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Sask. Trucking Association concerned over ag worker licence exemption

Sask. Trucking Association concerned over ag worker licence exemption

The safety on roads and highways is non-negotiable, the organization’s leadership says

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

The Saskatchewan Trucking Association (STA) is concerned with a provincial government decision to allow temporary foreign ag workers to operate Class 1 vehicles using their domestic licenses.

Ag workers from about 40 countries including the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Portugal and Taiwan will be allowed to use their native licenses as an equivalent to a Saskatchewan license for up to one year, until May 21, 2025, CBC reported.

Many of these countries have reciprocal licensing agreements with Saskatchewan.

This means drivers from select countries can exchange a foreign license for a provincial one without completing any testing or training.

Relaxing these rules unacceptably undermines trucking safety, the STA says.

"The safety of our roads and highways is non-negotiable," Susan Ewart, president of the STA, said in a statement. "While we understand the need to address labour shortages in the agricultural sector, we cannot compromise on safety. All drivers must demonstrate their ability to operate Class 1 vehicles safely through comprehensive testing and experience requirements."

The provincial government’s position is that these exemptions are necessary to support the ag sector.

Completing a regular mandatory training program for a Class 1 license can take more than 120 hours.

These workers don’t have the time to finish the program. So, it’s about finding a balance between proper equivalent training and ensuring temporary ag workers are on the job as soon as possible.

"We're trying to strike that balance with ensuring that we have a MELT program that is very rigorous, but also trying to balance that off with allowing for temporary foreign workers from a limited number of countries that we have reciprocal licensing agreements with," Dustin Duncan, the minister responsible for Saskatchewan Government Insurance, told CBC.

Trucking is one of the industries expected to have high job vacancies in the coming years.

Without proper support, vacancies in the industry could exceed 40,000 by 2030, a TruckingHR Canada report says.

Farms.com has contacted the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan for comment on the exemptions.


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