TORONTO, ON – The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) is calling on the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development to increase funding for commercial truck driver training through its Second Career program.
Second Career offers funding to qualified applicants who have previously been laid off and find themselves needing retraining for a career transition – often into trades or other in-demand fields. While training for drivers is already funded under the program, it was restricted in 2009 to $40 per hour.
In a letter to the ministry the OTA pointed out the higher costs for truck drivers to receive training under the new mandatory entry level training (MELT) provisions, and said the restrictions on funding are creating significant barrier to entry for the applicants looking to get into the trucking industry at a time when drivers are in high demand.
MELT requires a minimum number of training hours student must receive when obtaining their Class A license in Ontario – 36.5 hours in the classroom, 17 hours around the vehicle, and 50 hours behind the wheel, for a total of 103.5 hours.
The $40-per-hour cap means Second Career applicants receive just over $4,000, while most MELT programs cost between $7,000 and $7,500. Closing the gap would help to increase the number of new drivers entering the industry and help to reduce the driver shortage, the OTA says.
“Most Second Career funding applicants choose truck-driver as their first choice for funding but find it difficult to benefit from the program,” says the OTA.
The OTA says Second Career applicants for other industries often receive close to the full funding for their programming, and they are asking for the ministry to review the cap and allow applicants who select trucking as a second career to receive adequate funding.