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No time for training?

MONTREAL, Que. – This September past, Camo-route, a Montreal research and resource company specializing in the trucking, bus and taxi industries officially launched a program it calls ‘mutuelle de formation.’ One of the main...

MONTREAL, Que. – This September past, Camo-route, a Montreal research and resource company specializing in the trucking, bus and taxi industries officially launched a program it calls ‘mutuelle de formation.’ One of the main objectives of mutuelle de formation is to come to the aid of transportation companies and help them improve the skills of their employees. As far as the trucking industry goes, the program applies to company drivers and owner/operators alike. Since the program began, four trucking companies have expressed an interest in taking advantage of mutuelle de formation.

The term mutuelle de formation does not translate easily into English, but think of it as a way for Camo-route to help companies without the resources or time to organize their own training and then match them up with specialist training companies.  

Camo-route does this in a multitude of ways; for example, it will assess and organize the training needs of transportation companies, create training plans, line up training specialists and evaluate the results. It can analyze training needs and then recommend customized training, which specialized training companies will prepare. It can also reduce training costs and make it more accessible by bringing together employees from several companies in a geographical region for training.

From the money point of view, mutuelle de formation also offers companies a way to hang onto money they are legally obliged to spend on training every year or lose, until they are ready to use it. Quebec’s Law 90 obliges companies with a gross payroll of $1 million or more to spend 1% of it on training each year. So a company with $1.5 million in gross salaries, for example, is obliged to spend $15,000 on training. If it does not spend it, Employment Quebec takes the $15,000 anyway and puts it into a special fund known as the Fonds de developpement et de reconnaissance des competences de la main-d’œuvre (fund for the development and recognition of workforce skills). That is the last the company will see of that money.

This adds up to big money; ie., in 2008-2009 all transportation companies in Quebec lost $2.7 million to this fund. Camo-route, through the mutuelle de formation, offers a way for companies to hang on to unspent training money. It still has to be spent on training, but now it can be spent according to the company’s timetable.

Mutuelle de formation allows companies subject to Law 90 to put their 1%, or whatever unspent part of it remains, into a trust fund until they are ready to spend it on training. This is not a loophole; rather, the money is considered an investment in training under Law 90. There is no expiry date, or due date for using money a company has put in a trust fund.

The trust fund option has several advantages: companies do not lose their money; they can spend it more strategically and with better timing. Too, if they allocate more than the minimum 1% in a year, they can be eligible for subsidies of 100% of those amounts over 1% under a 2011-2012 Employment Quebec Fund subsidy program.

Companies with a gross payroll of less than $1 million are not obliged to spend 1% on training, but they can still take advantage of mutuelle de formation. In any case, says Mario Sabourin, director-general, Camo-route, “We nonetheless recommend to these businesses that they do an analysis of their training needs.”

The mutuelle de formation mandate of favouring companies in “the regions” – those located away from urban areas – fits nicely with Camo-route’s larger mandate of helping all transportation companies with their training. Take the example of a company with two drivers to train, says Sabourin. “One of our roles (with mutuelle de formation) is to find enough participants in the same region in order to make training available in that region. For example, if an enterprise has a specific training need, the mutuelle can form a group with workers from other companies to form a complete (group with a common need) that will make training more accessible and less expensive.”

Mutuelle de formation makes it easier for trucking companies to say ‘yes’ to training. “By taking charge of training logistics,” says Sabourin, “the mutuelle ensures that every dollar invested will be spent to the greatest advantage of the company.” As well, he notes, by providing training, companies can be sure that properly-trained replacements will be available to take over from other employees.”

For more information about mutuelle de formation, contact Camo-route at 514-593-5811 or toll-free at 866-927-6883 or by e-mail at

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