February 8, 2021 – NOTICE TO FARMERS
Team Alberta – consisting of Alberta Barley, Alberta Canola, Alberta Pulse Growers and the Alberta Wheat Commission – would like to ensure that farmers are aware of the approaching deadline of March 1, 2021, to complete the necessary testing for the Class 1 Mandatory Entry Level Training (MELT) equivalency under the Alberta Transportation farmer and farm worker extension program.
Team Alberta is aware of the numerous concerns spanning the province that farmers and farm workers are experiencing related to completing the training and testing prior to this deadline.
Together with other producer groups across the agricultural sector in Alberta, we have been actively working with Alberta Transportation to find solutions. The concerns being heard indicate a lack of sufficient training and testing capacity and other systematic issues.
We have heard concerns as far back as the summer of 2020, related to lengthy training waiting times, testing limitations, and equipment and language barriers. These concerns have been relayed to Alberta Transportation, we are in regular communication and they are actively working to try to reduce the barriers.
Those who need to complete their road MELT test before March 1, 2021 please contact Alberta Transportation (info below) to book your road test date.
Additionally, if you are a farmer or farm worker who has successfully applied to the extension program and are experiencing issues with training and testing in this timeframe, here are some steps you can take:
- Contact Alberta Transportation
General Contact Information for Scheduling
Road Tests Assistance:
Online Booking Website: https://eservices.alberta.ca/book-a-drivers-road-test.html
(toll-free by first dialing 310-0000)
- Contact your MLA
To be sure your concerns are being heard broadly, you can write or phone your Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA). If you do not know who your MLA is you can find the link here.
Reach out to the crop commissions for further information
When new Class 1 driver’s licence regulations came into effect in 2019, farmers and farm workers had the opportunity to apply for an extension to become MELT compliant by completing the pre-MELT knowledge and road test, and challenging the MELT knowledge and road test before March 1, 2021. The program processed over 2,000 successful applications (farm extension drivers) before it closed on November 30, 2019.
Team Alberta is aware of further concerns related to the ongoing implementation of MELT within the farming community. We understand the programs are timely and costly to farmers, and there are concerns about the availability of Class 1 drivers to service the agricultural sector.
Collectively, we have been working with Alberta Transportation since the new regulations came into place to find solutions. Since then, Alberta Transportation has announced two new programs that are aimed at lowering the barriers to achieve a MELT Class 1 licence and grow the pipeline of Class 1 drivers in the province:
- will reduce the time and cost for an experienced Class 3 driver to upgrade to their Class 1. This program is aimed at Class 3 drivers with two years of driving experience and will reduce the instructed hours for MELT from 120 hours to 40 hours.
- The Driving Back to Work Grant program is aimed at out of work Albertans, reducing the cost of the MELT Class 1 in order to get more commercial Class 1 drivers on the road and reduce the demand.
To learn more about Team Alberta and to subscribe for email updates visit teamalbertacrops.com