Recently a number of people have been charged on driver training scheme in Ontario and Quebec. Shocking? Not really.
The TTSAO have been meeting with all areas of government in Ontario since the introduction of MELT raising concern about the state of the truck driver training industry in Ontario. We have real problem on our hands and it has been a merry-go-round ever since the introduction of Mandatory Entry Level Driver Training (MELT).
Many of the leaders in the industry cautioned the stakeholders and government at meetings that enforcement and regulations were going to be very important moving forward once MELT was introduced. Much of this fell on deaf ears, the government at the time were more interested in getting it done, introduced so they could move on. We suggested to the government at the time that they needed to have MELT for DZ licensing as well as instructor certification needed to be dealt with as part of MELT. We were told that was not the mandate.
The TTSAO and its leadership supported unanimously went as far as to tell the government at the time that the association and its members would not sign off on MELT unless they committed to introducing MELT for DZ and more importantly Instructor Certification.
The government told us on a call one late Friday afternoon that if we signed off on MELT they would begin working on MELT for DZ and Instructor certification as soon as we introduced MELT for class AZ in Ontario. It would take a little time but there was a commitment to be back at the table as a group within a year. That was 5 years ago. The government at the time got what the wanted. As the largest association for truck driver training schools – they needed our support and based on their commitment we gave it to them on that Friday afternoon.
Ontario was the first to implement MELT in Canada and that was in July 2017, 103.5 hours. The TTSAO informed all stakeholders that most schools who were TTSAO members were offering a 200 course that was endorsed by insurance companies. 103.5 hours was not enough and most importantly who was going to enforce and regulate? The answer was pretty clear- The Ministry of Colleges, Private Career division is responsible for this. They are under staffed, over worked and do not have the bandwidth to properly monitor our sector. This division is responsible for approximately 500 Private Career Colleges in Ontario that offer various certificate and diploma programs to over 159,000 adult learners a year in fields such as business, health services, applied arts, welding, hairdressing, tech and yes transportation. The private college business is growing every day and nowhere more than in truck driver training.
The TTSAO has said for years that the responsibility, regulation and enforcement of truck driver training schools needs to be with the Ministry of Transportation. Their staff knows trucking, their enforcement officers understand road safety. We have suggested working in a collaborative manner with the TTSAO Insurance Group and their Subject Matter Experts (SME’s) allowing proper regulation and enforcement to happen.
In response to the recent news story, “11 charged in Ontario and Quebec driver training schemes,” the leadership, board of directors and members of the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario (TTSAO) know that driver training schemes are happening in every province and territory. This is really just the tip of the iceberg. Hopefully once the election is over we can get back to the table with government and industry to assist in positive change that will improve our industry and improve road safety.
The last thing we need is another Humboldt, my heart and many others still ache.
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