KING CITY, Ont. – Sharpen your pencils, prospective commercial truck drivers. Mandatory Entry Level Training (MELT) in Ontario is coming next month according to officials at the province’s Ministry of Transportation.
Franca Ambrosio, manager, evaluation and training office with the MTO and Kim MacCarl, team leader for the standard revealed what MELT would look at the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada’s annual conference earlier this week.
Ambrosio and MacCarl confirmed that in the next few weeks, Ontario’s Transportation Minister will be announcing MELT’s introduction. From there, training centres will have one year to make the changes to comply with the MELT standard. The hope is that MELT will be officially rolled out and take effect in mid 2017.
MELT is going to look much different from what earning a Class A licence looks like today, said MacCarl. Gone are the days when one could simply pass a test and driver a transport truck on the highway.
After fully implemented in Ontario, MELT will require drivers looking to earn a class A licence with a minimum of 103.5 hours of training. Thirty-six and half hours are to be spent in the classroom, 17 hours in the yard (pre-trip inspection), 18 hours in the truck off-road and 32 hours on road.
The on-road test will ensure new drivers can safely complete four right turns, four left turns, four intersections (two stop and two through), two lane changes, one driving along, one expressway section, two curves (one left and one right), and one emergency roadside stop/start. Drivers will also have to complete either an offset backing (left or right) or an alley dock 90 degree backing to demonstrate their backing skills.
In addition, the knowledge test will now be 30 questions (before MELT tests were only 20 questions) selected at random from a new set of 120 competency-based questions the MTO and partners developed.
“For us (competency-based) means the required entry level knowledge and skills that a driver must have. We will ensure (these skills) are observable, measurable and attainable,” MacCarl explained. “MTO has aligned the training standards, the knowledge test and the road test to be competency-based using our source document – the National Occupation Standard.”
“By competency we mean, does the driver have the skills and knowledge to operate a Class A vehicle safely?,” added Ambrosio.
MacCarl said by having entry-level training standards across the province, licensing mills will begin to fall by the wayside.
“Unregistered schools that are out there, they can no longer train,” she said, adding that schools will have to have its curriculum approved by a MELT program expert before the proposed July 2017 deadline.
In simple terms, schools that don’t meet the requirements of the MELT standard won’t be allowed to hand out licences anymore.
Ambrosio estimated that the full training program would take anywhere from four to six weeks before a new driver can earn his/her licence.
“The introduction of MELT will improve road safety by ensuring all new Class A drivers are trained to the same minimum standards,” MacCarl said in closing. “We will ensure that all organizations delivering the program are registered with the province.”