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    Ontario Government and Trucking Industry Create New Apprenticeship For Tractor Trailer Drivers

    TORONTO (Nov. 21, 2005) – The Ontario government is helping the trucking industry meet its need for skilled workers and improving road safety by creating an apprenticeship for truck drivers, Chris Bentley, the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, announced at the annual convention of the Ontario Trucking Association.

    “In today’s economy, prosperity depends upon having a skilled workforce,” said Bentley. “Truck driving is one of the most common occupations in Canada. This new apprenticeship will improve driver education, support the trucking industry’s commitment to training and the growth of the sector, and build a pool of skilled drivers.”

    The voluntary program was developed in conjunction with the industry and other interested groups. It will train apprentice tractor-trailer commercial drivers to plan trips and inspect equipment, safely handle cargo, conduct routine vehicle checks, and prepare documentation, including bills of lading, border crossing security and custom forms.

    Training will be voluntary and available for people who want to become apprentice drivers starting early in 2006.

    “For the first time the government has recognized that a truck driver is a skilled professional, not an unskilled worker. This is a big step forward for the trucking industry,” said David Bradley, president of the Ontario Trucking Association.

    “Teamsters Canada feels that this is taking ‘one giant step’ forward as it recognizes that the profession of truck driver is a skilled position. With the number of drivers in the workforce that are retiring and the shortage of skilled drivers, it is of the utmost importance to replace these drivers and hire additional drivers,” said Bud McAulay, assistant freight director at Teamsters of Canada.

    “This new training program will help address the shortage of experienced, qualified drivers in an industry that is vital to Ontario’s economy. Every year Ontario’s highways carry almost $1.2 trillion worth of goods,” said Transportation Minister Harinder Takar.

    Ontario has Canada’s largest apprenticeship training system with over 140 trades. The Ontario government has introduced the Apprenticeship Training Tax Credit to encourage more employers to train apprentices. Apprenticeship training will be a key feature of Ontario’s new One-Stop Training and Employment System, a seamless and co-ordinated training network.

    “The McGuinty government intends to increase the number of new apprentice registrations by 7,000 to a total of 26,000 annually in 2007-08,” said Bentley.

    Backgrounder -- Tractor-trailer commercial driver apprenticeship

    The McGuinty government has announced a new, voluntary apprenticeship for the trade of tractor-trailer commercial driver. This designation as new trade will support the trucking industry’s commitment to training and growth and provide skilled drivers for employers.

    Apprentices will participate in about 12 weeks of training with a mentor and 40 weeks of on-the-job training. During their training, apprentices will learn to:

    Plan trips and inspect equipment Safely handle and secure cargo Conduct routine vehicle checks and report problems Prepare documentation including bills of lading, border crossing and custom forms.

    Participants will also learn other critical skills, such as developing a deeper understanding of the life-style adjustments of long-distance driving, application of appropriate laws, customer service, safety regulations and the principles of the trucking business.

    To be eligible for training, apprentices will need a valid Ontario AZ license or equivalent. The new voluntary trade will be regulated under the Apprenticeship and Certification Act. Employers will be ready to accept apprentices early in 2006.

    The new program has been under development since early 2004. It was created through the support of the Ontario Trucking Association, the Insurance Bureau of Canada, Teamsters Canada, MacKinnon Transport, KRTS Transportation Specialists, and Fanshawe College with support from: L.E. Walker Transport, Canpar, Lodwick, OK Transport, Spring Creek Carriers, Trendway Transportation, TST Truckload Express, XTL, Liberty Linehaul, Kurtz Trucking, Yanke Group, the Owner-Operator’s Business Association of Canada, Cowan Insurance Brokers, Professional Truck Drivers Institute, I Truck Assist, Career Shift, the Advisory Council for Truck Safety and the Canadian Trucking Human Resource Council.

    Source: Ministry News Release,

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