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.”


6 thoughts on “Team Alberta link arms to push back Class 1 driver training deadline

  1. It’s about time. I find it hard to believe that commercial truckers have to get their units inspected yearly plus have a class 1 license but farmers can haul to the same facility with just as big trucks and trailers and not have either. I have noticed some units delivering and they scare me. It would be interesting if the commercial police would set up at a terminal what they would find. Yes, I do have a class 1 and I get my unit inspected yearly. It gives me peace of mind plus it helps me to keep my unit up to date on problems. We are not small operations any longer and should stop using the agriculture card every time we are challenged about something in our industry.

  2. My sister died in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash, I also work in the agriculture industry as an agrologist. I am personally offended by Team Alberta by asking for more time. If people did not see these types of changes coming 10 months ago, they were living under a rock. To have audacity to push back on the timeline, angers me and all involved in this effort should be ashamed of themselves. I cannot believe what I am reading and I am embarrassed of the agriculture industry to be taking this stand. To rely on getting a Class 1 license 2 months before seeding is not sound business practice and I know there are outliers with special circumstances, but I believe the safety of everyone on the road is more important than accommodating a small number of people. Please give your heads a shake and look at what is really important, the sun will come up tomorrow and farmers will find a way to get the seed in the ground. I’m sorry, but everyone making it home to their loved ones at night is more important than getting your way. I pray none of you experience the hell of losing a loved one in a highly public event. Have some respect for the suffering everyone has gone through and pick a better battle. Team Alberta has lost my respect.

  3. Just did a little informal research and according to people on another ag forum, Alberta has a much tougher (stricter) Class 1/farmer situation than Manitoba for sure and possibly Sask. as well. Hopefully someone with the facts can chime in. With all due respect, lets do what we can to prevent further tragedies, not make knee-jerk reactionary policies that are debatable in their effectiveness. Much more could be said, but let us not lose focus.

  4. Dustin , I am sorry for your tragic loss but please lets call a spade a spade. The accident that took place taking all those innocent lives had zero to do with training . The driver was distracted and drove through a stop sign . It’s as simple and as complicated as that . No 100’s of hours of training is going to prevent driver error / distraction offences. There needs to be more training I agree but after a 100 years of doing something one way changing it in 10 months without a lot of industry conversation isn’t the best way to try and change things .

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