B.C. to implement MELT from Oct. 18

Safer, more skilled commercial drivers will be travelling B.C. roads with the implementation of mandatory entry-level training (MELT) for new Class 1 commercial driver’s licence applicants, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said in a news release.

“Safety for everyone on our roads is always our top priority, and this new required driver training program will make our highways safer,” said Rob Fleming, minister of transportation and infrastructure. “A robust MELT program is just one of the ways we are committed to improving highway safety for all British Columbians.”

A truck driving driving through the mountains in winter.
(Photo: B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)

Effective Oct. 18, individuals applying for a B.C. Class 1 driver’s licence must successfully complete an ICBC- (Insurance Corporation of British Columbia) approved Class 1 MELT course before attempting a road test. B.C.’s MELT program was developed through a review of best practices from other Canadian jurisdictions and with input from industry in the province. It was designed to align with the Standard 16-Class 1 Entry-Level Training framework introduced as part of the National Safety Code in February 2020.

“British Columbia’s new MELT program is an important step toward improving overall commercial vehicle safety across Canada,” said Lawrence and Ginny Hunter, Safer Roads Canada board members whose 18-year-old son Logan was fatally injured in the 2018 Humboldt Broncos bus crash. “Truck and bus drivers operate some of the heaviest vehicles on our roads through a variety of climates and on challenging routes. The risks are present every day for these workers, but programs like MELT help to mitigate these risks and prevent accidents.”

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure led consultations with the commercial driving industry, the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General and ICBC to finalize the curriculum. As the regulator of driver training schools and instructors in B.C., ICBC will oversee training facilities and investigate matters related to driving schools that deliver the Class 1 MELT course, as well as training courses for other driver’s licence classes.

“Our mandatory entry level training program teaches new drivers how to handle B.C.’s difficult terrain and actually exceeds the minimum requirements set by the National Safety Code Standard for Class 1 entry-level training,” said Lindsay Matthews, vice-president of public affairs and driver licensing, ICBC. “By harmonizing our program with other provinces, new commercial drivers in British Columbia will be able to smoothly and confidently operate across Canada.”

140 total hours

B.C.’s Class 1 MELT program requires 140 total hours and includes more practical behind-the-wheel driving hours, in-yard hours, and theoretical instructional hours than Standard 16 of the National Safety Code. In addition to 50 hours on-highway and 37 hours in-yard and around the vehicle, B.C. has 15.5 hours of theoretical and hands-on air brake training, almost double the 8.5 hours required by Standard 16 of the National Safety Code.

“The BCTA was pleased to contribute to the development of B.C.’s new Class 1 entry-level training program because ensuring new commercial drivers are trained to a higher, consistent standard will save lives,” said Dave Earle, president and CEO, B.C. Trucking Association. “Better trained operators will make better decisions and fewer mistakes, making for a stronger, more efficient trucking industry.”

Demonstrate ability to chain up

To ensure commercial drivers are prepared for B.C.’s highway network and changing weather patterns, MELT will also emphasize safe operating practices for mountainous geography and a variety of challenging driving conditions. For example, all new Class 1 drivers will learn and demonstrate the ability to properly chain up their vehicle for winter driving. The Class 1 MELT program has been delivered by approved driver training schools in B.C. since August 2021. There are currently 46 schools across the province qualified to offer MELT.

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  • MELT is a joke! 140 hrs is not nearly enough time to get any real worthwhile training. Using Ontario as an example the MELT program sure hasn’t improved the quality of drivers on our highways. Over the last years drivers have become worse…….not better!

    • Exactly right. Most of these new drivers come from places where standards and rules of the road are practically non existent. 140 hours of of training is not going to make a difference.

  • MELT Is Another Poor Training Program
    Trying to blow smoke that this is a National Standard and it is an answer for road safety in Canada is a joke.
    It is a hastened knee jerk reaction to the Humboldt crash. Canada’s only true National Standard for Training Entry Level Professional Drivers is 355 Hours.
    So who in their right mind would knock out over 200 hours of curriculum and say that is a good idea.

    • Well it’s a start, I hate to admit it but I got my class A unrestricted with a pick up truck and a 12 ft box trailer in 2007 and have been fortunate no accidents in what 13 seasons and 900,000 km of city driving in Toronto and GTA.
      35 ft box truck and 32 ft float trailer.
      Now compare me to what they have now and yes we have come a considerable way to start with.
      Now if you add more time to melt say 10-20 hours more each year and a small increase to cover cost and little more profit, then the potential class A drivers will keep signing up for the courses.
      The drivers today have no respect for any others on the road ( car and some truck drivers) I have been driving since the late 70’s and have seen a lot of change since then. I remember when travelling on the 401 hwy in the same direction as a transport truck at night the common courtesy was toflash hi beam to let them know you were passing, not anymore. So you my see hopefully that melt is a good start , yes it needs to be improved but at least there is a starting point.

  • B C is a much better place for new truck drivers than ont and small fleets. I agree with B C new training standard and gov insurance. They just need to improve parking and housing for truck drivers on work permits.