Ontario to introduce mandatory training for entry-level drivers

Truck News

TORONTO, Ont. — Ontario is set to introduce mandatory training for entry-level drivers after a Toronto Star series of articles highlighted just how easy it is to obtain an A/Z licence in the province.

The articles impressed upon the public that shoddy training schools continue to operate and because they charge less than $1,000, they fly unregulated below the radar. Kim Richardson, president of KRTS Transportation Specialists, was among the critics quotes in the series.

The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA), which has been lobbying for mandatory training for entry-level drivers for quite some time, lauded the announcement, referring to it as a “watershed moment for the trucking industry.”

David Bradley, president of the OTA, said: “The mere fact that someone holds a Class A licence does not ensure that person has the skills to be a safe and productive transport driver. Even an improved test will never fully determine a new driver’s skill level. Mandatory entry level training will at least assure trucking companies that when they hire a new driver, he or she has some basic level of skill that with additional training and experience can eventually lead to that person becoming a fully qualified professional driver.”

Transport Minister Steven Del Duca told the Star “We are going to go forward (with mandatory entry-level training). We’re going to move as quickly as we can but we want to make sure that we get it right.” He added he believes “it should take place as quickly as possible, but in a manner that actually produces the end result that we all want, which is the safest roads in North America, which is part of my responsibility.”

Bradley said OTA would like to see drivers complete training to an industry-developed standard before they can take the licensing test.

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  • Glad to hear this news as it is long overdue. Now for the next phase to do the same with car drivers. Get rid of the exams being in languages other than French or English at the testing centres. Why MTO has allowed drivers written tests to be in other languages and those taking the tests also being allowed an interpreter is beyond me! If you cannot speak our language then you should not be on the road.

  • Great lead Ontario, now let’s see if the other Provinces have the fortitude to follow suit. More training, and get this important occupation changed to the skilled level.

  • “If you can’t speak English – you can’t drive”…… Really???
    Although language barriers tend to be problematic for shippers, receivers and law enforcement, “driving” is not the exclusive domain of people who speak fluent English.

    As an industry, we should try to stay focused on the origin of the problems effecting us: 16 hours in an air brake class and twice around the block doesn’t qualify “anyone” to be anything other than an apprentice.

    Push for UNIFORM COMMERCIAL DRIVER TESTING administered by government employees across the country.

    • Yea for that GOVERNMENT Employees testing Serco is already finding ways to cut corners and the gov is doing nothing about it. No engine checks What! Now the truck driving schools are not teaching it and new drivers don’t think it’s important. For years Serco has been getting away with cutting the routes short by not doing the 400 series hwys. I wonder how many of the jacked knifed trucks were driven by Drivers examined on Sercos shorten routes. IT IS BS and the gov should take it back.

  • I really want to endorse and congratulate Transport Minister Steven Del Duca on his courage to tackle this problem with poorly trained entry level AZ drivers. This should help elevate the quality of AZ drivers coming into the industry. We always have to defend our selves as to why these entry level drivers have to go through the full AZ course to obtain their license. The licensing mills with their slick ads try to convince these prospective students that they do not need all this training to get their license. They lie to them as to how much it’s going to cost them. They bring them in with $999.00 special but don’t tell them that no one ever ends up learning how do drive a big Rig with this amount of training. Once these students are hooked then it’s too late for them to pull out because they already have spent few thousand dollars with these licensing mills and now they have no money left to go to an accredited school . Even if they end up passing their AZ road test with these licensing mills , they would have only learned the MTO road test route and nothing else. They can not pass a company road test and therefore can not obtain a job.
    Gus Rahim
    Ontario Truck Driving School

  • Excellent. It is about time that mandatory training will be required in Ontario for entry level drivers wanting their AZ license. I have been in the industry for over 30 years and in the past 10 years the quality of new drivers has dropped considerably. I hope that all of North America follows Ontario’s example. It would also be nice if this occupation would be recognized as a skilled trade.

  • The Star is not on to anything new the practice of new drivers not being trained on the streets and highways goes back to the early 70s that I know of and maybe even further.
    I know of a school in Cambridge ON owned by a very prominent member of the trucking industry who never took his students on the street, and he charged $2700.00
    I took a trainee of mine to a licensing site off Airport road about 1986 and he was never taken on the street for his test.
    I took my AZ training in Toronto in 1974 and the MTO just signed me over no road test !!
    A school I used to do some training for is sanctioned by TTSAO and they charge over $8000.00 for an AZ.
    Plus they use a strait van truck (sometimes automatic) to train for DZ and if a trainee wants the “heavy transmission” training they use a bobtail road tractor for this ! How does that compare with handling a fully loaded triaxle dump truck in traffic ?
    These methods used by these schools are not safe and students need to be aware just because a school has a lot of “Kudoos ” on the wall doesn’t mean they’re giving you your moneys worth.
    New potential drivers need to do more home work before laying their money down. Find a company you would like to work for an ask them if they hire new drivers out of school and if so which school do they use ?
    I trained many new drivers to run OTR some of them came out of schools with basically no training but if they had a real desire to learn I found that was the basis to build a good driver on.
    Remember,, It’s what we learn after we know it all that counts ;{)

  • After all that it should be skill accupation and we all should wait transport minister will say heavy truck driver( AZ) is skill trade

  • Wonderfull! Great news, mandatory training, ONLY TO BE PAID PEANUTS BY THEY INDUSTRY, you want professional drivers then pay them what they are worth! Really you are asking these drivers to haul $100,000 loads in trucks and trailers worth $150,000 and you only pay them what ? $18, $19, $20, per hour? Or .42 cents a mile, , and for this you get to deal with traffic jams, lousy drivers in cars, crappie weather, poorly maintained trucks, overzealous ministry of transport and police officers, pissed off dispatchers and receivers , right! Sounds like a great time, that’s why the industry cannot get enough quality drivers

  • Looking for a job as an AZ driver ? Owner Operators interested in knowing a little more about your trade..? the following tips may help you to make your experience more rewarding.

    Many companies out there don’t cease to amaze me as to how far they go to bite more from their drivers and O/Operators share, let’s take an example that many drivers are complaining about at the moment, companies using Google maps to calculate mileage for their associates, it’s nothing wrong with using google maps to calculate mileage however you can’t expect the mileage to be accurate since these maps were not designed with this intention and if you add the dishonesty of many of those carriers who use it as if they were calculating an aircraft fly schedule then the significance in your paycheque is that you will be missing a considerable amount of money in your bank, this money is your and is up to you to claim it.

    All this time many have accused the driver and Owners operators of been wilfully ignorant and at to some point they were right, people can’t be aware of every threat to their business all the time, ignorance is not a sin, is a condition and we can correct it together getting ourselves involved deeply in the trade and disseminating information among other members of the industry so if you feel that your carrier or employer in shortcutting you with your mileage please feel free to send me a few lines with the point of departure and address of destination and I’ll gladly send you back a copy of a PC miler practical miles run so you can take it back to your employer and start asking them to make it right for you.

    Insurance holdbacks are other of the dirty tricks of the industry, we’ll talk about it soon so we may have some tools to avoid this big scams against O/O.

    The other way many carriers take money away from drivers and O/O alike is with the offer for benefits, we will examine some of the tricks of the industry and how much you pay for it and the most important en most cases how little or nothing you get for what is taken away from your paycheque. Please if you feel this information is valuable for you then print a few copies and give it to your fellow drivers or O/O. Always remember a well paid Driver and O/O will make the industry safer and your life more rewarding. To improve it is your right and your obligation

    There is an important and very sensitive issue that I’d like to mention to drivers who are starting a relationship with a carrier, in a few cases you will be asked to sign a little paper with a few conditions that you must be initially very careful b4 you stamp your signature on because in first place you going into a job where you will be trying your new employer and they will be testing you so don’t sign anything where you agree to give one or two weeks advance notice if you are leaving to your employer, the reason is very simple if things don’t work out, they are not paying the right mileage etc, and you want to leave right away then that signature where you agreed to give advance notice may be used as a tool by these unscrupulous carriers to keep one week salary, you are responsible for the integrity of the load in ways as much as it’s humanly possible which does not imply that if the load shifted or was short loaded, the seal number differs from the one of the B/L etc doesn’t mean you the driver have to pay for that load, extra freight or any expenses as a result of what may have being an involuntary mistake from your part so before signing something take a copy home and read it carefully. The other thing weighting heavily on drivers is the occurrence that when whenever you are involved in an accident or a insurance claim for a lost or spoiled load carriers want to hold you responsible for the amount of the deductible in their insurance policies and deduct those $5000 from what you are owned, no way….this is completely illegal at least that you sign a paper after the occurrence accepting monetary responsibilities for that particular incident, blanket letter or contracts are not acceptable so if you are in any doubts please feel free to send me a few lines explaining me the situation and I’ll answer to the best of my ability, I’m not a lawyer or a law consultant but I do a lot of research in transportation and know the industry well enough to give you some friendly advice to help you understand what you are dealing with

    The following is information for AZ and truck city drivers.

    AZ drivers rates per mille is in between .47 cents to .55 cents for singles and .54 cents to .60 cents for teams plus HST, these rates apply for dry van and reefers.
    Flat beds and rolltites rates are anywhere from 0.63 to 0.69 per mile, drivers rates for this type of equipment should be higher for the labor involved and the reduction in mileage, depending on mileage and characteristics of the run been offered, I’ve heard some flat bed drivers making an average of $ 1400 to 1500 weekly so if you are one of them I’ sorry to tell you that you are getting short paid, you will find companies still offering rates under .46 cents per mile, these rates are the same as the ones paid 8 or 10 years ago so is your choice to work for low rates like that or have a share of the product of your hard work. Invest a little more time searching the market until you find the company that values your help. City drivers with air brake endorsement should not work for less than $ 20.00 an hour driving dry vans or reefers plus HST if you are doing it as a company, firstable you have an az licence, in many cases Fast Cards and other qualifications which makes you a trade worker in high demand, two years experience should enable you to ask your prospective employer for these rates.

    There are many companies still offering to pay by weekly, this is a bad idea for someone who works on a salary, even if you are paid to your corporation still is a salary and it would be advisable to work in places where you get your payment on a weekly bases with one week holdback since you are a worker not a financing company besides preventing that some carriers may close their doors, at least you are risking one or two weeks salary no three or four, be aware that because a company claims to have 150 trucks still they are not exempt from bankruptcy or economic downsizing. There are other carriers who will give you for example 10 to 15 days runs and then ask you to go on another trip and collect your first trip when you come back, this is a very bad idea at least that you enjoy gambling with your pay cheque.

    Alway remember if a carrier paid you as a corporation you “MUST” collect HST on the amount you are invoicing, I said you must with capital letter because if you fail to charge the carrier for HST, Canada Revenue will come after you to pay those HST amounts you failed to collect, they will not go after the carrier, it doesn’t matter what the carrier may claim they are not exempted from paying HST if they want you to work as a corporation or even a sole proprietorship registration they must pay you this tax and you have to report it in your HST report and pay it to the government in due time.

    And remember when you start working for someone please ask them that everything that it was discussed to put it on paper this will save you both many issues later in case of a dispute for mileage or payments, the most important, how much per mile, what system will be used to calculate mileage, if paid by weekly or every two weeks, and every other condition that you may have agreed upon. Don’t rush to sign up with anyone right away before taking your time to evaluate your contribution to the company and their to your stay in that organization.

    \Question about an specific issue regarding drivers or carriers concerning employment, please send me an e-mail and I’ll answer shortly
    We are not a driver agency or looking for drivers, we are only trying to inform and bring improvement to the trade with up to date and accurate information.
    When drivers income improve the industry and trucking safety make significant gains however you will not hear the Minister of transportation mentioning these facts.

    Most of you probably have heard all or also being the target of some of the unethical tricks of the industry that most of them are borderline with plain robberies, they always blame it on bad drivers, their nationality the mood and all sort of things, the truth is that many companies out there don’t care where you come from or your color, as long you’ve got a AZ licence you are good to make some money using their tools of the trade which involves all sort of dirty tricks, lies and deceit. Not all carriers are bad however there’s a saying in the industry which says that carriers don’t make a dime from the loads they haul but from their O/O and drivers cheques, many carriers lack the sales power or the ability to deals with shippers for the right price so they subdue themselves to haul for brokers who in many cases are the devil advocates when it comes to decent rates and the other source of funds are…you guessed drivers and O/O’s, protect yourself, behave correctly, take good care of the equipment trusted to you, give a good service for what carriers pay you but don’t fall prey to the Hwy scavengers, know how to avoid them and listen to your guts, if it tells you don’t touch it you probably should just do that.

    Keep in mind they come in all sizes, 1 truck or 150 trucks, old and new companies, sweet talk, lot of promises and then they hit you like a shark in murky waters

    They call drivers professionals but still want them to make as much a barn caretaker, Thanks