First ever truck school study published

OTTAWA — (Oct. 20, 2003) — The Canadian Trucking Human Resources Council has released what it says is the first-ever study that paints a comprehensive picture of Canada’s extensive network of truck driver training schools.

The pioneer study, called Review of Truck Driver Training Schools, is a wide-ranging inventory of 206 schools the group identified across Canada — examining the regulation environment applicable in each Canadian jurisdiction.

Commissioned by the CTHRC, in cooperation with the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada, the Canadian Trucking Alliance, and Teamsters Canada, the study was undertaken to provide information that can be used by both industry and government to develop policies and programs aimed at improving driver recruitment, as well as training and retention in the trucking industry.

Following are some of the study’s key findings:

Driver pool: The study identified roughly 660,000 holders of Class 1/A permits in Canada — roughly 30 per cent in Ontario and 25 per cent in Quebec. Despite this number of potential drivers, it is estimated there are currently no more than 250,000 active drivers in the country.

Uniformity: Perhaps the most important topic to be highlighted, the study found that unsurprisingly, there is virtually no uniform accreditation approach to dealing with truck driver training schools in Canada. Schools tend to operate within provincial boundaries, and there are very few interprovincial operations. In some provinces, truck driver training schools may be regulated by more than one agency.

In fact, training schools across the country can fall under three categories that can co-exist within a province or territory: schools that are licensed, schools that are registered, and schools that are not regulated. Instructors too, fall under various guidelines dependent upon the category the schools fall under. In other words, the non-regulated schools — about half of the total number of schools identified — have no standards to follow and auditing is non-existent, while the other schools have to abide by strict standards, the CTHRC says.

Graduation: The schools who responded to the survey said they graduated about 9,000 students for Class 1/A and Class 3 drivers in 2001. When these results are extended to all schools, it is assumed driver training schools account for well over half of the drivers who obtain Class 1/A and Class 3 licenses each year. The survey responses also indicated that 85 per cent of drivers obtain their license on the first attempt. The CTHRC notes this is in contrast to the information from provincial authorities in Manitoba and Ontario that indicate that there is a 40 per cent failure rate for all candidates taking the Class 1/A test for the first time.

Finding employment: According to the responding schools, placement rate varies from 85 to 95 per cent. One school claimed 100 per cent placement. That may be tied to the fact that the majority of schools surveyed have partnerships with trucking fleets that select graduating candidates, or the school may be entirely owned by the carrier.

Look for more on the study in the December issue of Today’s Trucking.

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