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Boosting Alberta trucking jobs, training

Provincial Press Release November 26, 2020 @ 12:32 published at 2:52pm

New programs will improve access to trucking jobs and address driver shortages while keeping Albertans safe on the road.

The new Driving Back to Work grant program will make the Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) required to earn a Class 1 commercial licence more affordable. The new Experience and Equivalency program will reduce the time it takes for Class 3 drivers to upgrade to a Class 1 licence. These changes do not affect the high training and safety standards required by MELT in order to keep Alberta’s roads safe.

“Farmers, foresters, roughnecks and truckers made it clear that cost is the major barrier to hiring Albertans. Providing better paths to earn a Class 1 licence will help deal with a shortage of truckers, getting our goods to market safely. These programs are designed to put Albertans back to work today to build our economy tomorrow.” Ric McIver, Minister of Transportation

“Creating good-paying jobs for Albertans has never been more important. Providing hundreds of unemployed Albertans with financial support so they can train to get behind the wheel safely, and recognizing safe drivers’ experience, will create jobs now and in the future and will ensure that critical supplies continue to flow across our province.” Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy, and Innovation

“These programs break down costly barriers for unemployed Albertans to gain the skills needed to help address labour shortages in the trucking industry and gets Albertans back to work. By doing so, it also helps to broadly support Alberta’s economic recovery, as trucking connects businesses and communities with the goods they need to succeed.” Jason Copping, Minister of Labour and Immigration

“Assisting with training costs for entry-level commercial drivers and specific programs to upskill and promote experienced commercial drivers will help put Albertans back to work while ensuring essential supply chains remain resilient. This grant will ensure that the new transportation workforce is trained by professional road and safety experts while we continue to address the issue of driver shortages and support Alberta’s economic recovery and diversification. The Alberta Motor Transport Association will continue to advocate for new ways to meet the demands of a more sophisticated and data-driven global supply chain while ensuring the utmost in safety training.” Chris Nash, president, Alberta Motor Transport Association

The $3-million Driving Back to Work grant program will cover up to 90 per cent of the cost of the MELT program for 300 unemployed Albertans to earn a Class 1 commercial truck driver licence.

The Experience and Equivalency Class 1 MELT Training Program will give Class 3 drivers with a minimum of two years of experience the opportunity to take a 40-hour Class 1 training upgrade instead of the 113-hour Class 1 MELT Program, which is focused on brand new drivers.

Alberta’s Recovery Plan is a bold, ambitious long-term strategy to build, diversify, and create tens of thousands of jobs now. By building schools, roads and other core infrastructure we are benefiting our communities. By diversifying our economy and attracting investment with Canada’s most competitive tax environment, we are putting Alberta on a path for a generation of growth.

Quick facts

  • Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) is a required training program for new Class 1 (tractor-trailer) and Class 2 (bus) drivers taught at driver training schools and organizations across Alberta.

  • It includes mandatory standardized driver training curriculums with set hours for in-class, in-yard and in-vehicle training.

  • The cost for MELT training for Class 1 drivers is capped at $10,000, but the current average cost of training across Alberta is $8,900.

  • Unemployed Albertans must qualify for employment insurance and can apply for the grant online.

  • Class 1 MELT takes 113 hours to complete. This total does not include the Air Brake program, which is about 8.5 additional hours. Class 2 MELT takes 50 hours. Class 2-S MELT (for school bus drivers) takes 53.5 hours.

  • After successful completion of the Experience and Equivalency Class 1 MELT Program, all participants will be required to pass the Class 1 MELT knowledge and road tests to obtain their Class 1 commercial driver’s licence.

  • Albertans will need to apply to Alberta Transportation to ensure they have the needed experience before they are approved to take the Experience and Equivalency Class 1 MELT program.

  • Alberta is expected to have a shortage of 3,600 commercial truck drivers by 2023.

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