Backgrounder: BC Professional Truck Driver Training Program

For immediate release: 
Sep 2, 2010

Truck driving is a demanding profession that, until now, has lacked an industry-supported training standard in BC for the benefit of both employers and aspiring professional drivers.  Available training options can be confusing and provide no accreditation or assurance of quality.

As a result, the BC Trucking Association (BCTA) formed an industry-led committee to establish the BC Professional Truck Driver Training Program, a non-mandatory, minimum training standard aimed to become part of the BC Industry Training Authority’s (ITA’s) training and apprenticeship system.

The purpose of the program is to improve the skills of entry-level drivers and to link trainees with employers. Meeting both these goals will help industry employers to address a looming driver shortage that may threaten their businesses as the economy recovers.

ITA has granted approval for a pilot test of the program in September at the Mountain Transport Institute (MTI) in Castlegar.

Trainees must meet a set of prerequisites before applying for the program, including the following:

  • Obtain a Class 1 learner’s licence;  
  • Complete an ICBC-approved, 16-hour, on-highway air brake course;
  • Meet government medical fitness requirements;
  • Provide a driver’s abstract showing fewer than six points for the last five years; and
  • Pass the Test of Workplace Essential Skills (TOWES) assessment, which measures essential or employability skills in three areas - reading text, document use and numeracy.

The Professional Driver Training Program includes the following components for trainees:

  • eight weeks of classroom and practical training (180 hours behind the wheel and 60 in classroom – more training hours than any other current training program);
  • four weeks of unpaid Supervised Work Experience with an employer, under the direct supervision of a trained coach; and 
  • 1000 hours of paid Work-Based Learning with an employer, including regular assessments. 

Trainees accepted for the program are matched with a sponsoring employer for both on-the-job training components.  The prerequisites and employer matching are important features, in addition to the length of the classroom and practical training component, that make the Professional Driver Training Program stand out from other truck driver training courses.

A group of 12 trainees will participate in the pilot project, with the guidance of trucking companies that have volunteered to take part in the two work-term components. Trainees obtain a Class 1 licence during the classroom component. Once they have completed all components, including practical and written exams and assessments, successful trainees receive ITA’s Certificate of Qualification.

Employers that act as sponsors for trainees during their work terms – during the pilot project or once the program is available at BC training institutes and colleges – are eligible for tax credits of up to $4000 per trainee per year to help offset the cost of the trainee’s wages during Work-Based Learning.

The BC Professional Truck Driver Training Program pilot project is a joint undertaking of the Transportation Career Development Association (transCDA) and BCTA.

Delivery of the pilot project is made possible thanks to funding from the Asia Pacific Gateway Skills Table, the federal-provincial government Strategic Training and Transition Fund, ITA, and BCTA’s Flemming Sondergaard Legacy Program (more information about this program is available at

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For more information, please contact:
Paul Landry, President & CEO  
Office: 604- 888-5319   
Cell: 604-787-1335  
Toll free: 1-800-565-2282

Russel Robertson, CEO, transCDA
Office: 604-998-4512   Cell: 604-910-9235