OTA calls for more funding for driver training through ‘Second Career’

by Truck News

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.

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  • It’s infuriating that the OTA is spreading very false information. I operate 20 locations throughout Ontario that deliver truck driver training. The majority of training providers in the Province offer programs that go beyond the minimum licensing requirements of MELT. These programs are normally in excess of 200 hrs in duration and are usually fully paid for by Second Career. Applicants who choose trucking are NOT being denied as stated by the OTA. The 200+ hrs courses currently being offered and supported by employers and Second Career go beyond the minimum licensing requirements of MELT and provide more training than just a license. The OTA lobbied for the new Mandatory Entry Level Training (MELT) of 103.5 hrs to address the perceived licensing mill problem (a problem where unregistered schools simply trained to pass the Ministry of Transportation road test). 103.5 hrs is now the absolute minimum number of hours before someone can challenge the road test to upgrade to an AZ license. In short, the OTA is making false assertions while asking the Ministry to stop funding the all inclusive 200 hrs course in favour of funding the 103.5 hrs minimum licensing requirement courses. Training to the minimum standard is what the OTA called licensing mills in the first place. Why does the OTA find it necessary to fabricate information to achieve their goal? Why does the OTA want less training for more money? How does this serve their members?

  • That’s funny about the $4000 cap because I took the second career training in 2013 and they paid the full $10,000 cost ($7000 for Truck driver + $3000 for Excavator operator).

    • Hi Bruce, I would like your honest opinion.
      Do you feel you were given enough training for that kind of money?
      I hear from applicants quite frequently they feel that they were not given ample training. Also may I ask if you were successful in finding employment with the training you received ?
      From past experience, the training course I took was second to none.
      Employment was found within a few months.
      However for the past 10yrs I have heard nothing but negativity from the students. Your thoughts please .