Saskatchewan’s response to the Humboldt Broncos crash is ready to be introduced. The province is launching its new mandatory training legislation for semi-truck drivers, eight months after the Humboldt Broncos tragedy.
The Saskatchewan government says its new laws will be enacted on March and will mandate Class 1 commercial license drivers to undergo a minimum of 121.5 hours of training.
Eight months ago, a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team collided with a semi-truck at an intersection in rural Saskatchewan. This incident was a national tragedy, resulting in 16 people being killed and 13 injured. Joe Hargrave, minister for Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI), confirmed the incident heavily influenced the new mandatory training regime.
“It made it more clear that we need to get this done,” although he added this “isn’t a Humboldt Broncos plan.”
“This is about the truck driving training and it was about the industry and where we should be taking the industry,” Hargrave said.
Training schedules will be defined with 47 hours of classroom education, 17.5 hours in a yard, and 57 hours driving. Saskatchewan has already introduced a 12-month safety monitoring program. Until now, training for semi-truck drivers has not been mandatory in the province.
In fact, Ontario is the only province of Canada that has truck driver training laws, with a minimum of 103.5 hours of training needed. Hargrave says Ontario’s model served as inspiration for Saskatchewan’s program, although some changes were made. The number of minimum hours is higher, while Saskatchewan also makes air-brake training mandatory.
The province began work on its program in 2017 as part of an agreement amongst western provinces. Alberta has created its own similar program, using a standardized learning base for new commercial truck and bus drivers, which will be introduced March 1.
In Saskatchewan, Susan Ewart, executive director with the Saskatchewan Trucking Association, says the new laws are welcome:
“Having mandatory entry-level training will increase that base set of knowledge and skill when they hire someone at a trucking company,” she said.