The province of Manitoba is moving forward with consultations aimed at implementing a mandatory entry-level driver training (MELT) program, Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler announced today.
“Our government is focused on safety above all else,” Schuler said. “Mandatory entry-level training is something the trucking industry has asked for and we want to work in a collaborative way to ensure that Manitoba roadways are as safe as possible.”
Consultations will be held Jan. 7 in Winnipeg and Jan. 10 in Brandon.
Just days after Saskatchewan said it would begin a MELT program this coming March, Manitoba appears to following the same path and become the fourth province to do so.
“Mandatory entry-level training is something that would have broad impacts across sectors including transportation, infrastructure and agriculture,” Schuler said. “We want to hear from Manitobans and ensure this proposed change focuses on safety in collaboration with industry.”
Following Saskatchewan’s announcement, Manitoba Trucking Association executive director Terry Shaw posted his thoughts on Twitter, writing, “ON, AB and now SK have all beaten MB out of the gate on this issue. MB is recognized as a transportation hub yet @MBGov is silent on this critical transport policy. @TruckingMB members are concerned. @Brian_Pallister, @Min_Schuler, will MB mandate truck driver training?”
Shaw later tweeted, “Mandatory Entry Level Training (MELT) may be a reality across North America but @MBGov remains silent… AB – MELT 2019, SK – MELT 2019, ON – MELT in place now, US – ELDT 2020 (Entry Level Driver Training). MB is literally surrounded by MELT jurisdictions.”
Alberta announced in October that it would implement a MELT program this spring. B.C. has not made any official announcements on whether it will have its own program in the near future.
Manitoba’s effort to iron out a MELT program for Class 1 drivers began in April, working with Manitoba Education and Training, as well as Manitoba Public Insurance.
Upcoming consultations will include discussions around training standards, approaches to out-of-province drivers, and the scope of individuals who will require MELT training.