Alberta farmers are getting more time to comply with changes to obtaining a Class 1 license coming into effect Friday, March 1.

Earlier this month, Team Alberta, which is made up of four provincial crop commissions, expressed concern over the fast approaching deadline.

Under the new rules, anyone who wants to obtain a Class 1 license will need to complete over 100 hours of training through the Mandatory Entry Level Training Program (MELT).

The government says farmers now have until March 1, 2020 to comply with the new training requirements.

This announcements follows Team Alberta's request for an extended deadline because of concern over the timing of the new rules and how it could impact farmer's ability to hire properly trained and licensed drivers prior to seeding the 2019 crop.

The group was worried about the unintended consequences this would having on farming operations dependent on seasonal labour for planting.

"This is extremely good news for farmers,” Alberta Canola Vice-Chair, Kevin Serfas said in a release on Wednesday. “By accommodating the agriculture industry’s unique needs, we've avoided significant challenges that would have hurt our ability to seed this year’s crop. We appreciate the Ministry’s support on this issue."

Eligible farmers and farm workers can apply to Alberta Transportation for the MELT deadline extension between March 15 and November 30, 2019.

These successful applications must get their Class 1 by November 30, 2019.

The Government says the applicants wanting to retain their Class 1 for future farming seasons will be required to complete the enhanced Class 1 knowledge and road tests based on the new MELT curriculum before March 1, 2020.

For more information, you can visit the Alberta Transportation website.


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