Tuesday, May 28, 2024
Ontario has 8 inspectors to cover 550 career colleges over an area the size of Texas. In addition to about 200 Trucking schools, there are about 350 other college including hairstyling and massage. Image: Daily Hive
Media releaseTrucking

IBC report highlights lack of Trucking school oversight

IBC report a huge contribution to improving Truck driver training, TTSAO says

The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has made a tremendously important contribution to the discussion of Truck driver training and safety with the April 9th release of its report, “Commercial Trucking Insurance and Education,” TTSAO said today.

Philip Fletcher, president of the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario (TTSAO) participated in stakeholder consultations conducted by MNP on behalf of IBC in 2023 and says the discussions were realistic and fruitful.

“Discussions took place over the better part of a year,” says Fletcher. “The resulting April 9th report has achieved a tremendous balance, confirming much of the insurance industry’s perspective on what needs to be improved in training for commercial truck drivers, while providing actionable steps for governments to take.

“TTSAO strongly encourages the Ontario government to give this report its best and most serious consideration. IBC has done a lot of the independent research work that has been lacking in this discussion. Now, we hope Ontario and other Canadian jurisdictions will act on IBC’s findings and recommendations.”

Of particular interest to TTSAO and its 40 member schools are the IBC’s key findings on commercial truck driver training: first, that not all trucking schools are created equal. Second, provincial oversight, inspection and enforcement on schools which do not meet minimum standards needs to be significantly improved.

Fletcher highlights Section 5.3 on oversight and compliance issues, which notes:

TTSAO president Philip Fletcher. Photo: TTSAO

“Driver training school oversight and compliance were consistently raised as key issues by interviewees. The quality of schools varies, and this impacts training delivery. Interviewees cited instances of schools ‘cutting corners’, providing examples such as insufficient instruction where instructors simply read to students from the training book, or required hours being logged as complete when they are not. This has significant impact on students. Interviewees indicated there are significant differences seen in drivers coming out of ‘good’ schools versus ‘bad’ schools.

“In Ontario, there are eight inspectors responsible for auditing not only the almost 200 schools providing truck driver training, but all the province’s registered private career colleges. As a result, the province’s truck driver training schools are only audited every three to four years. It was also noted that inspectors completing the audits do not have any special knowledge of trucking.”

“To read these findings, researched by a strongly credible third-party agency like MNP and presented by IBC, makes industry professionals optimistic Ontario will make changes in the months ahead,” Fletcher notes.

TTSAO has been a vocal advocate for stronger oversight of trucking schools, as there continue to be issues of fraud and counterfeiting in the industry.

“Working together – the Truck training industry, the insurance industry and the province – we can make our truck drivers better and our roads safer. It is incumbent upon us to do so.”