Frequently asked questions — MELT

Mandatory entry-level training (MELT) is being introduced for drivers who wish to obtain a Class 1 commercial B.C. driver's licence. Drivers will need to successfully complete a MELT course before taking their Class 1 road test.

About Mandatory Entry Level Training (MELT)

What training will be part of the B.C. Class 1 MELT course?

B.C.'s Class 1 MELT course includes practical in-yard training, on-highway driving and theoretical learning components.

There is a focus on National Safety Code compliance for commercial vehicle safety, hours of service requirements, load securement, and other fundamentals like air brakes and professional on-highway driving skills.

The B.C. Class 1 MELT course emphasizes safe operating practices for B.C.'s mountainous geography and diverse climate conditions, and highlights the unique driving conditions that can occur in other jurisdictions.

Refer to the Curriculum Framework for details.

How long is the B.C. Class 1 MELT course?

The course is 140 hours, and includes air brake training as well as 6 hours of mandatory flexible practical training. A detailed B.C. Class 1 MELT Curriculum Framework is available on dtcbc.com.

Students should complete the training in accordance with the schedules set by ICBC-approved driver training schools or institutes that offer the course.

Students are required to complete the B.C. Class 1 MELT course within 12 months from the date of enrolment, but it is expected students will complete the course in a much shorter timeframe.

Driver training schools and MELT

Who will deliver the B.C. Class 1 MELT course?

Driver training schools and driver training instructors who are licensed by ICBC to provide Class 1 driver training will deliver B.C.'s Class 1 MELT course, providing the driver training school is authorized to deliver the B.C. Class 1 MELT course. Instructors must take the B.C. Class 1 MELT orientation course to become authorized to teach.

How can driver training schools, driver training institutes and instructor training facilities become authorized to deliver B.C.'s Class 1 MELT course?

The model will be similar to what is in place for the ICBC-approved GLP course and will require the driver training school or instructor training facility to enter into an agreement with ICBC to deliver all theory and practical components of B.C.'s Class 1 MELT course (theoretical, in-yard and on-road).

ICBC will provide the B.C. Class 1 MELT Curriculum Framework and supporting training materials on dtcbc.com for schools, facilities and instructors who will be delivering B.C.'s Class 1 MELT course. Members of the public can find information on icbc.com.

Will ICBC be making any changes to the Class 1 road test?

No. The length of the Class 1 road test booking time and how the test is marked will remain the same. The road test will continue to consist of

  • vehicle pre-trip
  • air brake pre-trip, and
  • practical on-road test.

Applicants must use a vehicle for the road test that is a tandem or tridem rear axle semi-truck or tractor towing a loaded tandem or tridem rear axle trailer. Both the tractor and trailer must have air brakes.

If an applicant is using a fifth wheel trailer, the overall trailer length must be at least 12.19 m (40 feet). If the applicant is using a pintle hitch trailer, it must have an overall length of at least 7.5 m (24.6 feet). The tractor and trailer combination, including load, must weigh at least 28,000 kgs GVW.

What do these changes mean for commercial driver training schools that offer air brake training for all driver's licence classes?

There are no changes to the current 16-hour air brake course or 20-hour air brake certification course. If you are a commercial driver training school or air brake training school or certification facility that offers these courses, you may continue to do so.

Refer to the FAQ, "What about drivers who want to apply for an air brake endorsement on a Class 2, 3, 4, or 5/7 driver's licence. What are the air brake training options?" under Class 1 driver's licence applicants and MELT.

I am a small school and only provide practical driver training. Can I offer only part of the MELT training?

No. A student must complete the whole BC Class 1 MELT course at a single driver training school.

However, driving schools who wish to offer a BC Class 1 MELT course, but who may have an insufficient number of licensed practical or theoretical Class 1 driver training instructors may enter into a contractual agreement to employ a driver training instructor from another driving school.

If you require more information, reach out to your driving school inspector.

Will the minimum security amounts that a driver training school or instructor training facility must hold be increased if they will be delivering a Class 1 MELT course?

No. At this time, the security amounts (bonds) the driver training industry is required to maintain under Division 27 of the Motor Vehicle Act Regulations will remain the same.

B.C. requires higher bond amounts than other Canadian jurisdictions with a MELT program. ICBC will monitor whether there is a need to increase the security amounts required to be held by the driver training industry.

Will there be a maximum number of hours specified for a MELT program?

The B.C. Class 1 MELT course is aimed at entry-level training for new Class 1 drivers and requires that schools teach the approved curriculum in alignment with the minimum hours required.

However, some new Class 1 drivers may wish to complete a more comprehensive professional-level training course.

Driver training schools may deliver a more comprehensive professional-level Class 1 driver training course, providing the program is reviewed and approved by ICBC and is found to contain all of the core curriculum requirements of B.C.'s Class 1 MELT course.

Is there going to be a requirement for manual or automatic transmissions during the B.C. Class 1 MELT course and for the ICBC road test?

At the discretion of the student, up to 10 hours of practical on-road training may take place in a vehicle with an automatic or automated transmission. However, the remainder of the training must take place in a vehicle with a manual transmission. Manual transmission vehicles must have a minimum 13-speed transmission.

The student may choose to attempt the ICBC Class 1 road test using a minimum manual 13-speed transmission or automatic/automated transmission vehicle. If a student qualifies on the ICBC Class 1 road test with an automatic or automated transmission vehicle, they will be issued a driver's licence restricting them to Class 1 commercial vehicles with an automatic transmission.

I understand this requirement will not take effect until October 18, 2021, but can I enrol students in a B.C. Class 1 MELT course before that date?

ICBC is working with driver training schools and instructors to ensure that schools can begin to teach the Class 1 MELT course prior to October 18, 2021. It's expected that driving schools will transition at different times, but ICBC will work with the industry to ensure a fair roll-out to all schools who want to deliver the MELT course.

ICBC will work with the driver training industry to orient them to the new curriculum so they can begin teaching in early summer 2021. More information on the curriculum will be provided by ICBC on dtcbc.com.

I have students who are in the process of completing a B.C. Class 1 training course. How will this change affect them?

The government is making this announcement well in advance of October 18, 2021 so that those who are in the process of completing a Class 1 driver training course can complete their training and still have a reasonable amount of time to qualify on an ICBC Class 1 road test.

While ICBC is also publicly communicating these changes early, it's important for Class 1 driver training schools and instructors to make sure their students are aware of the changes so they can help students plan accordingly in the transition.

ICBC will not be increasing the availability of Class 1 road test bookings for schools leading up to October 18, 2021.

If a student chooses to enrol in a Class 1 driver training course that is not an approved B.C. Class 1 MELT course, they will not be able to attempt the Class 1 road test on or after October 18, 2021.

Can my students confirm their medical fitness to be eligible to hold a B.C. Class 1 driver's licence before they enrol in a MELT course?

Applicants must declare any known or suspected medical conditions prior to applying for a Class 1 driver's licence. Your students may be issued a Driver's Medical Examination Report (DMER) earlier in the application process depending on their declaration.

A person will generally be issued a DMER, to be completed by a physician, once they have qualified on the Class 1 road test. We understand that some drivers will want to ensure they can meet the driver fitness requirements defined by the National Safety Code prior to enrolling in the B.C. Class 1 MELT course.

If your student has concerns over their fitness and ability to hold a Class 1 driver's licence, they may request to be issued a Class 1 DMER at an ICBC driver licensing office before enrolling in the MELT course. It will be important for these applicants to complete the form within the required timeframe and ensure it is returned to the Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles at RoadSafetyBC to avoid negative impacts to their current class of driver's licence.

Applicants must keep in mind that if they request a Class 1 DMER from an ICBC driver licensing office and then change their mind about making a Class 1 driver's licence application, they'll need to contact RoadSafetyBC to have the DMER cancelled to avoid cancellation of their current class of driver's licence.

Air brake schools and MELT

Can air brake only instructors take the Melt Orientation Course (MOC)?

No, a Class 1 Instructor license is a prerequisite for the MOC as it's a reduced-length course accounting for the experience of current Class 1 instructors.

Air brake instructors are not required to have their Class 1 instructor licence, but they are limited to only providing instruction for the MELT air brake theory module.

I'm an air brake certification facility – will the introduction of MELT affect me?

If an airbrake facility would like to offer its instructors to teach the airbrake portion of MELT, they and their instructors would need to be contracted to the school offering that program, be on the school's instructor list and meet all air brake instructor requirements to teach MELT theory or practical air brake instruction.

Air brake only instructors teaching MELT air brake theory will be required to hold a GLT designation or take the free AIT course.

Driver training instructors and MELT

How long will the training take to become re-certified as a Class 1 instructor?

We recognize that our partners need to plan their training schedules well in advance and are aiming to make sure the re-certification process for existing Class 1 instructors is done in a reasonable timeframe before the program takes effect.

At the same time, it's important that a consistent and high standard of training is maintained for B.C.'s Class 1 MELT course, regardless of who is delivering the training. To ensure a consistent level and quality of MELT course delivery, we will be re-certifying the Class 1 licence designations of existing Class 1 instructors through the following:

  1. MELT Orientation Course (MOC) training
    • Required by instructors teaching any component of MELT
    • 2.5 days (7 x 2.5 hour) sessions that will be delivered virtually on zoom
  2. Approved Instructor Theory (AIT) training
    • Required by instructors teaching MELT theoretical components
    • Not required for instructors with a current GLT designation
    • 5-day sessions delivered virtually

What is AIT? Do I need to take it if I have GLT?

Instructors wishing to also teach MELT theory content will be required to complete the ICBC Approved Instructor Theory Course (AIT), formerly called the Graduated Licensing Theory Course (GLT). You will not have to take the AIT if you already have a GLT designation.

Do I need to take AIT if I hold a Provincial Instructor Diploma (PID)?

A Class 1 or air brake instructor who holds a Provincial Instructor Diploma should contact their local driving school inspector.

How and when will instructor training on the new MELT program be provided?

It is anticipated that training for instructors will commence May 2021, and will be available through online sessions at various dates and times.

Specific details and registration information will be communicated by ICBC, by email and on dtcbc.com.

How much will I have to pay to become re-certified as a Class 1 instructor?

Existing Class 1 instructors will be given the opportunity to re-certify for the practical and theory MELT designations at no charge during the transition phase to the new B.C. Class 1 MELT framework.

If you are a Class 1 instructor who is not interested in providing B.C. Class 1 MELT instruction, you may choose to deliver other Class 1 training outside the MELT program, but to maintain your Class 1 instructor designation you will be required to re-certify as a Class 1 instructor by completing the free training during the transition phase.

Existing Class 1 instructors who do not wish to re-certify by completing the MOC training will be downgraded to a Class 2/3/4 driver training instructor designation.

I'm in the process of becoming a Class 1 driver training instructor. Will I have to pay for training to become a Class 1 MELT instructor?

If you have completed all of the pre-requisite training and meet all of the qualifications to become a Class 1 driver training instructor, you may be eligible to enrol in the free MOC during the transition phase.

Learn more about the basic requirements to becoming a driver training instructor for theoretical and practical instruction.

I'm interested in becoming a Class 1 driver training instructor. What is the process now that the standard for drivers has been raised along with the standard of instruction?

All applicants for a B.C. Class 1 driver training instructor licence must successfully complete their current Class 1 MELT instructor training course and the MOC.

Learn more about the basic requirements to becoming a driver training instructor for theoretical and practical instruction.

Will there be an in person component to the MOC or AIT for Class 1 Instructors who must re-certify to maintain their designation?

No. Due to COVID-19, we will not be conducting in person MOC or AIT sessions for driver training instructors. ICBC's Driver Training Industry Support will evaluate a school's MELT course delivery virtually at roll-out and, when safe to do so, in person.

What courses will existing instructors require in order to teach MELT?

MELT instructor training requirements
MOC = MELT orientation course
AIT = approved instructor theory course*
*The AIT course is not required for instructors that currently hold a GLT designation.

Class 1 driver's licence applicants and MELT

Who is eligible to enrol in a B.C. Class 1 MELT course?

To enrol in MELT, a person must be 19 years of age and hold an ICBC issued Class 1 learner's driver's licence (LDL).

They must

  • meet all commercial driver record pre-screening requirements if applicable
  • qualify on required knowledge testing, and
  • be able to meet driver medical fitness requirements and Class 1 vision standards.

Who will be required to complete MELT?

Effective October 18, 2021, a person applying for a new B.C. Class 1 driver's licence must successfully complete the B.C. Class 1 MELT course before attempting a Class 1 road test.

How much will the B.C. Class 1 MELT course cost?

Cost is an important factor for new Class 1 drivers. The driver training school industry may set their own competitive price for the cost of the training, which will likely vary from school to school and allow choice for consumers.

Will there be any provincial funding available for drivers to take this program?

A number of government programs exist to assist with the training costs, and to support new Class 1 drivers entering the commercial trucking industry moving forward. These include:

  • Community Workforce Response Grant
  • Skill Enhancement Training Grant
  • Indigenous Skills Training Development Fund, and
  • BC Employer Training Grant.

To determine eligibility and how to access funding, Class 1 applicants may go to https://gov.bc.ca/vehiclesafety/training-grant.

Will there be any exemptions for drivers who want to enter a specific sector of the trucking industry?

No. As in the other Canadian provinces with a Class 1 MELT requirement, B.C. will not provide sector specific exemptions for drivers who require a Class 1 driver's licence to operate within an industry.

This aligns with feedback from the B.C. trucking industry and driver training industry that basic entry-level training is necessary to operate heavy vehicles that require a Class 1 driver's licence. This is necessary for road safety reasons regardless of what industry a driver is operating in, where they may be operating, or how frequently they are operating.

Will ICBC be adding more Class 1 road test appointments before the changes take place?

No. ICBC will not be increasing the number of Class 1 road test appointments available. Government has made the announcement of this new program requirement well in advance of October 18, 2021 to allow individuals currently enrolled in a training program to have a reasonable amount of time to book and complete a Class 1 road test before the changes take effect.

It's important for Class 1 driver training schools and instructors to make sure their students are aware of the changes so they can help students plan for their road test accordingly in the transition.

Can a driver who just got their Class 1 learner driver's licence be able to get a road test before the Class 1 MELT course is required on October 18, 2021?

There is no guarantee that those who got their Class 1 learner driver's licence after March 31, 2021, will receive a Class 1 road test appointment before October 18, 2021.

Drivers that are unable to obtain a Class 1 road test appointment before this date, may wish to consider completing the Class 1 MELT course before it becomes a requirement on October 18, 2021.

Will there be any changes to the air brake training requirements for Class 1 driver's licence applicants during the transition phase to MELT?

Currently, all applicants for an air brake endorsement take a 16-hour air brake course and are issued an air brake course card before taking an ICBC air brake knowledge test. This includes those applying for a Class 1 driver's licence with an air brake endorsement.

While the B.C. Class 1 MELT course contains all air brake training that a Class 1 driver's licence applicant must complete before taking the ICBC air brake knowledge test, there is no requirement to take this course prior to October 18, 2021.

Drivers enroling in a Class 1 MELT course prior to October 18, 2021, may complete the 9-hour air brake theory component of the Class 1 MELT course instead of the 16-hour air brake course to be eligible to take the ICBC air brake knowledge test.

In either case, an air brake course card will be issued and the knowledge test may be taken, up to a maximum of three attempts. If unsuccessful, the 9-hour MELT air brake theory course component (or the 16-hour course) will need repeating and the course card will note which air brake theory course was completed.

What about drivers who want to apply for an air brake endorsement on a Class 2, 3, 4, or 5/7 driver's licence. What are the brake training options?

Applicants for an air brake endorsement may continue to complete the 16-hour air brake course and be issued an air brake course card before taking an ICBC air brake knowledge test. An air brake course card provides three attempts on the knowledge test.

However, during the transition phase to B.C.'s Class 1 MELT course, a driver may complete the 9-hour MELT air brake theory course component instead of the 16-hour course. The 9-hour MELT air brake theory course component is recognized as equivalent to the 16-hour course. The driver will be issued an air brake course card limited to three attempts on the knowledge test. If unsuccessful, they will have to repeat the 9-hour MELT air brake theory course component (or the 16 hour course) and be issued a new course card. The course card will note which air brake theory course was completed.

It is important to note that enroling in the 9-hour MELT air brake theory course component, means they are not eligible to complete the 4-hour practical air brake certification. They will be required to complete an air brake pre-trip with ICBC.

Therefore, if they intend to follow the air brake certification pathway, they must enrol in the current 16-hour air brake course and complete the 4-hour practical course and assessment.

ICBC support for MELT

How will ICBC communicate to the public, which driver training schools will offer the B.C. Class 1 MELT course?

A list of driver training schools approved to deliver B.C.'s Class 1 MELT course will be made available on dtcbc.com in mid-June 2021, once school instructors have had a chance to become trained to deliver the MELT course.

What MELT resources will ICBC provide schools?

Driver training schools will use the ICBC MELT resource materials, developed in partnership with the commercial trucking and driver training industry. ICBC will provide the following to driver training schools that deliver the Class 1 MELT course:

  • Curriculum Framework — Class 1 MELT course standards and learning outcomes
  • Student Guide — Class 1 course content and additional information for student reference
  • Classroom Lesson Plans — guide for teaching, including tips and activities
  • Practical Lesson Plans — guide for teaching, including tips and checklists
  • Practical Assessment Forms — assessments for practical activities
  • Theoretical Assessment Forms — assessments for classroom and theoretical activities
  • Other course forms and handouts.

Is B.C. adapting another jurisdiction's existing training program?

B.C.'s Class 1 MELT course and program requirements align with the Class 1 MELT programs of other Canadian provinces, while being tailored to B.C.'s challenging topography and changing regional climates.

Did the driver trainings schools have any input into the curriculum?

Yes. To support development of the curriculum, ICBC and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure partnered with the driver training industry and truck transport industry to ensure their expertise and insights contributed to the B.C. Class 1 MELT program.

Which provincial body will be responsible for managing B.C.'s MELT course?

ICBC is the regulator of B.C's driver training industry, which includes the province's driver training schools, driver training instructors and instructor training facilities.

ICBC is also responsible for delivering provincial driver licensing requirements in B.C. As the Class 1 MELT course will become a pre-requisite to applying for a Class 1 driver's licence on October 18, 2021, it makes sense for ICBC to manage oversight and delivery of the overall MELT program requirements.

ICBC has the authority to review the MELT programs of other Canadian jurisdictions to confirm the program, and a driver who has completed the program, meets B.C.'s minimum training requirements for exemption from the B.C. Class 1 MELT course.

Will mandatory training for other commercial driver's licence classes be introduced?

At this time, B.C. is only introducing mandatory training for Class 1 drivers who are authorized to operate all commercial vehicle types and passenger vehicles.

Alignment across Canada

Will other Canadian Class 1 MELT courses be recognized in B.C.?

B.C. will recognize the full Class 1 MELT courses from Alberta*, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario* to support driver licensing reciprocity among Canadian jurisdictions and limit financial and employment barriers for citizens who move to B.C.

A driver who can demonstrate they already completed a Class 1 MELT course in another Canadian province, will not be required to complete the B.C. Class 1 MELT course, with some exceptions:

  • *Ontario — While B.C. will recognize the Ontario Class A MELT course, these drivers must complete a mandatory B.C. air brake course and pass an air brake pre-trip test before being issued a B.C. Class 1 driver's licence on or after October 18 2021.
  • *Alberta — Class 1 drivers who completed Alberta's Class 1 MELT course of 121.5 hours will not have to complete B.C.'s Class 1 MELT course on or after October 18, 2021. However, if the driver only completed Alberta's Class 1 "experience and equivalency" course, they'll be required to complete B.C.'s full Class 1 MELT course. In either case, Alberta Class 1 drivers applying for a B.C. Class 1 driver's licence must provide their Alberta Notice of Course Completion form or other verification document from Alberta's Ministry of Transportation to confirm which Alberta Class 1 MELT course was completed.

Why do Ontario Class A drivers who are applying for a B.C. Class 1 driver's licence have to take additional training for air brakes in B.C.?

The air brake system on a tractor-trailer vehicle is a foundational component of the vehicle configuration and lack of knowledge on how this system works and how to check for proper brake adjustment poses a significant road safety risk for all road users.

While some driver may have taken air brake training in Ontario, it's not mandatory for Class A drivers as part of the Ontario MELT course or as a stand-alone course.

Under the National Safety Code, the entry-level training standard for Class 1 drivers requires air brake training as part of any Canadian jurisdiction's mandatory training of Class 1 drivers because of the safety risk of inadequately maintained brakes, especially in mountainous regions of a province.

B.C.'s Class 1 MELT course will contain a comprehensive air brake portion in alignment with the national entry-level training standard and based on recommendations from industry consultations .

Will those who completed mandatory commercial driver training in another country receive any credit or be exempt from B.C.'s Class 1 MELT course?

No. Consistent with most other Canadian provinces with a Class 1 MELT course, B.C. will not provide advanced standing or credit toward completion of training done in another country.

The quality and content of training programs from jurisdictions outside of Canada cannot be verified to ensure that each one meets the same standards required under the entry-level training framework in the Canadian National Safety Code, or in B.C.'s Class 1 MELT course.