Ontario training schools call for tuition hike-Today’s Trucking

HAMILTON, ON – The Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario (TTSAO) is calling on the province to raise the $40 hourly cap on tuition governed by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development – and it has already found industry support in the call.

Select carriers, insurance providers, and the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada are all supporting the bid. Read more….


O.P.P. Blend into Trucking for Enforcement

That truck you’re driving next to may just be a cop! The O.P.P. ( Ontario Provincial Police) launched a new program on December 11th, 2017 where they will now be patrolling in tractor units to catch distracted drivers. The goal of the one week blitz is to deter distracted driving by blending into normal traffic and use radio communications to pull over the offenders with other officers.

The trucking industry has been under fire over the last few months due to deadly crashes involving transport trucks with the cause of many thought to be distracted driving. It started back in October with three deadly crashes in the Kitchener area, then a fiery crash south of Barrie, and finally another fatality this week on the 401. Comments from Police have caused uproar in the industry as they have made it sound like truckers are killers.

Distracted driving has become a real problem with the advancement of technology and the way we use mobile devices in our day to day lives. This is a major problem for everyone not just transport drivers and we all need to police ourselves when operating vehicles on the roadways. I know in my daily travels I see motorists in cars and trucks using their phones while driving. In fact it doesn’t even need to be a phone. I have a new car and there is so much technology included that it can be distracting just trying to change the radio station. Hands-free is one thing but you can still be distracted even if not holding a device and the level of distraction is different for everyone. I make it a goal of mine to not answer the phone in the city limits because I know even the conversation can distract my attention away from the task at hand.

The O.P.P. believe that the truck drivers are to blame although many opp cruiserof us see the situation differently. They are hoping that driving in non-marked tractor units along side of the offenders will help to catch them in the act. The officers will be patrolling in two units within the Toronto area and hoping the higher vantage point will allow them a better view of the problem. Once an offender has been identified the officers will radio a patrol car that will pull the offender over. The O.P.P. suggest that not knowing which truck are holding police officers will help deter the problem allowing them to look like there are more officers than there really are. You can read about the actual program here. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/thunder-bay-safety-blitz-1.4444214

We all need to do our part to curve distracted driving whether you think the trucking industry is at fault or not. If you look at the statistics in context with the amount of trucks traveling our roadways it shows our safety record is still good, but of course improvements are always available. So you have now been warned that the truck driving next to you may now be a police officer hopefully not driving distracted.

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

TTSAO Working with Province to Raise $40.00 Hourly Cap


TTSAO Working with Province
to Raise $40.00 Hourly Cap

December 5, 2017 – Hamilton, ON: Along with representation from Carriers, Insurance and the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada (PMTC), the TTSAO recently met with the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD) to discuss raising the $40 hourly cap currently put on training facilities.

Since 2009 insurance costs for insuring trucks and trailers at truck training facilities has risen 200%. This was an example of one of the many rising costs since the implementation of a $40.00 hourly cap on tuition by the MAESD for all Private Carrier Colleges in the Province of Ontario.

A recent report released by the TTSAO outlines clearly that the TTSAO Logo$40.00 hourly cap is outdated and needs to be addressed by the Province. There has not been an adjustment to the cap since 2009. In the TTSAO report other rising costs since 2009 include; a rise in the lease of equipment by 45%, instructor wages have risen on average by 15%, maintenance fees have increased by 20% just to name a few. Other increases include administration staff wages, annual auditing fees, rent and marketing. As a result of all these increases, the educational facilities are having a hard time staying afloat.

Mike Millian, PMTC President, spoke with MAESD officials and made it clear the $40.00 hourly cap must be raised.
“There has been no increase to this cap in 8 years which has simply not kept up with today’s truck training world. If schools can’t make enough money to cover their costs, they will be forced to cut costs in other areas to be able to stay in business.”

Guy Broderick, Driver Training Supervisor at APPS Transport Group and the Chairman of the TTSAO Carrier Group, commented to the MAESD “the transportation industry has seen many increases across the board for years. When you factor in the cost of fuel, insurance and wages for your staff and other capital expenses the $40.00 cap seems unreasonable for any kind of operation.”
With the introduction of Mandatory Entry Level Driver Training (MELT) the expenses to deliver the required standard has also increased. The recent TTSAO report outlines that it is impossible to deliver the mandatory training needed to obtain a Class AZ license with a $40.00 per hour cap.

The TTSAO has recently formed the TTSAO Insurance Group and elected a new Chairperson Lisa Arseneau from Staebler Insurance. Lisa attended the meeting on behalf of insurance members and echoed the thoughts of other TTSAO representatives “In an industry that is rife with financial increases, I find it hard to believe that a cap, such as this, remains unchanged. If the cap is not increased to reflect today’s economy, we run the risk of losing many of the best Private Career Colleges truck driver training schools due to underfunding and cost prohibition.”

MAESD committed to get the report in front of the Policy and Program Design Division and they are going to go through the analysis process. This could take time but the government needs to expedite the process. The $40.00 hourly cap requires immediate attention. If the $40.00 hourly cap is not dealt with in a timely manner trucking schools will be forced to train on outdated equipment, reduce Instructors wages, cut corners on maintenance among other things. “This could lead to more accidents and a reduction in Road Safety for all Road users” Millian added.

For more information, contact:
Charlie Charalambous – Director of Communications and Public Relations, TTSAO – ccharalambous@isbc.ca

Lisa Arseneau – Commercial Producer – Staebler Insurance – larseneau@staebler.com

Mike Millian – President, Private Motor Truck Council of Canada – trucks@pmtc.com

Guy Broderick – Driver Training Supervisor at APPS Transport Group – gbroderick@appsexpress.com


Can a Lack of Training be Costing Your Company?

Many companies view training as a compliance issue. Go through the presentation with your team, have them do a test, and get back to work! Once that documentation is in the filing cabinet the company is all set. I see this time and time again working in the industry and it is not the trainers that feel this way, but the company. Now of course not all companies view training that way with many taking it very seriously. We often assume that the larger the company the more in depth the training. One very large company however found out about the importance of training the hard way.

A recent investigation by Transport Canada may change the way you Train-wrecklook at training in your company. No doubt you have heard of the Lac Megantic train derailment that happened in July 2013 where a train load of dangerous goods exploded devastating a small town of 6000 people. The explosion killed 47 people and the case has been in court for four years. In a recent decision by the courts in October 2017 Irving Oil was found guilty on 34 charges and ordered to pay $4,000,000 in offences with $400,000 of that being direct fines to the incident. Although the incident happened in July 2013 the investigation turned up 34 violations between November 2012 and July 2013 that were directly linked to training and handling of the shipments. You can read the whole article here on the CBC News website. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/irving-oil-sentenced-lac-megantic-charges-1.4373075

The lack of training was in the field of Dangerous Goods and may not be understood by the mainstream population, but could be the difference in emergency response and how a disaster is handled. It was found that Irving Oil did not properly train their employees in the handling of dangerous goods and had improper documentation for the products the train was carrying.

This incident shows you the importance of training no matter what size the of the company is and Irving Oil is a huge operation in a very regulated industry. Many of us would assume that a company that size working in the refinery business would have the proper training in place. I believe they do have proper training available, but how it was delivered and received that made the difference between disaster and safety.

Of course this is a train incident and we are in trucking, but the same regulations apply in most cases and certainly the importance of training is important. Training is not about just showing a PowerPoint or filling in a test. Training is about making sure the recipients understand the importance of the training, why they need to do certain things, and how it can compromise safety and the company by not following procedures. Training is also there to make sure we don’t get complacent and forgetting those little things that can make the difference in how material is handled. In the Irving Oil incident it was found that one of the major violations was classification of a Packing Group from Class II to Class III. That difference shows a lower flash point on the product that may have played a part in explosions.

If you are looking to train your team do us all a favour and get proper training from a certified facility. Don’t just train to put documentation in your filing cabinet for compliance, use the training to show the importance of following procedures and being safe on the job. It may just save your company and people’s lives.

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

Speed limits change, do you?

In Ontario we have had a rash of bad incidents involving trucks. There have been fatalities, arguments against media, and a very depressing cloud over the industry in general. As a former driver and industry veteran I understand the importance of trucks to our economy and the fact that not everyone should be painted with the same brush. We have to make this industry better and it takes all of us to do our part. So that brings me to the next issue, doing your part!

What is doing your part as a professional driver?

Doing your part as a professional driver means being the professional that you are at all times. Driving safely, conducting yourself appropriately, and working to build a career for the long term by being a team player with good performance. The question becomes are you doing it?

Here is what happened to me recently that inspired this article. I was on my way to visit a client just north of Burlington in Guelph Ontario. This is approximately a 30-40 minute drive with no real issues as far as traffic goes so it shouldn’t be a problem with people trying to get to work and so forth. As I am driving to the client I was stunned to see the way some truck drivers were driving almost as if they were oblivious to other motorists on the road. Now I am normally on the side of the truck drivers most of the time, but on this morning they weren’t helping their reputation.

The first incident was a straight truck that followed me so close I speeding-truckthought he was going to hit me. When even in a van type vehicle I look out the window behind me and only see the grill of the truck then that’s a bad thing. This driver didn’t even seem to notice how close he was following me and forced me to change lanes until he finally turned off to another road. So far not a great start to a leisurely drive.

Further up the same road I encountered another truck that seemed to be in a hurry to get to his destination. The speed limit on the roadway was 80 kilometres per hour and this driver was pushing 100 kilometres per hour easily. I am not a cop and don’t judge people for driving fast as we all do it just to keep up with traffic. The problem arises when you are intimidating other motorists due to your speed. This particular stretch of road varies in speed from 80 kilometres per hour to 50 kilometres per hour and this driver stayed at a steady 95 the whole way causing issues with people trying to merge and slow down for posted limits. I was in front of this driver and finally let him pass watching him intimidate other drivers on the road. I followed this driver all the way to the 401 where I merged onto the highway behind this driver. This is where I became confused. When the driver got on the 401 he now was only going 90 kilometres per hour on a road that allowed him to go much faster. It was like the truck had only one speed and this driver went from intimidating others to now holding up traffic.

This may be seen as a rant but I wrote this to illustrate to you how the way you drive as a truck driver intimidates others on the road. If those of us that are seasoned veterans and understand the challenges of the industry are feeling intimidated how do you think other motorists that are not familiar with trucking feel. I personally see this as two drivers that were more interested in there own issues than being professional on the road. We all need to do our part as I mentioned earlier and being safe with proper training and driving skills is the way to start.

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

MELT – The First 120 Days-Press Release


MELT – The First 120 Days

November 17, 2017 – Hamilton, ON: On December 12th from 10am – 12 noon at one of the TTSAO carrier group facilities a presentation will be made by Ministry Officials on the first 120 days of MELT. The Linamar Corporation, located at 700 Woodlawn Road West in Guelph, will be hosting this free event open to any interested industry stakeholders. Those already confirmed to be in attendance include private and for hire carriers, insurance, government, schools and other industry representatives.

Recently the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) hosted a round table ttsao logodiscussion with the TTSAO and Serco to review what has transpired since the implementation of MELT with a focus on Commercial Class A Road Tests. During that meeting the MTO and the TTSAO discussed plans to address the concerns raised about commercial class A testing and the delivery of the road test. The Ministry wanted to release specific details about the actions that have been taken to date and to identify additional recommendations that will improve commercial driver testing services. It is the goal of both parties to work together to address all issues that have been ongoing throughout the province at the drive test facilities.
Some of the recommendations the TTSAO brought forward included the possibility of drive test centers being available for testing on Saturdays, quicker turnaround times for those who failed their first test and designating a TTSAO school member’s location to conduct road tests specifically for its members only.

Charlie Charalambous, TTSAO Director of Communications and Public Relations, says, “The TTSAO is very pleased that the Ministry and Serco representatives took the time to host the roundtable discussion. Both parties shared their open and honest feedback on how things are going and I believe that we are looking at some positive changes for everyone involved. We are looking forward to continuing the conversations and sharing the information at our December 12th open General Meeting”.

The full membered schools of the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario are the largest user of Serco in the province of Ontario for commercial AZ licenses. The TTSAO’s membership represents the majority of truck training schools in the province. The association has relied on the TTSAO Carrier Group and other industry stakeholders to assist in offering direction and advice to improve road safety in the province.

Those who register will also learn about what the MTO has planned for future engagement with industry stakeholders moving forward. To register please contact ttsao@ttsao.com or 416.623.5461.

For more information, contact:
Charlie Charalambous – Director of Communications and Public Relations, TTSAO – ccharalambous@isbc.ca



Challenger Holds Annual Job Fair-Saturday November 25th, 2017

This Saturday November 25th  2017 Challenger is holding their annual job fair in Cambridge! Please feel free to encourage any of your current and past students to come out to see all the opportunities available to them.

Challenger Job Fair


Want a career? Start a job as a driver!

For most people getting started in their career is the hardest thing. As much as we suggest you plan out your career sometimes trying to see too far ahead can hold you back and become a stumbling block. When I look back on my own career I notice the same thing. If You were to tell me the type of work I would be doing today as my full time profession I would have called you crazy. I didn’t have the vision early on to see that far down the road. I barely had the vision to see to the next year, but I took the opportunities at the time. I didn’t even know what truck driving was when I started, but its led to a lifetime career.

Many of my industry friends are the same, they just started the job view out front window of truckto make a buck. Many of them have now been in the industry for over 30 years or more and have solid careers in the transportation industry. Oh sure some had family in the industry and came from a long line of trucking professionals but others did not. When you look back you realize it doesn’t really matter. It can actually be better to not have the prior knowledge as it allows you to look more objectively at the opportunities.

The people in transportation based careers for the most part started in one area, driving! That one component, one occupation was the catalyst to so many careers. There is my insurance expert friend that started driving to pay for college. The President of the Private Motor Truck Council was a driver and then went to safety training, operations, and now current position of President of the Association. How about a trucking company owner that started owning one truck and now operates one of the largest fleets in Canada. Look at the entrepreneur that didn’t know what trucking was at the age of seventeen and got a job in the moving industry moving furniture and now owns several businesses and works the industry in a variety of ways.

These people just got started. They couldn’t see that they would be in insurance, operations, or an entrepreneur, they just wanted a job. They needed the money, they wanted rewarding work, and they had enough dedication to move to the next step. The trucking industry is very intertwined yet most people see it as segregated. Don’t look at the industry and say I will be a driver and view it as the only thing you can do in your career. Look at it as a starting point to gain knowledge and experience that you will use later in your career whatever you may choose to do. There is no rule that says you have to start in the truck but I don’t know one person that is still working in the industry that regrets the driving portion of their career. Driving teaches you so many skills such as time management, organization, customer service, safety, independence, and more. All of those skills are used in any career especially in the trucking industry.

So if you are looking for a career but not sure where to start trucking might be a viable option. There are currently around 700,000 jobs available and approximately half of those are driving positions and that’s just in Canada. Many organizations are trying to show people career path opportunities, but really you won’t find out what is attractive to you until you get started. The best way to find out what opportunities are available for you is to talk to a certified school and find out how you can get your career started.

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

TTSAO Opens Early Bird Registration for 2018 Conference

The Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has opened the Early Bird registration for their 2018 conference. Attendees that register before January 15th, 2018 will have their name entered into a draw to win a $200 Best Buy Gift Card. Click the link below to  register today!

2018 Conference Registration Form (fillable)

Best Buy Gift cardLearn more about the conference here!

TTSAO 2018 Conference Ad

In Truck Training “2” is an Important Number!

If I told you the number “2” was the most important number to your career many new drivers would ask the reason why? Will it take two years to get the training completed? Will it take two years to pay off the price of the training course? Why should you as a new driver focus on the number “2” so much? What could possibly be so important about a number especially the number”2”?

The number “2” is considered the break through number in the world of transportation whether you’re a driver, owner operator, or job seeker you should be focusing on the number “2”! Let’s look at where the number two came from. The number originally started through the insurance industry when it came to truck drivers. The insurance side of the industry based on statistics about drivers many years ago found that it took approximately two years for a driver to gather enough experience that they would be able to handle the trucks and other issues that come up in day-to-day activities. The insurance companies then began to insure carriers that way stating that if they didn’t have a proper training programs they would need to hire drivers with at least two years experience. So to sum it up once you have two years of experience in the eyes of the industry you are considered a professional driver, please note that is based on performance and not time alone. Many of my fellow colleagues may argue that point further but we will use it as a base for this article.

If you are looking through job advertisements you will see a common Driver-with-2thread throughout. The ad statements usually goes something like this, “Drivers must have two years experience to apply.” If you need two years of experience to apply how do you get a job if you are a new driver? What this statement is telling you is that you must have two years experience unless the company has a training program and insurance policy to cover new drivers. Most of the large carriers can take new people because they have a training program in place and the support structure to help new drivers be successful. If you are a new driver look at the larger carriers when applying for driving positions and you will have greater success.

‘A certified truck training certificate has been known to be the equivalent to two years of driving experience.” This is a statement that has been confusing many new drivers for years. The statement isn’t untrue but works differently than sometimes explained. What the statement means is this; if you take training from a certified school the training received would be the same amount of experience as a driver would have received without the training and operating for two years on the roadways. It is like fast tracking your experience. Here is where the confusion comes in. A carrier with a proper support system can hire someone with certified training because they have learned the basics required for the job. It does not mean that you have two years experience, you have the same training as two years of driving. Do not apply for jobs with companies that require two years of experience for drivers.

At a recent function I was talking with a trainer and they mentioned that when drivers ask them about becoming owner operators they suggest that they have at least two years of experience as a driver first. The reason for this is that the driving job alone takes a lot to learn and will take a few years to become good at it. Add the concept of business on top of that and it can throw a new driver into a tail spin.

So you can see that the number “2” is an important number in the industry and flows through the different components of your career when in the transportation industry. These of course are general observations and will be different for everyone based on performance and other factors. To sum it up get certified training, get on with a good carrier and stay their for at least two years if possible. Wait until you have at least two years of driving as a driver before you start thinking about becoming an owner operator and you should have a successful career in transportation. Remember the number “2”!

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

Striving for Success in Training

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