What you need to know before starting a career in trucking
It can be confusing trying to understand all the requirements and options available when it comes to licensing, testing, and training in Ontario. Whether you are just starting your career, or are looking for a new path, we hope this guide will help to make the path clear for your exciting new endeavour to become a commercial truck driver.
Did you know there are seven different classes of commercial licences in Ontario? Each class qualifies you to drive a particular type of vehicle. Keep in mind that you need to have a Class G licence before you can be licensed to drive any other type of vehicle.
There are two commercial truck driver’s licences in Ontario: Class A (full or restricted) and Class D. Drivers must be at least 18 years of age to apply for these higher licenses.
There’s a full and restricted Class A. The full Class A vehicle configuration includes any combination of truck/trailer with a gross weight of at least 4,600 kg. There is a full air brake system on both the truck/trailer. In order to have your full Class A license, drivers need to take a mandatory entry-level training course before taking a road test.
Restricted Class A configuration has the same weight configuration as Class A. The only difference is the trailer is not equipped with air brakes. Typically this class is meant for drivers operating smaller truck-trailer combinations, like a recreational vehicle, horse or utility trailer, such as those used by construction, landscaping and roofing companies, and boat hauling organizations.
There is no mandatory entry-level training for a Restricted Class A licence, but training programs offer drivers and employers the confidence and skills necessary to handle a pickup truck and trailer safely and efficiently. If you have the Restricted Class A licence and want to upgrade to a full Class A licence, you will have to complete the mandatory training and take a road test in a full Class A vehicle.
Class D is for lighter trucks. It covers motor vehicles exceeding 11,000 kilograms gross weight or registered gross weight or any truck or combination (provided the towed vehicle is not over 4,600 kilograms).
Driving a commercial vehicle is a big responsibility, and drivers need to ensure they are healthy to safely perform this job. That’s why drivers need to meet certain health standards before getting their license. This includes having a medical report completed by a doctor or nurse practitioner, plus taking a vision and hearing test.
People with certain medical conditions may not be eligible for a commercial truck driver license because those conditions may allow a driver to lose control of the vehicle. To find out about the medical, vision and hearing standards for commercial drivers in Ontario, visit the Ontario Ministry of Transportation website.
Training provides drivers with the techniques and information they need to handle powerful equipment. Formal classroom training combined with practical, hands-on training gives students the skills and confidence to prepare them for the road. To see the range of courses available at Modern Training, visit moderntraining.com/training-programs.
After drivers pass the vision and medical tests, they need to put their knowledge and experience to the test. There is a written knowledge test required prior to beginning in-truck training, and then a road test drivers must pass to demonstrate their operating knowledge of large trucks and tractor trailers.
The road test includes:
- Demonstrating a daily inspection, including naming the item of equipment checked and briefly describing its condition.
- Driving in traffic and handling the vehicle safely.
- Class A applicants also need to demonstrate uncoupling, coupling, and backing (reversing) of the units of the combination vehicle.
Obtaining a commercial license in Ontario involves two steps:
Air Brake Endorsement (Z) applies to the following license classes: B – C – D. This is a prerequisite for these Classes of License as the vehicles are equipped with air brakes.
- Book a two-day Air Brake course. This is a prerequisite for Class B – C – D.
- Modern Training offers courses three to four times a month with weekend and midweek dates.
- A full listing of dates is available on our website under ‘Upcoming Courses’ moderntraining.com/upcoming-courses.
- The course is date specific and requires pre-registration.
For Class B – C – D – E – F Training.
- An MTO Medical form will be required to be completed by a doctor. This can be done at any walk-in clinic or family Doctor. This is not covered by OHIP and there will be a fee to have this done.
- Once completed take the form to any Drive Test Centre and complete the Class Knowledge test for the class of license you are applying for. The fee for this will be $122.75. The fee covers: written test, road test and licensing fee.
- Once you have successfully passed the License Class knowledge test, you are eligible to register for your desired training program.
- Contact Modern Training to complete the registration process and schedule your Road Test and In-Vehicle Training.
For more information on getting your truck driver’s license in Ontario, visit the MTO website and review the Official MTO Truck Handbook. If you have any questions about Modern Training’s courses, start dates, or requirements, we are always happy to help! At Modern Training, we’re committed to helping our students achieve their goals and excel in their new career.