Clipboard: Raising the Bar


Lately, the road to attaining mechanic status in British Columbia has become about as easy to navigate as Fraser Pass in a blizzard. In December, the province announced it will require heavy-duty mechanics who work on mixed-vehicle fleets to attain journeyman status as automotive service technicians in addition to their current trade requirements. Any certified heavy-duty mechanic or commercial transport mechanic who was employed in a mixed fleet in March of this year will have until the end of August 2001 to comply, according to the B.C. Industry Training and Apprenticeship Commission. A mixed fleet is defined as six or more vehicles owned or leased by the same employer, where at least one of the vehicles is a car or light truck. It’s a safety issue, said ITAC CEO Kerry Jothen. He said the two-and-a-half-year phase-in for people already employed in the industry “balances the needs of both workers and fleet operators, so that no one is facing unnecessary pressure. At the same time, it requires an immediate commitment from all concerned to meet the new requirements.” Copies of the bylaw governing mixed fleets are available at any ITAC or Workers’ Compensation Board office in B.C., by contacting the ITAC office listed in the blue pages of the phone book, or by writing to ITAC at #220-4946 Canada Way, Burnaby, BC V5G 4J6.

Meanwhile, Ontario Transport Minister Tony Clement said the province will start making good on its promise to raise commercial driver’s licence standards in 1999. Clement said that a tougher written test has been developed and that a revamped, more demanding road test will follow. He added that some form of graduated licensing for truck drivers, most likely a system of endorsements to the Class A licence, will be pursued in legislation this spring (see related story, page 42). “Part of the graduated system for truckers that has been proposed is that there be different levels of licensing depending on whether the cargo is dangerous or not and on the weight and the length of the truck,” Clement said.

More stringent licensing requirements are the simplest and most effective way to raise the level of minimum training some schools provide, according to Kim Richardson, president of the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario and owner of Kim Richardson Transportation Specialists in Caledonia, Ont. Richardson said a tougher test would at the very least put market pressure on so-called licensing mills, which provide only enough training to help a driver pass the provincial exam. “If [the province] can increase the minimum proficiency to pass the test, the bad apples won’t have a market anymore and they’ll go out of business, or at least they’ll have to raise the level of instruction they provide,” Richardson said.

Have your say

This is a moderated forum. Comments will no longer be published unless they are accompanied by a first and last name and a verifiable email address. (Today's Trucking will not publish or share the email address.) Profane language and content deemed to be libelous, racist, or threatening in nature will not be published under any circumstances.