76 new enforcement officers, 10 new rest areas, updating MELT curriculum topics at MTO meeting with Truckers for Safer Highways
This closed weigh scale in Serpent River is a typical sight in Northern Ontario: “I can drive from the Manitoba border to North Bay and never see an open scale,” says Travis McDougall of Truckers for Safer Highways, who says their recent meeting with MTO was “a good start.” Photo: TFSH
45 new Transportation Enforcement Officers (TEOs) were deployed by Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation in 2022, Truckers for Safer Highways was told in a December 9th meeting. An additional 31 were onboarded this fall and are currently enrolled in the basic training course.
Travis McDougall and Jeff Orr, founders of the group Trucker for Safer Highways (TFSH) met with MTO officials in a teleconference meeting which they requested earlier in 2022. The meeting was led by Richard Robinson, Team Leader of MTO’s Carrier Enforcement Program.
“It was a good meeting, and we covered lots of ground. The three most important item on the agenda were clearly enforcement, training, and rest areas,” McDougall told Road Warrior News.
In the area of enforcement, Robinson’s presentation detailed hiring and training of enforcement officers which includes providing Commercial Vehicle Safety Association training to local police officers to aid in commercial vehicle enforcement. In July 2022, an OPP release reported that collisions involving commercial vehicles had increased 40 per cent over July 2021.
In the December 9th meeting, MTO indicated that Hiring/Training initiatives accomplished or underway include:
• 45 Transportation Enforcement Officers (TEOs) were hired last year and have completed Basic Training and CVSA Training;
• 31 TEOs were onboarded this Fall, and they are currently in our 2022 Fall Basic Training Course;
• Current posting for three additional officers in Thunder Bay Police Training;
• 36 police officers were trained this past Spring to conduct CVSA inspections;
• Another CVSA course for police is planned for early 2023 General Training;
• Online modules being developed for use by carriers and officers on general commercial vehicle requirements.
“It’s important they are providing CVSA training to local police officers, because I have been stopped by some police who had no idea how to view ELOG information,” McDougall notes. “If they are going to enforce, they have to understand what they are looking at. So, this is a step forward. With the 76 new enforcement officers, it’s a good start.”
With regard to entry level training, MTO staff explained that stakeholder consultations are currently underway to explore areas in which the Minimum Entry Level Training (MELT) could be improved, including a specific topic for discussion on whether there is a need for additional winter driving content. In articles published in January 2022, RWN pointed out that the word “winter” does not appear anywhere in Ontario’s MELT curriculum, and the word “snow” is only used in relation to cleaning it off of the truck, not driving in it.
On the topic of rest areas, the MTO presentation clearly stated that “Our ministry recognizes the need to provide more rest areas along our highways and is taking steps to build and improve rest area facilities across the province.”
Staff pointed to the 10 new rest areas and 14 areas due to be refurbished which were announced by Minister Caroline Mulroney on January 7, 2021. RWN has requested a progress update on these projects from MTO.