Reviews identify driving schools that fall short of ministry standards: TTSAO

Ontario’s largest association of truck training schools has formally identified three schools that fail to meet standards set for private career colleges in the province. But the ministry that oversees such work has yet to accept an offer to share results of the related reviews.

(File photo: John G. Smith)

The findings emerged through a pre-qualification and re-qualification process the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario (TTSAO) established in 2019, in a bid to block current and future members from using the association’s brand as a “rubber stamp” of approval, says Lisa Arseneau, chairwoman of the association’s insurance group.

While the number of site visits were limited during Covid-19, related subject matter experts have now completed 16 site visits, and three locations failed, she says.

The Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities has so far requested results from just one of the reviews, focusing on a school that was already facing an audit. The ministry’s audits are triggered by specific complaints.

“We don’t believe there is much enforcement,” Arseneau says.

The association taps into subject matter experts already used by insurers, and bases its reviews on standards established by the ministry itself, she adds. Schools pay $450 to cover the expenses associated with those who conduct the reviews.

“We took this right out of the insurance industry playbook,” Arseneau says of the approach.

During the reviews, subject matter experts pull sample student files to confirm required documents are in place, look for a checklist of protocols and standard operating procedures, and confirm the schools provide at least 103.5 hours of training as required under Ontario’s mandatory entry-level training regime for commercial drivers.

When asked why the association is offering to share all the results, Arseneau responded: “A little bit of frustration and a little bit of altruism.

“The frustrations for us is the guys who failed had MCU certificates,” she says. “We know they aren’t operating legally.”

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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  • Simple – make the standards for training higher as well as the road test itself. Bring in instructor certification. Insurance and industry requirements for list of approved schools that can offer training.
    Publication in local news, facebook etc. in different languages of “failed” schools again along with the trucking associations – i.e. “if you don’t graduate from this list of approved schools – we will not hire you”
    Get OSAP approval for training funds. Many would like to get proper training but don’t have the cash – currently there are grants through Second Career – not asking for a handout but a loan.

    Got to love todays announcement of once again rescinding the automatic restriction for AZ licensing – let’s finally get some political will here – but as long as politics and votes are involved staying in power (mulroney) are more important than lives on the roads.

    • Most of what you just listed is available already. Maybe have very one run under MTO standard is more like it

  • I have heard rumours from some drivers that for a certain fee at some schools, records, proper training and testing are falsified, road tests are booked in advance and the “student” shows up and in some cases isn’t even the person being tested.

    One person said a shipper took 3 days off and came back with an AZ licence and wasn’t even tested, a “ringer” took the test in his place.

    Right now, the system is ripe for fraud. We road tested a licensed driver, couldn’t even back into a dock.

  • Hi John-schools were closed “Delta driving school” in Surrey,BC. and the owners progressed to Calgary when the R.C.M.P. closed Delta once again. The government is at fault here not upgrading training since 1971! Unskilled drivers are a menace on our highways eg,Humbolt, Saskatchewan bus accident. My Opinion,Thanks – John Wihksen,Vancouver.

  • These so called “Driver Training Schools” are a joke. How can you teach a classroom of people the proper and safe way to operate a commercial vehicle in 103.5 hours? Impossible! They are putting accidents waiting to happen on the roads with the public who don’t have a clue on how to drive around big trucks!

  • TTSAO should review thoroughly couple more time to save their organization reputation, TTSAO schools listed below offering MELT Programs advertised for only $3500 Metro Truck Driving School ( TTSAO Executive Board Member ) other prominent ones are Toronto truck driving school, Peel Truck school, A1 Transportation Academy, Ten Four Truck school, PHS Truck Training Services etc . Average pricing to deliver the program is $3000-$4000.
    It is impossible to cover the cost and they all delivering the full program which is 103.5 Hours. Average Hourly Rate is $29 ( 3000/103.5). With this figure they can cover all cost. Amazing!

  • I agreed with Paul comments about these above mentioned TTSAO schools, Few trucking companies will ask new drivers to bring so called PTDI 200 hours program certificate so companies can satisfied insurance companies which is a joint venture between TTSAO and NorthBridge insurance.
    These above mentioned TTSAO schools sell so called PTDI certificates for $1000 to $2000 with no training. It’s happening long time. Please MTO take actions and thank you Truck News.

  • Who are these ‘related subject matter experts’? What are their credentials? Do these ‘experts’ have the authority to perform this task and/or reveal the names of the PCCs who do not meet whatever standard they are basing their conclusions on? Is there not a process in place whereby MCU Inspectors visit PCCs, inspect, assess and determine the degree or quality of training provided? Just asking for a friend…