A local commercial driving school is concerned that new Class 1 requirements will make getting a license harder. The new requirements include 121.5 hours of training for Class 1 licenses.

“I thought maybe it was about 70 hours,” says Ron Courtepatte of Border City Driving School. “It’s getting to the point where it’s getting harder for any person to get a Class 1.”

Starting March 15 2019 the province will implement these changes for those seeking a Class 1 license. All existing Class 1 licenses will be grandfathered into the new requirements.

While he advocates for more driver training, Courtepatte calls 121.5 hours “overkill”. However, Courtepatte says that safety monitoring should have already been done by the companies employing semi truck drivers.

“I think that the employers that hire these guys should be training them, and that should be for a good year.”

On top of these training requirements, a 12-month safety monitoring program is effective immediately for all new semi truck drivers. This is in addition to any existing monitoring for new drivers to address any safety concerns.

Operating semi trucks for farm operations will be exempted, and only require a license with an “F” endorsement if they do not already have a Class 1. Saskatchewan General Insurance (SGI) will also take over road tests. The Government of Saskatchewan says the changes make roads safer for all drivers.

“Saskatchewan has been working to improve standards for training curriculum and driver testing for semi drivers since mid-2017,” Minister Responsible for SGI Joe Hargrave says. “Stronger training requirements in Saskatchewan and across Canada will help make our province’s and our nation’s roads safer.”

The changes follow a similar move made by Alberta in October as a response to the Humboldt Broncos bus crash.