VICTORIA – B.C. is supporting transitioning military personnel and retired veterans as they transfer their truck driving credentials to commercial licences by removing any requirement for additional testing, announced Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone.
“This will provide transitioning military personnel and recently retired veterans with a marketable qualification and new career opportunities in the commercial trucking industry,” said Stone. “We are happy to help current and retired Canadian Forces members continue to use their well-earned commercial driving skills once they decide to leave the military, and this initiative will also help fill the growing labour shortage in this industry.”
A newly signed agreement by the B.C. government, ICBC, and the Department of National Defence (DND) will provide civilian commercial accreditation for the equivalent military driver qualifications provided by the DND. This change will go into effect as of Jan. 25, 2016.
By removing this hurdle for military personnel and veterans, B.C. is joining other provinces by endorsing an important initiative spearheaded by the national non-profit group, Helmets to Hardhats Canada. Previously, Canadian Forces members were unable to transfer their truck driving credentials when they left their military careers and entered into civilian life.
“By transferring over commercial driving credentials from the military base to B.C. roads, this will save time and will cut unnecessary requalification processes for military personnel and retired veterans who already are fully trained in commercial driving,” said Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction Coralee Oakes. “This program is being introduced as a part of Red Tape Reduction Week because it cuts through red tape and makes the transition from military to civilian life simpler.”
“British Columbia has a long and proud military history, and this agreement complements our strong support for military personnel, veterans, and their families,” said Minister of Natural Gas Development, Minister Responsible for Housing, and Military Liaison with the Canadian Armed Forces Rich Coleman. “Our troops have sacrificed so much for Canada, and we are grateful for their service. When they decide to enter civilian life, we want to help them make the transition into good, well-paying jobs to support their families.”
The Conference Board of Canada has estimated that Canada could experience a labour shortage of 25,000 to 33,000 trained and qualified truck drivers by 2020. The introduction of this initiative will directly address labour shortages in the commercial trucking industry. At the same time, this important step will help veterans transition into civilian life and will help create more economic stability for them.
“Military members transitioning out of the Canadian Armed Forces into civilian life can face many challenges as they seek out new employment. Today’s announcement by the B.C. government and ICBC eliminates one of those key hurdles for many of our current and former serving members,” said Rear Admiral Gilles Couturier, commander Maritime Forces Pacific. “I thank the Province of British Columbia, the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, and Helmets to Hardhats for working so closely with us to support the men and women who serve, by recognizing the military driver’s license as a valid professional qualification in the province.”
This agreement will allow retired and active members with a Department of National Defence driver’s licence to obtain an equivalent B.C. commercial licence (class 1, 2, 3 or 4). This streamlined approach will allow applicants with prior Department of National Defence credentials to drive semi-tractors, large trucks, buses and limousines. To further support military driver transition, B.C. will also issue class 5 or 7 passenger vehicle licences without additional testing to drivers with equivalent DND credentials.
“We’re pleased to partner with Department of National Defence to make it easier for qualified Canadian Forces members to obtain commercial driver licences while still ensuring the safety of B.C. roads,” said Mark Blucher, ICBC’s president and CEO. “We’ll continue to look for opportunities to make it easier for our customers to get the services they need from ICBC.”
This program is being introduced during Red Tape Reduction Week (Jan. 18-22, 2016). The Province is a leader in reducing red tape and making services easier to access and simpler to use for citizens. For the fifth year in a row, the B.C. government has received an “A” in red tape reduction from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business – the only province in Canada to receive an “A”.
Helmets to Hardhats Canada is focused on providing members of the Canadian Armed forces with opportunities for apprenticeship training with excellent wages and benefits, in Canada’s unionized building, construction and maintenance industries.