The Alberta government has extended the deadline to comply with the province’s mandatory entry-level driver training (MELT) program to farmers and farm workers in the agriculture industry.
Taking effect March 1, any commercial driver looking to obtain a Class 1 or 2 licence must do so through the MELT program. Any driver who obtained their Class 1 or 2 licence prior to Oct. 10, 2018 is exempt from the program.
After consultation with the agriculture industry, the provincial government said it granted the exemption to those in the sector “to avoid undue pressure on seeding and harvesting operations this year.”
The Alberta government still encourages farmers and farm workers to complete the MELT program before acquiring their Class 1 or 2 driver’s licence, but it will not be mandatory during the 2019 farming season.
Eligible farm workers will need to apply to Alberta Transportation for the MELT extension between March 15 and Nov. 30. If approved, drivers will be authorized to take the pre-MELT knowledge and road tests for their Class 1, which must be obtained by Nov. 30.
Alberta’s MELT program includes 113 educational hours (not including air brake endorsement) for Class 1 licences, 40.5 of which are in-class, 15.5 in-yard, and 57 hours of practical training.
Aspiring Class 2 drivers will need to complete 50 hours of training through MELT, 18 being in the classroom, 10.6 in-yard, and 21.25 practical.
Costs for the MELT program are up to $10,000 for Class 1 and up to $5,000 for Class 2.