March 26, 2019 10:53 am
Updated: March 26, 2019 7:03 pm

Manitoba announces mandatory entry-level training for commercial truck drivers

WATCH: Manitoba infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler explained the rationale behind the Sept. 1 date selected for new rules for truck drivers.

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With the recent sentencing of the driver in the Humboldt Broncos tragedy, truck safety is on a lot of minds.

Manitoba Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler announced Tuesday that mandatory entry-level training (MELT) for commercial truck drivers will come into effect Sept. 1.

READ MORE: Manitoba trucking industry wants higher mandatory standards for driver training


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The requirements will include 121.5 hours of training, which is the equivalent of three weeks of training.

“Our government is focused on public safety on our roads and highways in this province, and mandatory training for new truck drivers will make Manitoba safer,” said Schuler.

“Commercial truck drivers play an important role in moving our economy forward, and we’re focused on ensuring they have the necessary skills and qualifications to do their job in a way that ensures everyone is safe on the road.”

Currently, a Class 1 licence can be obtained by taking a written test and a practical road test. While there is currently no mandatory training in Manitoba, there is an industry-accepted standard for registered schools of 240 hours, or six weeks of training.

That’s the standard Manitoba Trucking Association’s Executive Director Terry Shaw says he would like to see before drivers are employed.

“The vast majority of our industry members cannot successfully employ someone with three weeks of training so we endorse a much higher pre-employment training standard,” Shaw said.

Shaw said he is looking for more information from the province on what these courses will entail.

WATCH: Manitoba announces mandatory entry-level training for commercial truck drivers

Minister Schuler said anyone who challenges for a Class 1 licence between now and Sept. 1 won’t require the mandated 121 hours, and that anyone with an existing Class 1 will be grandfathered in. The agricultural industry is getting an extra year before they are impacted by the changes as well.

The wait until Sept. 1, he said, is to allow for industry to get set up for the new regulations and government to do all of the necessary paperwork.

The province is also looking at toughening-up the road test but those changes haven’t been announced yet.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan introduces mandatory semi driver training after Humboldt Broncos tragedy

Manitoba is the fourth province to announce mandatory entry-level training for commercial truck drivers.

In Saskatchewan people who want to operate a semi-truck has to undergo a minimum of 121.5 hours of training. This includes instruction in a classroom, in the yard and behind the wheel before taking the road test.

There will also be a 12-month safety monitoring program introduced for all new semi-drivers.

READ MORE: A new federally-regulated training could cost truckers thousands

In Ontario, drivers have to take a mandatory entry-level training course that includes at least 103.5 hours of instruction. Applicants also need to submit a medical report and pass a vision test before passing a knowledge and road test.

In Alberta, drivers are required to take a pre-license training course that takes 113 hours to complete plus additional air brake training, followed by a knowledge test and a road test, before hitting the road.

WATCH: Mandatory Truck Driver Training

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