TORONTO, Ont. — The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) says it’s encouraged by comments from Ontario Transport Minister Bob Chiarelli that acknowledge the licence renewal process for senior drivers in Ontario could be less onerous.
Chiarelli said that “commercial driver licence renewal can be made less onerous for senior drivers (drivers 65 years of age and older) without compromising safety” and has asked his parliamentary assistant Vic Dhillon to determine what amendments to the renewal requirements are needed and to develop a plan to implement them, according to the OTA.
“The minister is sending the signal that the government is willing to make some changes and given the discussions we have had with the ministry to date, we don’t think we are very far apart in terms of what should and can be done,” said OTA president David Bradley. “We are eager to work with Mr. Dhillon early in the New Year to help establish the policy. We recognize there will be a regulatory process that has to be followed and that implementation will require system changes and the like, but we hope that by this time next year senior truck drivers in Ontario will be subject to a much fairer and less burdensome licence renewal process.”
Ontario is the only jurisdiction in North America that requires commercial drivers aged 65 years and older to take an annual road test to retain their A/Z licence. Over the years, the policy has caused many experienced professional drivers to leave the industry in frustration. It is also a major cost for owner/operators who must take their truck off the road to undergo the road test or for company drivers who in some cases have to rent a truck in which to take their test.
Industry associations including the OTA, Private Motor Truck Council of Canada and Owner-Operators Business Association of Canada have been unanimous in their criticism of the current requirements.
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