The owner of a Calgary-based trucking company involved in a deadly crash with the Humboldt Broncos team bus this past April has been charged by the province.

16 people were killed and 13 others injured when a truck from Adesh Deol Trucking and the team’s bus crashed on a rural highway in Saskatchewan on April 6.

Sukhmander Singh, the man who owned the company, is charged with eight violations of provincial and federal safety regulations, including failing to maintain logs for driver’s hours of service, failure to monitor the compliance of a driver under safety regulations, having more than one log for any day and failing to possess a written safety program.

Alberta’s Minister of Transportation Brian Mason announced the charges at the same time that the province unveiled plans to introduce mandatory entry-level training (MELT) for new Class 1 and Class 2 commercial drivers next year.

“We’ll be introducing some changes that will significantly enhance safety in the commercial trucking industry. As of March 1, 2019 all drivers will be required to take MELT in order to obtain their Class 1 and Class 2 driver’s licences.”

He says that the Humboldt Broncos crash really sharpened the focus of their work to enhance safety rules.

“The Humboldt crash really brought home to all of us, and this is the same discussion I’ve had with Ministers of Transportation across Western Canada, for all of us it was a real call to action.”

The program will include a certain number of hours of classroom and in-vehicle training and drivers will need to pass an enhanced road test before they can go out on the road.

It’s not just drivers that will be under stricter regulations either. Instructors will also need to be re-trained to deliver and test drivers under the new curriculum.

“Right now, we are working on the standardized curriculum that will be used across the province. It will set out the number of in-class, in-yard and in-vehicle training. This new training will help new commercial drivers develop the skills and experience necessary to safely transport people, goods and services in Alberta and across North America,” Mason said.

Chris Nash, president of the Alberta Motor Transport Association, calls the changes ‘paramount’ to enhancing road safety in Alberta.

“The implementation of mandatory entry-level training will ensure the industry has the fundamental tools to operate on public roadways, establishing a benchmark of required knowledge for commerical drivers and carriers.”

The changes also mean that the province will no longer be offering the temporary safety fitness certificate currently issued to drivers.

Singh is due to appear in court in Calgary on November 9. The maximum penalty he faces is $5,000 per federal offence and up to $2,000 for each provincial offence.

(With files from Brenna Rose)