HAMILTON, Ont. – The upcoming provincial election has caused the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario (TTSAO) to postpone an industry stakeholders meeting to discuss the $40 per hour cap on training second career students.
The provincial government said it would not send a representative to the June 19 meeting, since the upcoming election forces the government to go into “caretaker” mode. The TTSAO, and other industry stakeholders, contend the $40 per hour tuition cap is too restrictive and puts pressure on training school margins and limits their ability to provide quality training on quality equipment. It has been in place since 2009.
“Do we really want to risk sending these new drivers into the industry unprepared and trained on outdated equipment and with underpaid instructors?” asked Mike Millian, president of the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada. “If we do not address the $40 cap, this is exactly what we are at risk of doing, as schools will be forced to close their doors or find was to cut costs to stay in business.”
“It is important that Ontario creates incentives for second career applicants when they select truck driver training as an occupation,” added Steve Laskowski, president of the Ontario Trucking Association. “The introduction of MELT, combined with a 2009 Government of Ontario decision to restrict second career funding for truck driver training to $40 per hour, there exists a significant barrier to entry for second career applicants into our sector.”
The TTSAO contends the $40 an hour cap does not offset rising fuel, maintenance, insurance, labor, rent, utility and government audit expenses.
“We have reviewed documentation supplied by the TTSAO which provides evidence that current fees cannot support the ongoing and rising expenses associated with training and producing quality drivers,” said Lisa Arseneau, chairwoman of the TTSAO Insurance Group. “If the cap is not addressed we expect that, over time, despite all the efforts from the truck training schools, our new drivers will not be as qualified and this will increase in the number of accidents on our roads as well as the severity of those losses”.