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Putting Canada’s trucking industry on a smoother road

May 2, 2024 | By: Cecilia Omole, Manager, Policy Development, IBC
Putting Canada’s trucking industry on a smoother road

Challenges facing the commercial trucking sector date back many years and are not unique to Canada. However, it will take a concerted effort to put Canada’s trucking sector back on a smoother road.

Today, driver shortages and rising operating costs are key issues within the sector.

Another long-standing issue is training for drivers entering the industry. A recent MNP report found that new commercial truck drivers who haven’t received adequate formal training are at higher risk of a collision, which is a safety hazard for everyone on the road.

Canada’s property and casualty insurance industry has been working to improve training for new drivers. To encourage governments to improve their training requirements, and reduce the number of severe collisions and sizable liability claims, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) developed a suite of national public policy recommendations for the trucking sector.

Following the release of these recommendations in 2023, IBC has worked diligently with a variety of strategic partners in trucking and training to advocate for changes to government-led truck driver education. Specifically, IBC has advocated for introducing a mandatory entry-level training (MELT) program to provinces without one and strengthening the existing MELT programs.  

Last spring, IBC commissioned MNP LLP to conduct a review and jurisdictional scan of commercial truck driver training in various Canadian and international jurisdictions. In light of identified insurability challenges within the trucking sector, the goal of the scan was to identify best practices and consider how changes in training requirements could contribute to improved road safety.

In their findings, MNP noted that drivers with less training and experience are more likely to be involved in a collision compared to drivers with more training and experience. The costly claims expenses in the commercial trucking sector are the largest contributor to increased pressure on insurance premiums. The report reiterated the importance of high-quality truck driver training as a first line of defence against higher premiums.

MNP also recommended improving oversight and enforcement of standards at schools offering commercial driver training, developing onboarding and mentorship programs by industry associations, piloting the use of telematics to provide drivers with feedback, and using graduated or progressive licensing.

Many provinces across Canada have implemented MELT as a minimum standard for truck driver training, but it is just that – a minimum standard. Working collaboratively with key stakeholders in the industry, IBC has been proactive in pushing governments to make additional changes to raise the basic requirements for truck drivers, and those efforts are paying off. A number of governments have announced changes (or have signalled their intent to make changes) to truck driver education standards later this year.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Nova Scotia

  • Nova Scotia is consulting with stakeholders and expected to announce how MELT will be implemented later this year.

New Brunswick

  • In New Brunswick, starting on April 1, 2024, transport truck drivers seeking a Class 1 licence are required to take an approved MELT training program. The program includes at least 112 hours of standardized training that covers the essential knowledge and skills needed to safely operate a large truck.


  • MELT became a new pre-licensing requirement for Class 1 commercial drivers in Alberta on March 1, 2019; however, the government noted that changes were required to improve the quality of training in light of rising insurance claims and commercial driver shortages.

  • A new apprenticeship-style model announced on March 27, 2024, offers a learning pathway for truck drivers to develop skills as a trainee and continue to build on their skills as a professional driver with the goal of obtaining a Red Seal designation. 

Other jurisdictions, including Ontario, are expected to announce changes to driver training programs later this year.

IBC will continue to work collaboratively with the trucking sector and training organizations across Canada to understand ongoing challenges and help develop solutions to support the trucking industry.

About This Author

Cecilia Omole is the Manager of Commercial Policy within the Policy Development department at Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC). In this role, Cecilia leads IBC’s public policy work with the insurance industry to find solutions to problems affecting commercial clients, business owners, stakeholder groups, and related concerns raised by governments and regulators. Cecilia has a Master’s degree in Public and International Affairs from York University and holds the Canadian Risk Management (CRM) designation from the Global Risk Management Institute.