The Ontario Trucking Association is appealing to the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development to open funding for commercial truck driver training through the ‘Second Career’ government funded programs.
In a letter to the Strategic Workforce Policy and Programs Branch, OTA pointed out the higher costs for truck drivers to receive training under mandatory entry level training (MELT), combined with 2009 Government of Ontario decision to restrict Second Career funding for truck driving to $40 per hour, created a significant barrier to entry for Second Career applicants into the trucking sector at a time when demand for truck drivers continues to increase.
MELT, which was strongly supported by OTA, requires a minimum number of training hours student must receive when obtaining their class A licence – 36.5 hours in the classroom; 17 hours around the vehicle and 50 hours behind the wheel, for a total of 103.5 hours.
Most Second Career funding applicants choose truck-driver as their first choice for funding but find it difficult to benefit from the program, says OTA.
With MELT training being mandatory at 103.5 hours, Second Career applicants receive just over $4000 in funding while MELT programs currently cost between $7000 and $7500. OTA says that closing this gap would help lessen the impact of the ongoing truck driver shortage in the industry.
“OTA understands most Second Career training applicants receive close to full funding for their selection. OTA is asking the Ministry to review the $40 per hour cap and institute a funding policy which would allow applicants selecting truck driving as a second career to receive adequate funding for their selection,” OTA wrote.