Effective October 18, 2021, successful completion of an ICBC-approved Class 1 mandatory entry-level training (MELT) course is required for all individuals applying for a BC Class 1 driver’s licence.
Designed to exceed the minimum requirements set by the National Safety Code Standard for entry-level training of Class 1 drivers, the MELT program requires 140 total hours and includes more practical behind-the-wheel driving hours, in-yard hours, and theoretical instructional hours. To ensure commercial drivers are prepared for BC’s highway network and challenging climates, course curriculum was added that focuses on operating practices for BC’s mountainous terrain and diverse driving conditions.
Establishing a competency-based, mandatory training standard for entry-level Class 1 drivers is critical to the safety of all road users, and one that has been a long-standing priority for the BC Trucking Association (BCTA).
“It is a monumental day for BCTA,” says Dave Earle, President and CEO, BC Trucking Association. “We have advocated for a higher and consistent standard of training for the commercial transportation industry for many years. We were pleased to work closely with the provincial government and other stakeholders to develop a system that raises the bar on safety and helps meet the needs of employers and drivers.”
Not only will MELT improve road safety, but it will also protect the viability of the companies that drive the economy both in BC and across the country. The implementation of higher training standards that produce competent and skilled commercial drivers will be an essential step in addressing the growing driver shortage that plagues the industry. Previous regulations on Class 1 training and licensing were minimal, causing companies to provide on-the-job training in an attempt to close the gap in knowledge and experience. However, because many of the small and medium-sized companies that make up over half of BC’s carriers do not have resources available to provide additional training on basic skills, it has proved ineffective as a long-term solution. The inadequate and inconsistent training made new drivers virtually unemployable due to the financial burden associated with the high risk of hiring an inexperienced driver, until now.
“MELT is going to level the playing field,” adds Earle. “All new Class 1 drivers in BC will now have to complete the same level of training, helping to ensure consistency and competency of skills. This standardized training will help to attract and retain qualified drivers in our province, and we look forward to further discussions with the BC Government regarding funding to support training and the growing needs of our industry.”
Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, shares why “the introduction of MELT will be viewed as one of the most significant steps we’ve taken to keep our roads safe.” Read more...
For more information:
For general ICBC Class 1 MELT program information for drivers, click here.
For ICBC’s FAQs for commercial drivers and driving schools, click here.
For a list of funding and grant opportunities for applicants interested enrolling in a Class 1 MELT course, click here.