have had on this issue.

Q: If relevant, please describe in detail any changes that are being considered, along with timelines.

A: Please see background on this in the news release noted above. As we are still in the process of conducting consultations and preparing the new requirements, it would premature to outline the changes being considered.

Q: Under what conditions would Manitoba support mandatory training standards imposed by the federal government?

A: There are no proposals on this issue from the federal government at this time.

New Brunswick – Justice and Public Safety

We have and will continue to work in collaboration with other Canadian jurisdictions on various highway safety issues including entry level training requirements for commercial drivers. We work with the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association to ensure training offered through private trainers meets the requirements of the association and its member employers, and the requirements of the licence to operate. Working with our various stakeholders, we continuously review our current program requirements and remain committed to the safety and security of motorists on our highways.

Nova Scotia – Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal

To operate a tractor trailer in Nova Scotia, you must have a Class 1 drivers licence. These licences are obtained through our Registry of Motor Vehicles offices by successfully completing both a written and road test.

Most individuals prepare for these exams by attending a commercial driving school to receive their training. These courses, while not provincially mandatory, provide students with the skills and hands-on training that many companies look for when hiring at an entry level.

Nova Scotia’s regulations for driver training schools can be found here: https://novascotia.ca/just/regulations/regs/mvdtschl.htm.

Prince Edward Island – Highway Safety Division

Commercial driver training/testing requirements for tractor-trailer operators is currently under review within the Department of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy here in Prince Edward Island.

This review includes discussions with the other Canadian jurisdictions through committee and working group meetings within the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA) as well as interaction with officials from Workforce and Advanced Learning as commercial driver training falls within their responsibility.

Representatives of the departments recognize that the current driver licensing process requires a prospective tractor-trailer driver to have some basic training/experience in preparation to challenge the test, otherwise his/her success in acquiring a Class 1A driver license will be close to impossible.

As an example, a prospective candidate for a Class 1A driver license must hold a class 5 license where he/she successfully passed written, vision and driving tests where knowing, understanding and obeying the rules of the road is required as well as safely operating a vehicle on the highway with other traffic under the watchful eye of Driver Qualification Officer.

As a qualification for a Class 1A driver license, the applicant is required to pass a written air brake exam that is complex and challenging as candidates must possess knowledge of all aspects of an air brake system on the truck-tractor and trailer.

Additionally, candidates must pass a practical pre-trip inspection test where he/she must demonstrate a knowledge of not only the air brake system on the truck-tractor and trailer but also all warning systems, lighting, tires, steering, suspension components etc.

The next test component is the unhook and hook-up of the trailer which requires substantial practice and experience to successfully complete this function.

Then comes the road test where the applicant must demonstrate safe handling of the articulated vehicle in traffic, adhering to all rules under the Highway Traffic Act while maintaining proper transmission shift patterns.

The last component of the drive test for a tractor-trailer driver license is the loading dock back-in and this must be successfully and safely completed as well by the applicant.

When we gave consideration to the current process, we came to the conclusion that there is an existing requirement for training/experience already built into the testing regime, albeit not clearly stated or laid out.

So with this in mind, and as a starting point for this review, officials from both provincial departments have met with representatives of the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association and the PEI Trucking Sector Council  to discuss current training/testing requirements and what we could do to add some additional structure to the existing process.

Several ideas have come out of our early deliberations, including but not limited to a more structured curriculum, a coaching/mentoring component, or a graduated program similar to the existing program for new drivers.

It is too early in the review to predict any outcomes, however everything is on the table for discussion at this point with a goal of improving on the existing processes.

Newfoundland – Service NL

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Motor Registration Division is currently conducting a review of training standards for all commercial classes of licences including large truck operators. As part of the process the Motor Registration Division are consulting with all Canadian jurisdictions on their individual programs. This review is anticipated to be completed in the Fall of 2018 and the outcome of this work will inform any changes that need to be considered for driver training.

Northwest Territories – Department of Infrastructure

Question 1 – Why has Northwest Territories not implemented mandatory training for new large truck operators?

Answer: At this time, the GNWT does not have a program in place for mandatory commercial truck driver training as we are still in the early stages of determining the best way to address this area in the NWT.   Because trucking is often inter-provincial/territorial in nature, the Northwest Territories (NWT) aims to harmonize its laws on this issue with other jurisdictions in Canada. The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT)is aware of Ontario’s new entry-level training  for commercial truck drivers and is  working with other jurisdictions to determine the appropriate course/s of action to enhance road safety in this area.

Question 2 – In the wake of the Humboldt Broncos crash, involving a new driver who was not provincially required to undergo training, has the position of Northwest Territories changed?

Answer: The Humboldt Broncos tragedy has undoubtedly brought the issue of mandatory commercial truck driver training to the forefront for many jurisdictions in Canada. The GNWT is continually working to improve road safety in the NWT and is examining its own programs and policies following the Humboldt Broncos tragedy.

Question 3 – If relevant, please describe in detail any changes that are being considered, along with timelines.

Answer: The GNWT is considering all options, including mandatory training for commercial truck drivers. Although only in the early stages of consideration, the GNWT is aware that such a program in the NWT would be required to be conducted in a larger city centre, such as Yellowknife.  This is because other smaller towns and communities in the NWT do not have the infrastructure (such as intersections, curbs, and sidewalks) that would be required to properly test an individual’s driving skills in a larger commercial vehicle.  Discussions on this issue are ongoing with other jurisdictions, industry groups, and other stakeholders in the NWT and more details are expected in the coming months.

In addition to mandatory training, the GNWT is also considering the other recommendations made by the Canadian Trucking Alliance in its Ten Point Action Plan to Raise the Bar for Truck Safety.

Question 4 – Under what conditions would Northwest Territories support mandatory training standards imposed by the federal government?

Answer: The GNWT works with all Provincial and Territorial jurisdictions, as well as the Federal Government, to improve road safety and will continue to monitor the issue of mandatory commercial truck driver training as it progresses.  If the Federal Government was to implement mandatory testing for commercial truck drivers, the GNWT would like to be consulted on the program in the early stages of development to ensure that the program can meet the unique needs of the NWT, including possible higher costs for training and the long distance travel that many residents would have to address in order to take the training in a larger city centre.

Yukon – Highways and Public Works

1. Why has Yukon not implemented mandatory training for new large truck operators?

a. Yukon Government is aware of Ontario’s new entry-level training for commercial truck drivers.  Trucking is often inter-provincial/territorial in nature and Yukon is currently engaged with other Canadian jurisdictions reviewing commercial entry level training.  This work is being done to identify gaps, issues, effectiveness and appropriate course/s of action needed to enhance road safety in this area.

2. In the wake of the Humboldt Broncos crash, involving a new driver who was not provincially required to undergo training, has the position of the Yukon government changed?

a. The Humboldt Broncos tragedy has undoubtedly brought the issue of mandatory commercial truck driver training to the forefront for many jurisdictions in Canada. Yukon Government is continually working to improve road safety and has begun a review of commercial entry level training in coordination with other Canadian jurisdictions.

3.  Under what conditions would Yukon support mandatory training standards imposed by the federal government?

a.  Yukon Government works with all Provincial and Territorial jurisdictions, as well as the Federal Government, to improve road safety and will continue to monitor the issue of mandatory commercial truck driver training as it progresses.  If the Federal Government was to implement mandatory testing for commercial truck drivers, Yukon would be consulted on the program in the early stages of development to ensure that the program can meet the unique needs of Yukon. Currently commercial entry level training would be a requirement imposed at a jurisdictional level.

Read more at cbc.ca

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