October 12, 2018 – On Thursday evening CBC marketplace aired a story about the state of truck driver training in Saskatchewan. The story was a shock to many, but for those operating in the trucking industry for any length of time – this was not news. The failure of a Saskatchewan trained truck driver to pass a test in Ontario where training standards are amongst the highest in North America is not surprising. The Saskatchewan Trucking Association Membership has been advocating for many years that there be a training standard in Saskatchewan and that training be required for all Class 1 licences. As of today, this is not the case and drivers who do not have the aptitude or skills to work in today’s trucking industry continue to be given Class 1 licences.
The STA always says that all roads lead to safety. At the end of the day, the vast majority of fleet owners and operator’s top priority is that all their people get home to their families and make sure other road users do the same. Companies who foster a culture of safety would not hire this driver to operate a commercial vehicle because the industry knows that licenced in Saskatchewan does not mean you are trained. Many companies have in house training programs, mentorship programs, driver trainers etc to ensure that their drivers are trained and qualified to operate commercial vehicles. This explains why there are still unemployed Class 1 licence holders while the industry suffers from a long-standing driver shortage.
The Saskatchewan Trucking Association has been working closely with Saskatchewan Government Insurance for over a year to ensure that when standardized, mandatory commercial driver training is written into regulation in Saskatchewan, it is an adequate standard that meets the needs of the trucking industry hiring the drivers and the public that we all share the roads with. Extensive industry consultation has taken place and the association is optimistic about the final product.
Change is coming, but it is not coming fast enough. Standardized, mandatory training was introduced in Ontario in 2017, Alberta announced its regulatory changes earlier this week. Saskatchewan cannot afford to wait any longer. Both the trucking industry and the public deserve to know that a person holding a Class 1 Licence can safely and efficiently operate a commercial vehicle.