Today's Trucking

Humboldt’s Legacy: The lessons truck drivers will learn

December 10, 2018 by John Smith

Few events have shaken Canada’s trucking industry more than last spring’s crash between a truck and Humboldt Broncos bus near Armley, Sask. Families were left to mourn 16 dead and support the 13 wounded. The charges against Adesh Deol Trucking and its driver are now making their way through the courts. But there are already signs that this collision will have a lasting legacy – especially as provinces look to refine the skills of those behind the wheel.


Alberta to mandate driver training

July 11, 2018 by John Smith

CALGARY, Alta. – Alberta has been discussing the idea of mandatory entry-level driver training since 2016, but it was ultimately the fatal crash of a truck and team bus that accelerated plans to require such training by January 2019.


Drivers ‘deserve to be trained’, says BC widow calling for nation-wide standards

May 7, 2018 by elizabeth

FALKLAND, B.C. – Pattie Babij is on a mission to make new driver training mandatory nation-wide.

It’s been a difficult year for Babij. A little more than 12 months ago her husband Steve was driving his truck near Revelstoke, B.C. when another semi crossed the median and hit him head on – neither he nor the couple’s dog Zak survived the crash.

To add to the grief, she’s being forced to sell her dairy farm because she’s unable to run it without her husband’s help.


Mandatory training won’t fix everything, but it will help

May 2, 2018 by John Smith

The chorus calling for improved and mandatory training for truck drivers is growing louder as the days pass following the Humboldt, Sask. truck/bus crash. We still don’t know the official cause of that crash, or what role driver training — or the lack thereof — played in the incident. I’m not inclined to believe it was a primary factor. I think what is playing in most peoples’ minds is the driver’s reported lack of experience.


Mind the Paper Trail: Track driver files or face the consequences

February 9, 2018 by John Smith

Kevin James Hickson has built a career on delivering metal. It began with local deliveries and a pickup truck before a co-worker told him about the job opening for someone with a Class AZ licence. All it took was training […]


SPECIAL REPORT: The early days of mandatory training

August 18, 2017 by John Smith

TORONTO, ON — Darryl Robitaille belongs to a rare graduating class, one of the first future truck drivers to study under Ontario’s new Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) regime. That means he had to complete at least 103.5 hours of approved training before the Ontario Ministry of Transportation would allow him to take the road test for an AZ licence to drive tractor-trailers.

He failed on the first attempt.

“The road test I did fine on,” says the resident of Caledonia, Ontario, referring to actions like steering and backing. His challenge was with new questions linked to pre-trip inspections. “I was extremely nervous,” Robitaille adds. This despite the fact that he personally completed a 200-hour training program, well above the mandated minimum introduced on July 1. But with a little extra studying he passed the test on his second attempt. Now he is looking to secure his first job behind the wheel.

Robitaille can take comfort in knowing he wasn’t alone.


Ontario driver training schools warned

August 9, 2017 by John Smith

TORONTO, ON – Ontario’s private career colleges have received a stern warning from the ministry that oversees them, after complaints that some schools are trying to bypass newly introduced mandatory training for commercial drivers.
The Mandatory Entry Level Training (MELT) program was introduced by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation on July 1, and sets a minimum of 103.5 hours of training for anyone looking to earn a Class A licence. It’s the first jurisdiction in North America to introduce such a standard.
In a memo obtained by Today’s Trucking, the Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development says it has heard some schools may not be complying with approved training programs and conditions. The issue includes programs designed to upgrade BZ or DZ licence holders to AZ licences, or simple hourly lessons.


Syrian driver in waiting: “I don’t want to be idle”

July 7, 2017 by John Smith

TORONTO, ON — Truck driver Ahmad Al Rasoul knew it was time to leave Syria the day the bedroom where his two-year-old son Joseph was sleeping got destroyed by a bomb. Miraculously, young Joseph remained unscathed, albeit covered in ashes. Rasoul, 46 at the time, and his wife Rasmia Al Mekhlef, had four other children and lived in Homs, a community badly wracked by the Syrian civil war. You’ve probably seen the skeletal remains of Homs buildings on the news. Since he got his licence at 22, Rasoul had been a truck driver and loves the work. But he’s still waiting to apply his skills in Ontario.


Driver exam crush ahead of mandatory training

May 10, 2017 by John Smith

TORONTO, ON — An increasing number of would-be truck drivers are lining up for licensing tests at Ontario DriveTest centers as the province approaches a July 1 deadline to introduce Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT).

The number of appointments has increased since the beginning of 2017 and was up 20% last March when compared to the same month in 2016, an Ontario Ministry of Transportation spokesman confirms.

The surge was not unexpected, either. Extra examiners were trained, and more classified test slots had been allocated to respond to an increase in demand.


Association releases “DCP in a box”

May 3, 2017 by John Smith

TORONTO, ON — The Ontario Trucking Association has released its Essential Driving Skills: Tractor-Trailer Driver curriculum for fleets that want to upgrade their Driver Certification Program (DCP) ahead of the province’s Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) regime that takes effect July 1.


Alberta assistant deputy minister outlines provincial plans

May 1, 2017 by John Smith

BANFF, AB – Shaun Hammond, Alberta Transportation’s assistant deputy minister – safety policy and engineering, offered government views on a broad range of issues during the Alberta Motor Transport Association’s annual meeting in Banff on Friday.


Industry faces time of change: Laskowski

May 1, 2017 by John Smith

BANFF, AB – From discussions about driver training to negotiations around the North American Free Trade Agreement, Canada’s trucking industry is facing a time of significant change. And the Canadian Trucking Alliance is in the midst of it all.


MELT will shake up driver training: Panel

February 18, 2017 by John Smith

MISSISSAUGA, ON — Industry experts at the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario’s (TTSAO) annual conference agree – the introduction of Mandatory Entry Level Training (MELT), effective this July, is going to shake up driver training.


Ontario’s plan to MELT

December 28, 2016 by John Smith

Ontario will become the first jurisdiction in North America to introduce Mandatory Entry Level Training (MELT) for truck drivers, making it tougher than ever to earn a Class A licence. As of July, wannabe truckers face a minimum of 135 hours of mandatory training, including 36.5 hours in the classroom, 17 hours in yard, 18 hours behind the wheel and off the road, and 32 hours on the road. But will this bring an end to licensing mills that do little more than take tuition and create poorly trained licence holders?


Ontario’s MELT standard coming any day

June 30, 2016 by Dave Nesseth

BRAMPTON, ON – The days of basically being able to walk in off the street and take a tractor-trailer test with no training whatsoever are over, said Ontario Trucking Association head David Bradley, who stood by the province’s Minister of Transportation Tuesday as he announced a new driver training plan that aims to boost driver quality and abolish so-called licensing mills.