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Manitoba Truckers Needed: How to Get Funding for Truck Driver Training

- by Christina Hryniuk

Manitoba’s most recent labour market information report (Labour Market Occupational Forecasts 2019-2025) shows transport truck driver is an occupation with one of the highest levels of net openings. In fact, 99 percent of the 500 specifically listed occupations in the report have lower new job numbers than transport truck driver.


Manitoba needs 4,100 Transport Truck Drivers by 2025 if the needs of the provincial economy are going to be met. While this information highlights a serious economic concern, it also presents significant job fulfillment and public policy opportunity. Specifically, in support of the Manitoba Skills Strategy and Manitoba Works plans which have targeted “enhanced alignment between workforce training …and labour market needs” as well as “40,000 private sector jobs”. According to a national labour market forecast, vacancies for truck drivers across the country have more than doubled since 2016 with 22,000 vacant positions in 2018.



So what options are available for carriers to fill these positions? There is the driver training funding program, which covers the cost of driver training for those eligible applicants. Hundreds of Manitobans have been trained via this program already. The Manitoba Trucking Association (MTA) encourages trucking companies looking for drivers to take part in the program.
So how does it work?


Funding for Truck Driver Training

People who are looking to become drivers first need to obtain their class 5 driver’s license and finish the graduated licensee process. At this point, air brakes certification may be required.


Once you complete the graduate process, you will need your class medical, which has to be completed by a doctor and can be obtained through the registry of motor vehicles or Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) or your local insurance broker. Your medical conditions will be reviewed by a board of approval of Class 1 upgrade.



After you receive your medical, obtain the Class 1 instruction, book your test with MPI, and write your class 1 knowledge test.



You will then have to obtain your commercial abstract from MPI or your insurance broker. A commercial driver’s abstract reflects your driving habits for all class vehicles. The next step is to get a criminal record check. A clean search report is best because it allows you to cross the border, but its not necessary.



There are six approved truck driver training schools in the province. Upon registration the school will provide you with a letter acknowledging your registration.


You will also need to obtain a letter of intent from a trucking company. A letter is an acknowledgment-not an offer-that you spoke with them about the trucking industry. It indicates that the employer will hire you upon completing school and a company road test, based on the information you provided them. The letter of intent and registration letter will now allow you to approach your local Manitoba Jobs and Skills Development Centre for approval of funding.


Funding is available for the 240-hour Class 1 Training Program and is open to Canadian citizens and permanent residents.




For Employers

There are also opportunities to promote your organization by other means, such as Yes! Winnipeg’s 2020 International Recruitment Mission. The Asper School of Business regularly looks for companies to work with on co-op placements, as does Red River College. While these are not all opportunities for driving positions, the reality is that we need talented people throughout our industry.


Finally, there are resources available to smaller trucking companies, such as the Canada Small Business Financing Program, that will support investment in your organization (not specifically people) that may help your business grow as needed.


It can sometimes be a challenge to know where to turn to support your business, but the first place to try is the MTA. We regularly receive new information about new programs and opportunities, and we are always working to improve efficiency in bringing new people to our industry. So, if you have a question or aren’t sure where to turn for resources, contact us.


 

We can learn from U.S. ELDT program

- by Christina Hryniuk

Once again, our American counterparts appear on pace to beat us to the punch when it comes to implementing a much-needed safety initiative.

This time, it is the FMCSA’s national Entry Level Driver Training (ELDT), which is supposed to come into effect in February 2020. Watching this program roll out, I would suggest that there is a lot that we can learn from this process.

This will be a national backstop program, meaning that across the country, there is now a minimum training standard.

Once this program is implemented, no one will be able to simply test for a commercial vehicle license, they will be required to take some form of entry level training.

This is something that the Manitoba Trucking Association’s (MTA) board of directors has discussed with a national training program: the need to ensure there aren’t any loopholes or opportunities to slip through the cracks.

By having one national program, a backstop, if you will, no drivers can take advantage of lower standards in one state or another. Further, if a state already has a testing standard in place that is higher than what the FMCSA is proposing, the higher standard remains in effect.

With that said, it has to be pointed out that saying “there’s a standard” has to actually mean something.

In Manitoba, drivers in the MELT program are required to complete 121.5 hours of training, consisting of 40 hours in-class, followed by 41 hours in-cab, as well as 40.5 hours in the yard. Instructors are able to access a government and industry-designed set of training materials designed to cover all of the content in the curriculum.

According to the FMCSA website, there is no required amount of classroom theory/knowledge training or set number of hours behind the wheel. In this program, a new driver’s ability to drive is at the discretion of the trainer.

No specific training materials have been developed by the FMCSA beyond what can be found in the appendices of 49 CFR 380. This is a government document, not training material. So, to say there’s a testing standard might not mean what we would anticipate.

Second, much of the program requires self-certification that is not overseen. While we want to trust that everyone who registers with the Training Provider Registry meets the requirements, based on what our industry has seen with self-certification of ELDs in the U.S., the question must be asked, “Have all of the requirements actually been met?”

Finally, this is a huge program, which has led to delays in implementation and the usual finger pointing. Getting all regions on board and developing the necessary infrastructure and automation is a huge undertaking.

This isn’t a surprise, nor is this unique to the FMCSA. The recently implemented carbon tax backstop program here is Canada also had huge infrastructure and wrinkles that are still being resolved. Unfortunately, what it means right now is that the ELDT program is in limbo.

Why is it important for Canada’s trucking industry to pay attention to this? First, these drivers will be driving in Canada, so we want to ensure their drivers are as safe and well-trained as ours (safety-related reciprocity is a longstanding issue in Manitoba between the MTA and Manitoba Infrastructure).

However, there is opportunity to learn from their program as well.

If we can learn from its deficiencies, such as by ensuring the infrastructure is in place well in advance of roll-out or by developing a higher standard that is accepted across the board, then I believe we will be working toward creating a more level, safer playing field for all carriers and new drivers.

Our executive director Terry Shaw wrote this feature for trucknews.com.



 

Trucking HR Canada Awards 2019 Top Fleet Employers at Annual Gala

- by Aaron Dolyniuk

OTTAWA, ON (October 17, 2019) – Trucking HR Canada held its annual Top Fleet Employers Awards Gala Dinner on Thursday October 17th. The event brought together over 380 industry professionals to shine the spotlight on some of the best workplaces in Canada’s trucking and logistics industry.

All sixty-three fleets were celebrated for their commitment to sound HR policies that meet Trucking HR Canada’s Standards of Excellence. Awards were given to celebrate the most impressive workplaces across the country, taking into consideration online applications and employee surveys which look at a variety of HR best practices.

The Top Private Fleet Award went to Trailer Wizards. ONE For Freight was the recipient of the Top Small Fleet Award. The Top Medium Fleet Award went to Q-Line Trucking and rounding out the fleet awards, was Bison Transport who took home the Top Large Fleet Award.

The Achievement of Excellence Awards are broken down into seven categories to highlight leaders in specific HR areas. The recipient of the Workplace Culture Award was Challenger Motor Freight. Sutco Transportation Specialists took home the Award for Workplace Diversity. The recipient of HR Innovation Award was Westcan Bulk Transport. The Employee Engagement Award went to STG Fleet Services, and taking home the Award for Training and Skills Development was Arrow Transportation Systems Inc. This year we introduced two new awards, the Achievement of Excellence for Workplace Mental Health, awarded to Joseph Haulage Canada Corp., and the Achievement of Excellence for Women in the Workplace, awarded to XTL Transport Inc.

The night’s most coveted award – the HR Leader of the Year Award, presented by Reimer Associates – was saved for last and was awarded to Denise McJannet of Caron Transportation Systems.

“We are honoured to recognize employers who work year-round to provide great workplaces for all their employees," said Angela Splinter, CEO, Trucking HR Canada. “And, with fleets under pressure to attract and recruit workers, being a Top Fleet Employer certainly helps these fleets stand-out from the crowd”

The successful event was made possible by Trucking HR Canada’s partners and sponsors which include Reimer Associates, The Canadian Trucking Alliance, TransCore Link Logistics, Revolutions Staffing, The Guarantee, Veza, Bell, Nova Scotia Trucking Safety Association, Monster, Northbridge, Driver Engagement, Isaac Instruments and exclusive media sponsor Newcom Media.

Applications for the Top Fleet Employers Program open in just a few days, on October 21st, and is open to any Canadian fleet. The program has grown significantly over the past six years, in turn raising the bar of the HR standards in the industry overall.

If you think your fleet has what it takes to be a Top Fleet Employer, Trucking HR Canada encourages you to apply and join other fleets that shine a positive light on the trucking industry, and help showcase this industry as a great place to work.

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Trucking HR Canada is a national partnership-based organization that is dedicated to developing, sharing and promoting the trucking industry’s best practices in human resources and training.

For further information, contact:
Bridget O’Shaughnessy
Manager, Marketing and Communications
info@truckingHR.com
613-244-4800 x 302


 

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