Unemployed Albertans have an opportunity to start careers as commercial truck drivers through the extension of the Driving Back to Work Grant Program (DBTW). In addition, unemployed Albertans can access funding to take the Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program to earn a Class 1 work grant driver’s license.

This grant will help fill an expected shortage of commercial drivers, forecast to be more than 12% by 2023, putting the province’s supply chain at risk. In addition, this grant supports Alberta’s Recovery Plan.

The program’s objective is to help more Albertans become Class 1 drivers. This will help support the economy by keeping the province’s supply chain open by ensuring many Class 1 drivers are available.

The Driving Back to Work Grant is administered by Ballad Consulting Group and driver training schools and is financially supported by the Government of Alberta.

Class 1 work Grant Requirements

You must complete the following by March 31, 2022, to get a Class 1 driver’s license:

  • Air Brake Program
  • Air Brake Knowledge Test
  • Class 1 Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) Program
  • Class 1 MELT Knowledge Test
  • Class 1 MELT Road Test

Mandatory training for new Class 1 commercial drivers will result in safer, more highly skilled drivers working in the truck and bus industries.

Drivers seeking a Class 1 (tractor-trailer) must complete Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) to apply for their commercial driver’s license.

  • Training includes a government-mandated number of training hours for in-class, in-yard, and in-vehicle modules.
  • Standardized curriculums are taught at all licensed Alberta driver training schools.

To confirm that you are medically eligible to apply for a Class 1 work grant driver’s license, it is recommended that you complete a medical assessment through a physician or nurse practitioner before participating in the MELT program. Medical forms are available from an Alberta registry agent, Alberta physician, or nurse practitioner. Medical forms can only be approved by a registry agent or Alberta Transportation’s Driver Fitness and Monitoring.

Funding Highlights as below:

Grant recipients will receive one-time funding for the eligible candidates:

  • Air Brake Program
  • Class 1 Mandatory Entry-Level Training
  • vehicle rental and use of the yard for the Class 1 Road Test(s)
  • maximum of 2 Driver’s road tests

For subsequent training and testing attempts, recipients cannot reapply for the class 1 work grant.

You are required to cover the costs of:

  • an Alberta driver’s medical examination report
  • an Air Brake Knowledge Test
  • the Class 1 Knowledge Test

Funding is distributed directly to the driver training school providing the driver training.

Therefore, grant recipients do not receive any funding directly.

Training requirements

The new standards require drivers seeking a Class 1 work grant license to take 121.5 hours of training.

That includes a minimum of 47 classroom hours, 17.5 hours in the yard, and 57 hours behind the wheel. Training will focus on priority curriculum areas:

  • basic driving techniques
  • professional driving habits
  • vehicle inspections
  • air brakes

Requirements were determined through consultation with other provinces, industry partners, driver instructors, and commercial trucking stakeholders.

A Class 1 work grant driver’s license allows you to drive almost any vehicle other than a motorcycle, which requires a Class 6 license. This license offers the most career options, including commercial truck drivers, haulers, delivery, etc.