Documents obtained by the CBC show that SGI was moving towards mandatory training for truck drivers as recently as this spring, but then reversed course, presumably under the direction of the Sask. Party government. In response to this report and to a recent accident that a driving instructor says mandatory training could have prevented, the Saskatchewan NDP is calling on the government to clarify its position on mandatory trucker training, and commit to implementing such training in the province.
“This is about safety on Saskatchewan highways,” said NDP Leader Ryan Meili. “Legitimate concerns have been raised about drivers getting their license without having undergone any training, and people are looking to this government to act.”
According to an internal SGI memo obtained by the CBC entitled, “Commercial Truck Training — Optional or Mandatory,” mandatory training would result in fewer collisions, and would “increase public confidence in the industry, make Saskatchewan drivers more employable in other provinces, and be easier to implement than a complicated incentive program.”
While both Ontario and Alberta have already moved forward with mandatory truck driver training, SGI Minister Joe Hargrave has said that his government is focused on building consensus on regulatory changes across western Canada, but has declined to voice any support for mandatory trucker training, raising questions around whether Saskatchewan itself might be the holdout voice on mandatory trucker training.
“In committee Minister Hargrave said that mandatory training is ‘part of the discussion,’ but not necessarily ‘part of the agreement,’” said SGI Critic Nicole Rancourt. “But he neglected to clarify his government’s position on whether mandatory training should be part of an interprovincial agreement. We know where Alberta and Ontario stand because they’re already mandating training and strengthening safety requirements. Where does Saskatchewan stand?”