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New Made-in-Alberta Learning Pathway for Class 1 Drivers

The Government of Alberta has announced changes to Class 1 driver licensing requirements with a new made-in-Alberta learning pathway, including improvements for Alberta's farmers. 

Since Mandatory Entry Level Training (MELT) became a pre-licensing requirement for drivers in Alberta in March 2019, insurance claims have risen for Class 1 drivers with MELT being identified by the trucking industry as one of the leading factors in commercial driver shortage and increased time and costs in the driver recruitment process.

Input from Industry found broad support for the continuation of Class 1 pre-licence training, but included recommendations to improve safety. These improvements included a tiered system, more appropriate training for certain industries, increased in-cab training hours to avoid re-training, and an expanded scope of training to include additional competencies.

In response to this, the Province has implemented improvements to Class 1 licensing and training focused on ensuring safety while still developing competency throughout a driver's career. The new learning pathway was created through extensive consultation with the commercial driving industry and is designed to meet the needs of current and future drivers.

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

This new approach also responds to the needs to Alberta farmers by exempting them and their immediate family from the requirement of pre-licence training and provides them with a farm-restricted Class 1 driver's licence. This new licence will allow farmers and their families to operate their Class 1 vehicles within Alberta for authorized farm purposes. Farmers who are eligible must still complete a knowledge test, road test, and vision screening, and must submit a driver medical assessment to demonstrate they can safely operate a Class 1 vehicle. 

The farmer exemption will be implemented as of April 1, 2024.

For more information and to view the Provincial announcement, visit the Government of Alberta website.

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