Originally published February 27, 2019 on RealAgriculture
It appears the Government of Alberta has listened to Team Alberta’s concerns over the timing of the Mandatory Entry Level Training (MELT) for new Class 1 drivers announced last month.
Transportation Minister Brian Mason has announced agricultural workers may apply for a one-year exemption from the training, recognizing the quick turn-around to implement MELT would be incredibly tight with seeding around the corner.
“Safety has always been the number one priority on my farm,” says Dave Bishop, Alberta Barley chair. “We appreciate that the Department of Transportation recognizes that we can have safer roads without compromising farmers’ ability to get our crop in.”
As the new rules come into effect this Friday, Team Alberta — made up of Alberta Wheat and Barley, Alberta Canola, and Alberta Pulse — lobbied its provincial government back in January to take into account what the impact would be for farmers with such a quick turn around and with little notice to the industry.
According to a news release, the group, which represents roughly 20,000 grower members, along with other members of the agricultural industry, will be having a technical meeting with the Deputy Minister of Transportation to develop the industry’s path forward with the Class 1 licence.
“We appreciate the government working with us to ensure we can avoid skilled labour shortages while keeping our roads safe,” says Don Shepert, Alberta Pulse Growers chair. “We will keep farmers updated as this file progresses.”