Ontario's mandatory entry level training plan now in effect

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line associate editor | Thursday, July 07, 2016

New drivers hoping to break into the trucking industry in the Canadian province of Ontario must now successfully complete mandatory entry-level training before attempting the Class A road test.

The move to introduce entry-level driver training stemmed from the provincial government’s efforts to curtail so-called “CDL license mills” that offered minimal training to new drivers.

The Ontario Ministry of Transportation says these changes will improve road safety and address the trucking industry’s need for qualified and well trained commercial Class A truck drivers while eliminating inadequate training through unregistered truck schools.

“The safety of all users of Ontario’s roads and highways is our top priority,” said Steven Del Duca, minister of transportation for the province in a prepared statement. “The introduction of mandatory training in addition to knowledge and road tests is designed to ensure that commercial truck drivers are properly trained before they are tested.”

Individuals seeking a Class A license in Ontario on or after July 1, 2017, will need to successfully complete mandatory entry-level training before attempting the Class A road test. Individuals who already have a Class A license before this date will not be required to take training.

The mandatory entry-level course will take approximately four to six weeks to complete and course fees will be set by individual training providers. Schools approved by the province have a year to develop a curriculum using a consistent provincial training standard.  The new Commercial Truck Driver Training Standard (Class A) is expected to be available in July.

Ontario becomes the first jurisdiction in North America to introduce and implement mandatory training for new commercial vehicle drivers.

“By being the first jurisdiction in North America to introduce mandatory entry-level training for commercial truck drivers, Ontario is leading the way in terms of further improving highway safety and helping the industry to ensure it has an adequate supply of consistently trained, quality new drivers in the future,” said David Bradley, CEO of the Ontario Trucking Association.

The proposal featured endorsements from key stakeholders in the provincial trucking industry, including the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario, Inc. Highlights of the proposal include:

  • Mandatory entry-level training will be delivered by private career colleges, Ontario Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology and recognized authorities under the Ministry of Transportation’s Driver Certification Program.
  • A Class A license is needed to drive a commercial motor vehicle towing a trailer that exceeds 4,600 kg (10,141 lbs) 
  • Mandatory entry-level training course completion will be recorded by approved training providers on a provincial web-based system and verified by Drive Test Centres prior to allowing an applicant to attempt a Class A road test.
  • In 2014, there were approximately 291,155 large trucks in Ontario and 191,291 Class A drivers, representing 1.83 per cent of the entire driving population.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association supports entry-level driver training among its top safety priorities. In the U.S., the first public steps toward a proposed driver training mandate are close to being completed. The proposed rulemaking on entry-level driver training has cleared its final hurdle before its public debut. It was signed off on by the White House Office of Management and Budget review Feb. 18.

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