On June 28, Ontario transport minister, Steven Del Duca, announced that all new drivers wishing to take the province’s tractor-trailer (Class A) road test will first be required to successfully complete a Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) course through an approved training provider. This is a big deal. It’s a game-changer. The days of being able to walk in off the street and take the tractor-trailer test with no training whatsoever are over in Ontario.
The rule will take effect July 1, 2017. MELT is an important safety measure. It will also help ensure carriers will have an adequate supply of consistently trained, quality new drivers in the future. For a long time, carriers have been concerned over the lack of consistency in the basic level of competency exhibited by recently licensed Class A drivers. There are good schools producing good new drivers, but at the other end of the spectrum there are the license mills.
Just because a new driver holds a Class A license is not a sufficient indicator that he or she has attained even the basic skills a carrier can then use to train them as a professional driver. As part of the MELT process, the Class A test itself will be enhanced to bring it more in line with the new standard.