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Sask. government to release truck training regulations next week

SGI Minister Joe Hargrave says the province will announce whether they go with mandatory or standardized truck training next week. Jonathan Guignard / Global News

Minister responsible for SGI Joe Hargrave said that he will have a very busy week as the province finalizes regulations for commercial truck training.

The province has said they were doing this review of commercial truck driver training even before the Humboldt Broncos bus crash in April that killed 16 people.

“It’s probably something that should have been done years and years ago, the mandatory training or at least standardized training should have been done years ago,” Hargrave said.

“So we’re looking at what is the best way to do it. That’s why we’ve consulted with the trucking industry, the training industry, we’ve consulted with numerous other industries that may be affected. We want to get it without having unintended consequences. We want to make sure we get it right.”

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A concern about mandatory training raised by the industry is the challenge in finding drivers, according to Hargrave.

“You don’t want to lower the bar, and they don’t. A lot of those companies have their own training program that they encourage,” Hargrave said.

“When we were checking with training schools and a number of people do go through training even though it’s not mandatory – there is no restriction for it – the vast majority still go through that training program.”

Opposition Leader Ryan Meili raised the issue of mandatory versus standardized training in Question Period Tuesday, calling for mandatory training.

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“Having it mandatory means it won’t be most, it will be all, and that’s what really matters the most is that we have everybody who is on the road driving a large truck has the training to do so safely. That’s what it’s all about,” Meili said.

When asked about the argument that mandatory training would make it harder for companies to hire drivers, Meili said the needs of the province should come before the needs of a company.

“The first thing we have to establish is safety, and making sure that any trucking that’s going on is done in the safest way possible and so the industry needs to adapt to the needs of the province, which is all about making sure we’re reducing accidents, reducing fatalities.”

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For drivers already on the road, Meili said he would be fine with them being grandfathered in if they had a certain number of hours behind the wheel and a clean driving record.

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