TTSAO Meeting Focuses on Instructor Qualifications

Driving instructors seemed to be the focus of the meeting at yesterdays Truck Training School Association of Ontario (TTSAO) Meeting on December 11th which held a number of panels from insurance professionals to large carriers and had a full house of attendees. As I watched the moderators ask questions of the panel one common thread was instructor qualifications. Even the Ministry of Transportation is looking into instructors in the light of their M.E.L.T program implemented in 2017.

TTSAO December 11th Meeting

Board Member Gerald Carroll started things off with information on the TTSAO Conference coming up on February 27th and 28th 2019. An outline of the agenda and sponsorship opportunities were explained and Charlie Charalambous talked about the new instructor award being presented and sponsored by PayBright. You can register for the conference and learn more about the Instructor Award on the TTSAO website at www.ttsao.comTTSAO 2019Maybe this kicked it off in my mind that the focus was on instructor qualifications but each panel seemed to have that common thread. The first update by the Ministry of Transportation offered a look at the Mandatory Entry Level Program ( M.E.L.T.) for drivers and are expanding the program for “D” licensed drivers. It was mentioned that the next step for the M.E.L.T program would be instructor certification and qualifications. Currently the Ministry is collecting data over a 3-5 year period as to how well the program is working.TTSAO December 11th MeetingLisa Arseneau moderated the discussion for the Carrier Panel which included carriers Challenger, Kriska, and Rosedale offering tips on where drivers need help when applying for jobs with many carriers. Backing up and more complete training was commented as an issue for new applicants. All the carriers mentioned they were happy to have a M.E.L.T. as a base for looking at new applicants, and the carriers mentioned that positive promotion of the industry is required to bring in new people to the industry. Instructor certification and recognized teaching strategies were all good steps to improvement in training from a carrier standpoint.TTSAO December 11th MeetingA discussion with the Insurance Group was moderated by Guy Broderick and the key point of this panel was instructor qualifications again. The insurance industry is trying to change some of the ways they insure carriers to help bring in more people to the industry. What they are seeing through their data is that many of the severe crashes are from inexperienced drivers and they feel instructor certification would be a big step to helping insure new people in the industry.

The meeting was closed off with an update from the MTCU ( Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities) on the training amounts allotted for schools to train new students. Chairperson Kim Richardson closed the meeting with remarks to the full house.TTSAO December 11th MeetingOverall the training industry is working very hard to bring the status of the driver in the transportation industry to professional levels. TTSAO is at the forefront of many of the talks with Ministry officials and is moving the mark forward, but as mentioned by Geoff Topping of Challenger Motor Freight, “We all need to do our part to promote the professionalism of the industry.”

Improving the outlook of the industry will go along way to helping all of us for the long term and hopefully will solve the recruiting issues in the industry. If you are currently an instructor in the industry look for certification training in the near future. It’s being talked about by all groups in the industry. Register for the TTSAO Conference in February by clicking here.TTSAO 2019About 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

PMTC’s Young Leaders to hold General meeting December 18th and raise money for food bank

The Young Leaders Group (YLG) of the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada (PMTC) is hosting their annual Christmas breakfast and general meeting.


The meeting will be held on Tuesday, December 18, 2018 in Cambridge, ON at Sharp Transportation Systems’ offices located at 1225 Balmoral Rd. Registration will be from 8:00am until 8:30am. The meeting will begin at 8:30am with the general meeting followed by a career story with guest speaker Shari Lagala, Health and Safety Training Manager at Patene Building Supplies. The meeting will wrap up at 10:30.

Both PMTC members and non-members are welcome. If you are 40 and under, not currently a member of the PMTC and are interested in the PMTC Young Leaders Group, please feel free to register to attend and learn about this great group! The cost to register is a donation to the food bank. The YLG will be accepting monetary and/or food donations which will go to the Cambridge Self Help Food Bank.

Matt Richardson, PMTC YLG Chairperson, had this to say about the upcoming event: “The PMTC YLG is happy to be completing our 3rd annual Christmas meeting and educational session. The turn out the past couple of years has been great and we are hoping the same for this year. As in previous years, the event will feature a charity component with donations (food and monetary) being accepted for the Cambridge Self Help Food Bank. This is an excellent opportunity for PMTC and PMTC YLG members to support the Cambridge Food Bank heading in to the holiday season, along with getting together for a networking and learning opportunity”.

To register, e-mail, or call 905-827-0587.  Space is limited so don’t delay!

This seminar is being offered as part of the YLG’s mission to bring value to the next generation through education, discussions and networking. We’d love to see you there. Get out! Get involved! Get inspired!

Is your company treating you right?

I think I’m getting screwed over by my company? This is a statement that I hear from many drivers over the course of my career. Some of those drivers were driving for the same company that I was working with at the time of the statement. If you are getting screwed over as they say, how do you know?

This article came to mind based on a post that I read where a driver who had been driving for four months felt the company wasn’t treating him right and he wanted to switch carriers after that short time. He said he was running 2500-3000 miles per week for about 35 cents per mile and this was a large U.S. carrier. He said the company was deducting things off his cheque to where he is barely making 20% of his pay per month and he is not on a lease program or owner operator situation. This is all I know as the individual didn’t elaborate more than that which is why it makes for a good discussion.


There are not enough details to know whether this driver is being abused or not by their carrier unless we were to see an income statement, contract, and other personal items such as work history and so on. So we will assume for this discussion that the company is operating above board and treating their drivers fairly. If we break it down this person is a new driver and agreed to the mileage rate when signing on. We also know that the carrier is giving the driver the miles because he is says he is getting 2500-3000 miles per week. The question now becomes how is the driver being screwed over as they say?

How employees feel about their companies can change by the day, I know it did for me when I was driving. One day you are happy to be on the open road with a cool trip to Texas or Florida. The next week the weather sucks, you have unexpected delays, and you’re heading for New York City. That’s the nature of the job and happens to every driver. Normally when drivers are unhappy it is because they are either not getting enough miles, lack of organization from the carrier, they are not going to the destinations that they want to travel to, or the equipment is not in good working order. Those are the main issues for drivers outside of home time.

Our driver in the example above is getting the miles, doesn’t mention equipment issues, home time, or destination choices. The driver mentions they are deducting too much money from their cheque. Is the driver being screwed over or does the driver not understand the contract with the carrier? Here is my take on this story without knowing the details.

With 25 years of experience behind the wheel I have stood in line behind a lot of drivers at the truck stop. Many of those drivers have asked for loans on the company card to buy food while on the road. They used to be called Com-checks which is basically an advance benefit on a fuel program that the company authorizes. Many drivers forget about this loan after a week or so and then wonder why their cheques are so low even though they are running the miles. I believe this is what may have happened to this driver based on assumption and not having any more details. If the driver borrowed some money when he started to get him going the company would deduct it over time as the driver makes income.


If you are in a similar situation or feel your carrier is not treating you right before you go switching carriers or begin knocking the company it is best to have a meeting with your operations people and discuss the problem. You may have just forgot about a loan in the past or didn’t understand a deduction that was outlined when signing on. At that point you can make an educated decision with all the facts as to whether you should switch carriers or not? Smart drivers are tracking their trips and income while matching it to their statements. If not how do you know if you are getting screwed over or not, you may just be having a bad trip.

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

TTSAO announces updated line up for December 11th meeting.

TTSAO’s General Meeting taking place on December 11th in Mississauga we are pleased to announce the following line-up of TTSAO-logo-2018panelists for the Carrier/ MELT panel:
Caroline Blaise of Kriska Transport,
Geoff Topping of Challenger Motor Freight, and
Brian Topping of Rosedale Transport

These industry experts will provide their thoughts and experiences on the MELT program from the carriers perspective. Discussion items will include:

quality of the MELT Driver
the impact of Driver turnover
finishing programs
instructor certification and other topics

The panel will be moderated by TTSAO Insurance Group Chairperson and TTSAO Board of Director, Lisa Arseneau of Staebler Insurance.

The meeting will take place at the CHSI Conference Centre at 5110 Creekbank Road, Mississauga from 10 am – 12 noon.

There is no fee to attend and you do not have to be a TTSAO member.

Registration can be done by contacting Sara Fitchett, Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario
Direct: 705-280-5577
Fax: 888-649.5328

Trucking Offers Flexible Options for a Career

It’s been a sad week of news so far this week with many manufacturing plants announcing closings and changes to their workforce. It is always sad to see people losing their jobs and having to look to either retraining, moving, or searching for new work. General Motors announced the closing of several plants across North America this week and Maple Leaf Foods announced the moving their plant from Toronto to London Ontario. Good for some people bad for others. Those good jobs in manufacturing have been on the decline for decades since our economy began to buy on global scale and that’s what makes trucking such a lucrative and viable option.

Careers these days are not about working at a plant because your family before you worked there. Those were the old ways of thinking where you got a good job and then worked at a company for thirty years. In today’s world working at a company for five years is a major career and the secret to longevity is to keep retraining yourself and improving your knowledge of technology. Those not willing to learn and upgrade will find themselves left behind in a drastically changing world. There was a company that announced up to 800 new positions in the region at the same time of the other closings, all the jobs announced were in technology. Start upgrading!


We may be surprised today but this has been happening for years. I personally went back to school many years ago to learn some new skills when I wanted to move up in the company I was working with. At that time four drivers in our fleet were in a race for promotion to become supervisor of the fleet, myself included. All had years of experience, good work record, and respect from the team. This was a time however when everything was becoming more computerized and items like expense reports and dispatch services were transferring from paper to computers. As I had returned to school and was upgrading my computer skills where the other candidates had not and that got me the position. This is one of the reasons I am big on self education to this day as it will offer you so many opportunities for the future.

Let’s get back to trucking and the benefits of flexibility. I think the transportation industry may be one of the only industries that can offer you that life-long career due to the many options available. If we take the news of plants closing and jobs going to Mexico that is a terrible thing for workers here, no doubt. For trucking however that will offer many news lanes and an increase in jobs for individuals. If you pursue a job in trucking there are many opportunities in the seat but there will also be other positions required in safety, dispatch, administration, and other services specific to transportation.


Making high wages in the manufacturing sector won’t be sustainable for the future even if we want it to be. Labour costs are generally the highest expenses a company can have and will always be looking at that expense when trying to survive in a global economy. Transportation offers flexibility with change and even if products are made outside the Country they will need to be transported into locations for the future.

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

Career Training Over Job Training

Am I suggesting that you don’t get job training? Of course not everyone needs some type of training on the job and that is normal and expected. What I am suggesting is if you are new to the industry or career that you are looking for that you consider career training as opposed to one specific type of job training. Let me share an example with you.

Bob is looking for a new job as he recently lost his job from a previous employer. He is 45 years old with a wife and two kids and needs something more stable. The industry he was in before has become unstable and he wants something that will offer him steady work. Bob is currently looking at two opportunities both in the transportation industry because he has heard there is steady work. One opportunity is with a company handling administration work in load planning and the other is over the road as a professional truck driver. Bob is eligible for funding assistance for the new career if he takes the driver training, but he is not sure he wants to go out on the road. The real question is which opportunity should he take?

As someone who has been in the industry for many years I often come across people trying to decide on job opportunities similar to this. They have an immediate opportunity for one position but are able to get subsidized training for another option that may take longer to complete but offer more options for the future.

Every decision here will be a personal decision for the person deciding. Personal issues, income availability, and work ambitions all come into play in the decision. If we were to use Bob’s scenario above and assuming Bob had the income to keep him a float for approximately eight weeks. Then the driving position would be the direction I would suggest he go, here is why.


If he takes the first option of the load planning position he would learn about that particular job and it may move him up the career ladder through that carrier or another company with similar positions. Here is the problems I see with this position. You will only be understanding the job from your job focus for the most part. Your career future may be limited due to positions available in the future if something happens to your job. Depending on where your future takes you it may not have the respect of the team below you if you haven’t got a true understanding of the road. Now I am certainly not saying that someone who hasn’t driven before can’t have a solid career in trucking, it just takes more homework.

If Bob takes the option of going through a truck training course he will have more options available for the future. He may not want to drive forever but driving positions are the most positions available now and in the future if someone is looking for steady work. Having a commercial driver’s licence allows for a variety a variety of opportunities from local work to highway operations allowing for more variety on the job depending on the carrier. There are more options for finding the type of work of preference and the income potential is high right from the start. In the training course Bob will learn all aspects of the transportation industry and that will offer a good base of understanding and respect from others in the industry should Bob move off the road at a later date.


Looking at your career options farther than your current opportunities can be tough at first but if you think about the big picture you will see that many times the longer the opportunity for access the more opportunities it will produce down the road. Of course that’s just my opinion.

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

Are You in Business or Not?

Driver Inc as it’s called is all over the news as the Canada Revenue Service (CRA) promises to crackdown on those businesses using the self employed status to avoid paying taxes when working for someone such as another owner operator or company. The practice has been around a long time and has gone through many names such as “Driver Service” “Driver Inc” and the like. Apparently the issue came up at a recent trucking conference that had members of the CRA involved and the issue began to spread like wildfire. I have been talking about this for years in my business classes so it is important to understand the issue.

What is Driver Inc?

The name is not relevant because many companies use terms like ‘Driver Service” or a company could name themselves “Driver Inc” and be legitimate. The real issue is in the relationship between the driver and the company. The practice goes like this, a driver is hired by another operator or company and told they will be an independent contractor. The driver sets themselves up as a company on paper by incorporating and goes to work for the carrier. They avoid paying taxes by writing off expenses such as their vehicle to and from work, meals, and many other items entitled for write-offs by business owners. The issue is that they are only working for one person or carrier. You are operating as a business without really being in business. This is a common practice for carriers that are avoiding paying income tax and payroll taxes for employees.

This is a very grey area because many business owners have been doing it for a long time especially owner operators that have more than one truck under their personal fleet. I have seen in the past where an owner had up to fifteen trucks and all the drivers were operating in that manner. When questioned about it he mentioned he had been audited with no problems by the CRA. His books may have been in order but if those drivers had been audited they would have been found to be in violation if they had not operating in the proper manner.


Is it legal to set up your own driver service?

Going into business can be a very rewarding experience and something that many people will try during their lifetime, but it has to be done properly. There are no shortcuts in business and the penalties can be very steep for those that choose to work outside of the law. There are many issues to keep in mind when setting up a business, too many to talk about in one article but there are a couple easy ways to know if you are in business properly in the eyes of the CRA. I used to tell my students to worry about three things. Can you prove you have more than one customer that you work with? I always suggest at least three clients. Do you provide the tools for the job or are they supplied for you? Do you decide when you go to work and have the right to refuse work if you choose? Are your business expenses legitimate to do the work or To gain future work? If you would like to check out the actual requirements for the CRA click the link to view the pdf document outlining the requirements.

It is legal to set yourself up in business if done properly with legitimate clients and work, but it is much more than just incorporating a name. Drivers are an easy target for these types of situations because it is enticing to be in business and it affords more money in your pocket. In the long run however the driver takes on all the liability and is paying taxes that an employer should be paying. If starting a business do your homework on the requirements and do it properly, you’ll be glad you did!

Work for a trusted carrier on the TTSAO Carrier Group


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

TTSAO Announces Results of Second Careers Survey

Attached are the results of our survey.
This document will be used tomorrow at our meeting with MTCU.TTSAO-logo-2018 Phil, Lisa and Guy, thank you for committing to attend. We had a tremendous response regarding the survey from full membership and we had 99% response from board members who own or manage schools. It would have been nice to have 100% from our board members who own schools but you don’t always get what you ask for. Thank you to those who participated and feel free to share this document with the world. Thank you for your commitments to making the TTSAO a better Association.

TTSAO Second Careers Survey


About the TTSAO

The TTSAO is membership of accredited truck training schools, carriers, insurance members, and associate members helping make the truck training industry in Ontario a better place. You can learn more at

CHET Adds 12 Seater Van to School Fleet

CHET has invested in a new vehicle as part of their program of transporting  Hamilton students back and forth to the school. This is a 12 seater van which can be called into service for license training in the future. CHET supports can support clients even better with this new investment.


About CHET


We provide Industry Leading Commercial Truck Driver Training that gets you hired and into a career. We know because we actually hire over 85% of people that we train!

Striving for Success in Training

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