Ontario moves forward on new rules for driver trainers

John G Smith

Ontario continues to develop a new set of rules for truck driver trainers in the province, as regulators continue to refine the mandatory entry-level training (MELT) program introduced in 2017.

While not yet finalized — and paused during Covid-19 — the emerging rules will be introduced in the future, said Kim MacCarl, manager of the Ontario Ministry of Transportation’s driver program development office, during an update for the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario (TTSAO).

truck driver training

“The main focus of these enhancements would be the instructor qualifications,” said senior policy advisor John Landolfi.

“We’ve done a lot of work to develop the components.”

While he didn’t provide specific details, he noted that proposed requirements will include targets for industry experience, criminal record checks, train-the-trainer requirements, and an MTO-approved course that will focus on coaching, facilitation, presentation skills, and proficiency in MELT.

Proposed assessments will include knowledge and practical components, too.

Landolfi also refereed to a focus on senior instructors, complete with an evaluation, to support newer instructors.

“[It’s to] kind of ensure that the new instructors are learning the proper materials,” he said.

Landolfi noted that many schools already meet such requirements, but that the goal is to ensure all schools across the province deliver a common experience.

“We continue to be committed to work with the industry stakeholders,” he added.

John G Smith

John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking, trucknews.com, TruckTech, Transport Routier, Inside Logistics, Solid Waste & Recycling, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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  • FINALLY! I’ve been trying to have most of this as a part of truck driver training for years!
    When I decided to become an in truck trainer I took all the courses I could on how to teach, being able to convey an idea or system to a new driver without making them feel inadequate is not easy and some grasp the concept quicker than others. Being able to turn a timid uncoordinated person into a top-notch OTR professional driver was always my goal!
    I didn’t want to just teach them enough to “pass the road test”
    The ineffectual “training” in even those schools with the plaques on the wall was startling to me.
    Teaching with empty trailers, or calling bob-tailing around for a few hours sufficient to allow a new driver to receive a “D” class license where they would be on a highway hauling 80,000 lbs of gravel for a construction company was in my estimation a set up for disaster!
    Some of the instructors I met had only a driver’s license of the proper class to allow them to drive a truck most of them had very little over-the-road experience and none had done any cross-border trips!
    Most of the “trainers” were drivers who got off the road because they couldn’t handle the lifestyle or those who thought the rules of the road were for everyone else.
    Trucking is the most important industry in the world! WHY, is the training of new drivers not treated as such?

    • What she said !
      the good schools/trainers and carriers have been doing this for years – then came MELT – better than what was before but still far below what is necessary.
      Substandard training is still a major issue.

      But don’t forget this is the same bureaucracy and system that will allow a person to pass a G road test in a two door subcompact and the same day go and purchase a F-250 Super Duty – pull a trailer up to 4,600kg or a large motor home up to 11,000 kg with NO training, no one showing how to connect a trailer correctly and so on.
      Hey, there’s probably still the odd driver with a chauffer’s licence.
      Or how about the state of Georgia – during Covid a person didn’t even have to pass a road test. (look it up – over 19,000 drivers)

  • Once again Ontario MTO is moving into wrong direction, its just money grab business, just bunch of few organizations want to make money to sell instructor course.
    In Ontario Driver Examiners just have class A license with ZERO driving experience behind the wheel. Isn’t SURPRISE to know!!
    At this time Focus should be more towards Driver Examiners that have no qualification, at least school instructors have five years behind the wheel experience. Which is required as per MELT.
    Why there are no requirements or any education or any experience to become a Class A Driver Examiner.!!

    I think MEDIA should also work on how ALL SCHOOLS are offering their MELT program. IT WILL BE FUN.
    At the moment program course price range is $2500 – $ 10,000.

  • Hi- Instructor since 1971- my opinion great start but still minimal, as truck accidents are a daily challenge in Canada. Majority of trades accommodate a 4 to 5 year apprenticeship, trucking has been lagging behind for 40 years due to corporate lobbying. The more training the better class of Professional driver, and high school grads would show more interest regarding a career in the industry. Driver shortage in primarily due to “low monetary return” compared to other trades! I would be interested in your opinion John. – Thanks – John Wihksen, Vancouver.

  • Driver examination centres should be looked as well.
    A few months ago I was at a driver examination centre with a friend who was going for his “C” road test. We were early so we were watching what was going on. I couldn’t believe what I saw, a fellow going for an A licence but doing his road test without a trailer attached.