The Government of Alberta is reducing the requirement for Class 2 licensees to complete Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) in an effort to address the school bus driver shortage.

Drivers must still obtain the S endorsement on their licence if they will be driving a school bus. The S endorsement will be added after they successfully complete the school bus driver improvement program, which consists of classroom training, practical training, and knowledge assessments.

“Alberta is an outlier on requiring MELT for Class 2 licences, as no other province or territory in Canada requires it for their bus drivers. Removing this requirement will make it easier for Albertans to obtain their Class 2 licence if they are able to demonstrate the required knowledge and skills during the knowledge and road test,” Minister of Transportation and Economic Corridor Devin Dreeshen said.

These changes will go into effect on April 23. Drivers need the correct class of driver’s licence for the type of school bus they will drive, which is decided by its designed seating capacity. Class 2 drivers can drive all school buses, while class 4 is restricted to buses that can set up to 24 passengers. 

By the end of April, Class 2 and Class 4 school bus drivers will have access to a new voluntary on-the-job training program to assist them in developing the abilities necessary to run a school bus safely. Drivers will gain practical experience using tools in their workplace and dealing with situations that arise in the course of their work. 

Both training programs (Class 1 and Class 2 licensees) will begin this year and are focused on helping alleviate labour shortages in key areas of the commercial driving industry within Alberta.

On March 1, 2019, MELT became a new licensing requirement for Class 1 and Class 2 drivers in Alberta. As of March 31, 2022, there were 147,134 Class 1 drivers and 24,699 Class 2 drivers in Alberta.

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