Alberta extends deadline again for farm trucker training

Alberta farmers who want the Class 1 license needed to drive commercial-scale tractor trailers but haven’t yet met the new training requirements can now apply for another extension to do so.

The provincial transportation department on Friday announced further extensions are now available for farmers and farm workers seeking Class 1 licenses and for school bus drivers seeking Class 2 (bus) licenses.

Farmers and farm workers eligible to seek Class 1 licenses can now apply to Alberta Transportation for the Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) deadline extension until Nov. 30, 2020.

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A farmer or farm worker who receives the agricultural extension then has until the end of February 2021 to meet the training and testing requirements to keep a Class 1 license.

Under said requirements, farmers and farm workers must pass Class 1 “enhanced knowledge and road tests that are based on the MELT curriculum” before March 1, 2021 to keep their commercial licenses.

Transportation Minister Ric McIver, in Friday’s release, said the new extension “ensures these key industries can continue their work without disruption, particularly during the busy back-to-school and harvest seasons.”

The school bus and farming industries, he said, “are highly flexible, seasonal industries that indicated they need more time to adjust to the MELT requirements.”

Outside of the farming and school bus businesses, any Alberta driver seeking a Class 1 or Class 2 licence has been required since March 1 this year to first complete the MELT program, which includes “a government-mandated number of training hours for in-class, in-yard and in-vehicle modules.”

Extensions had already been granted in March this year allowing new drivers working in agriculture to take until Nov. 30 this year under the existing process to earn a Class 1 licence and until March 1, 2020 to comply with the commercial driver MELT program. — Glacier FarmMedia Network

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