Those of us who call this great country our home, always look forward to the arrival of spring and summer, for obvious weather-related reasons. We at the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada (PMTC) look forward to this time of year for other reasons as well, this being our annual conference and AGM held in mid-June.
This is one of the biggest events on the calendar each year for the private and dedicated trucking community. This year’s conference takes place June 16-17 in King City, Ont., just north of Toronto off Hwy. 400. The event offers educational seminars, networking opportunities and our expanded awards program, which celebrates the best of the best in our industry.
Although this conference is geared towards private fleets, the education and networking opportunities provide great value for everyone in the industry, whether private, for-hire, dedicated or suppliers to the industry.
Last year, we set records for number of people in attendance and sponsors alike, and we are on pace to break those numbers again this year. This year’s conference includes the following educational seminars and celebrations: A legal update; PMTC Young Leaders Group RoundTable; GHG Standards; PMTC-Huron Services Drivers Hall of Fame Award Luncheon; Cargo Crime; Security Protocols; and the Chairman’s Dinner, which includes more awards.The day then wraps up with the Volvo Scotch and Tractor Showcase reception. Mixed into these events are two networking receptions in our Exhibitor’s Showcase area.
June 17 begins with an overview on trends and the outlook of private trucking in the US, provided by the National Private Truck Council, who are the private fleets representatives in the US. This is followed by an update on electronic logging devices in Canada by Transport Canada. The conference wraps up with our AGM and PMTC-3M Canada Vehicle Graphics Awards Luncheon. For full conference details, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our Web site at www.pmtc.ca
MELT in Ontario
On Apr. 29 the Ontario Ministry of Transportation posted its Proposed Mandatory Entry-Level Training Standard, and opened it up for comments from the industry. The PMTC has been heavily involved in this standard from the beginning, and I personally attended more than 20 face-to-face meetings with the MTO and industry stakeholders as the PMTC, and several other stakeholders, helped guide the Ministry through this process. Rest assured the views and interests of private fleets have been well represented during this process, and I can assure you your voice was heard. I do believe that MELT for Class A/1 drivers is needed to ensure the skill needed to operate a commercial motor vehicle is properly reflected. The majority of the industry supports the concept of MELT. The current set-up, which for the most part requires no mandatory training, no instructor qualifications, and has little to no oversight, poorly reflects on our industry and misrepresents the skill required to pilot a CMV.
MELT is a great starting point, and Ontario is to be congratulated for taking the lead on this. The MTO is also to be congratulated on the engagement with the industry that was undertaken. The MTO did seek industry input, and were keenly interested in what we had to say. While I do think the proposed standard is a great step forward, I am not naïve enough to think it will solve everything, and that it won’t have its problems.
The PMTC itself is not 100% satisfied with everything in the standard, and believes strongly that there are some key areas that need to be addressed prior to this standard going into effect. For example, the current proposal has no instructor qualifications included in it. While most reputable and quality schools have their own instructor qualifications in place internally, and the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities (MTCU) also has its own, we believe some sort of minimum experience, training and a good driving record for an instructor should be required.
The current standard has no requirement for training on a standard transmission. All training could be done on an auto-shift. While several industry stakeholders did not believe the manual requirement was needed, the PMTC believes that since more than 50% of the trucks on our highways are still standards, a driver should have some knowledge on how to operate these. If not, we at least need some sort of restriction on the licence that does not allow a driver to operate a standard until they have received training on it.
While vehicle configurations are being worked on, and will be included in the training standard, we still need to address how we handle vehicles that require a full A licence, but fall below the minimum configurations that will be in the standard. We need to find a balancing act between ensuring a person can book a road test and be trained for the type of vehicle they will operate (hydro workers and natural gas companies as a few examples), and ensuring a loophole is not left open that allows individuals to obtain their training and licence on a smaller configuration, and then be licensed to operate a set of B-Trains over the Rockies.
Overall, the standard is a good one, and the MTO and industry stakeholders are to be congratulated for how far we have come with this standard. We will never all agree on everything, but we can guarantee our voices are heard.
Mike Millian is president of the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada, the only national association that represents the views and interests of the private fleet industry. He can be reached at email@example.com.