GUELPH, Ont. — Want to be a member of the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario (TTSAO)? You’ve got to earn it.
That was the message from Lisa Arseneau, head of the TTSAO’s insurance group, when providing an update at an association meeting on May 23. She said TTSAO member training schools will need to undergo an evaluation to maintain membership in the group. They cost $450 and are conducted by subject matter experts from the insurance industry.
It’s an attempt to prevent shoddy operations from using their membership in the association as a marketing tool without living up to the standards maintained by most TTSAO schools.
“TTSAO is very proud of our brand and our strength in the industry,” said Arseneau. “What we want to do is say, ‘We have a strong brand. No longer can you just use our brand.’ It used to be that way but it’s not that easy anymore.”
The TTSAO realized the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) was understaffed and unable to oversee the truck training school industry. And so, the organization decided to take it upon itself – at least among its member schools.
“We decided if you’re going to be a TTSAO member school, you’re going to need to be like the rest of the TTSAO schools and if you’re going to wear our badge, you’re going to have to deserve it,” Arseneau said.
The organization has already begun surveying its member and wannabe member schools. And not all have passed. But the group is prepared to help schools that don’t measure up to improve their operations. It’s not posting which schools have failed at this time, but may do so in the future.
“There may be an opportunity for us to guide them, to help them,” Arseneau said of schools that get a failing grade.
While it may sound like an audit, Arseneau prefers to refer to it as a survey.
“An audit lends to someone going deep into files and students. What we are doing is making sure they qualify with the processes and standards that are put in place by the MTCU.”
In the end, Arseneau concluded, carriers will be able to take comfort in knowing that there’s a consistent training standard among TTSAO members and that prospective drivers who’ve graduated from those schools have been well trained.
James Menzies is editor of Truck News magazine. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies. All posts by James Menzies