November 26, 2020
The Alberta Government announced today a Driving Back to Work grant program to make Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) more affordable.
In a release, the Province said the new Experience and Equivalency program will reduce the time it takes for Class 3 drivers to upgrade to a Class 1 license. These changes do not affect the high training and safety standards required by MELT in order to keep Alberta’s roads safe.
“Farmers, foresters, roughnecks and truckers made it clear that cost is the major barrier to hiring Albertans,” said Transportation Ric McIver in a release. “Providing better paths to earn a Class 1 license will help deal with a shortage of truckers, getting our goods to market safely. These programs are designed to put Albertans back to work today to build our economy tomorrow.”
The $3-million Driving Back to Work grant program will cover up to 90 per cent of the cost of the MELT program for 300 unemployed Albertans to earn a Class 1 commercial truck driver licence.
“Assisting with training costs for entry-level commercial drivers and specific programs to upskill and promote experienced commercial drivers will help put Albertans back to work while ensuring essential supply chains remain resilient,” said AMTA President Chris Nash. “This grant will ensure that the new transportation workforce is trained by professional road and safety experts while we continue to address the issue of driver shortages and support Alberta’s economic recovery and diversification. The Alberta Motor Transport Association will continue to advocate for new ways to meet the demands of a more sophisticated and data-driven global supply chain while ensuring the utmost in safety training.”
The Experience and Equivalency Class 1 MELT Training Program will give Class 3 drivers with a minimum of two years of experience the opportunity to take a 40-hour Class 1 training upgrade instead of the 113-hour Class 1 MELT Program, which is focused on brand new drivers.
“These programs break down costly barriers for unemployed Albertans to gain the skills needed to help address labour shortages in the trucking industry and gets Albertans back to work,” said Minister of Labour and Immigration Jason Copping. “By doing so, it also helps to broadly support Alberta’s economic recovery, as trucking connects businesses and communities with the goods they need to succeed.”