Saskatchewan residents looking to obtain a Class 1 licence will have to undergo mandatory training starting next spring and are now under a more watchful eye for the first year of driving. The Government of Saskatchewan announced that starting March 15, 2019, drivers seeking a Class 1 commercial licence will have to complete a minimum of 121.5 hours of training.
Minister Responsible for SGI Joe Hargrave, has said the changes have been in the works since mid-2017. “Our ongoing consultations with other provinces have helped address gaps and inconsistencies when commercial drivers cross provincial borders. Stronger training requirements in Saskatchewan and across Canada will help make our province’s and our nation’s roads safer,” said Hargrave.
The new training will include a mix of classroom instruction, in the yard and behind the wheel, focusing on basic driving techniques, professional driving habits, vehicle inspections and air brakes.
Currently in Saskatchewan, SGI strongly recommends Class 1 Driver Training, however it is not regulated or mandatory. Those who hold a Class 5 licence that would like to upgrade to a Class 1 need to pass five exams including, basic knowledge, sign exam, endorsement exam, vision test and trip inspection, however if successful the applicant would then be awarded a Class 1 licence without any further training required.
Those who already hold a Class 1 licence will be grandfathered in, and drivers who operate semi’s for farm use will need to successfully obtain an “F” endorsement on their existing driver’s licence and will be restricted to driving solely within the province.
Additionally, SGI is implementing a 12-month safety monitoring program effective immediately for all new semi drivers. The program will provide increased monitoring for semi drivers in their first year of operating the commercial vehicle. This will allow SGI to take remedial action if safety concerns arise.
SGI stated on their website that mandatory training for Class 1 drivers is a movement across both the United States and Canada with Ontario implementing their own training program on July 1, 2017.
After Saskatchewan’s program is implemented in the spring, it will also be mandatory that prospective drivers must take their road test with SGI examiners only.