In a story first brought to you by RealAgriculture last week, Team Alberta, comprised of Alberta Wheat and Barley, Alberta Canola, and Alberta Pulse, are coming together to request more time before the changes to the Class 1 driver’s license come into effect.
“Team Alberta supports safer and more highly skilled drivers operating on our roads and highways,” says Hannah Konschuh, Alberta Wheat Commission vice-chair. “But the timelines and lack of consultation with farmers would make it virtually impossible to comply with new regulations by the deadline. Additionally, there doesn’t seem to have been an increase in the training capacity to accommodate this big change.”
One concern for the changes has to do with the short notice that’s been given to the agriculture sector in Alberta. Come March 1, 2019, a person wanting to obtain their Class 1 driver’s license will be required to take the new Mandatory Entry Level Training (MELT) program first.
According to the release, the existing shortage of skilled labour in this area, combined with changes to the privately-run licensing bodies, including re-training and re-testing of instructors and examiners, means that training programs are difficult to get into which could significantly set back farmers for the upcoming seeding season.
“These regulations will have an immediate impact on farms in the short-term if they don’t already have Class 1 drivers in place for this year,” says Dave Bishop, chair of Alberta Barley. “Longer-term, we need to ensure there is appropriate training for the increasing number of farms that rely on Class 1 drivers and their ability to attract them to agriculture.”