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Trucker training for Alberta farmers

The Alberta government is making changes to the training pathway for Class 1 commercial drivers, and offering a new, farm-restricted Class 1 driver’s license.

Transportation and Economic Corridors minister Devin Dreeshen said it is a proactive approach to ensure truck drivers in Alberta have the right training with the right vehicle to perform their jobs professionally and safely.

Mandatory Entry Level Training (MELT) became a pre-licensing requirement for Class 1 commercial drivers in Alberta in 2019. Since then, MELT has been identified by the trucking industry as one of the leading factors contributing to the ongoing commercial driver shortage, increasing time and costs for the driver recruitment process.

Starting April 1 eligible farmers and their immediate family are exempt from the requirement for pre-license training and will provide them with a farm-restricted Class 1 driver’s license.

This new farm-restricted Class 1 driver’s license will allow farmers and their immediate family members to operate Class 1 vehicles within Alberta only, and for authorized farm purposes only.

Farmers who are eligible for the new farm restricted Class 1 driver’s license must still complete a knowledge test, road test and vision screening, and submit a driver medical assessment to demonstrate they can safely drive Class 1 vehicles.

Alberta Beef Producers chair Brodie Haugan said the farmer Class 1 license exemption is a positive first step to alleviating the trucking shortages that continue to impact farms and ranches.

“Alberta Beef Producers is looking forward to working with the government and stakeholders on future steps in transportation to ensure a healthy agricultural supply chain for Albertans,” Haugan said.

The apprenticeship-style model for commercial truckers offers learning pathway for Albertans to develop skills as a trainee and build on their experience, with the goal of obtaining a Red Seal designation, and recognition as a professional trade. This also allows drivers to get on-the-job training in the vehicle they will be using each day throughout their career.

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