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Alta. government extending deadline on new trucking regulations for farmers
Truck driver training
Published Wednesday, February 27, 2019 10:38AM MST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 27, 2019 10:53AM MST
Farm workers who drive a semi in Alberta will have another year to complete the new training required by the government.
After the crash that killed 16 people on the Humboldt Broncos team bus in Saskatchewan last April, the province introduced new legislation that will see new semi-truck and bus drivers take extensive classroom and road training, along with a new road test, before they can get a licence.
The program, dubbed the Mandatory Entry Level Training program, includes 40.5 hours in-class, 15.5 hour in the yard where the truck isn’t moving, and 57 hours behind the wheel.
The new rules are set to take effect on March 1.
Agriculture workers had expressed concern that the change to the rules would pose a challenge for spring operations.
“The industry is quite concerned about practical ability for us to respond to that before seeding and it'll jeopardize our ability to get crop in the ground, ultimately,” Ian Chitwood, a board member of the Alberta Canola Growers Commission told CTV News earlier this month.
“It's tough to find labour right now and being on the farm, a lot of our work is seasonal as well,” said fourth generation farmer Dave Lantz of Lantz Farms Ltd.
“The changes are going to make it tougher.”
The government announced on Wednesday that after consultation with the agriculture industry, they’re extending the deadline for farmers and farm workers to 2020 to accommodate the 2019 farming season.
Eligible farm workers can apply to Alberta Transportation for an extension to the MELT program. Workers must identify themselves as farm workers, and must obtain their Class 1 licence by Nov. 30, 2019. Successful applicants will be required to complete the mandatory training and road test before March 1, 2020.