OROMOCTO (GNB) – Active and retired members of the Canadian military living in New Brunswick and holding a Department of National Defence (DND) 404 driver’s licence may obtain an equivalent New Brunswick commercial vehicle driver’s licence without additional training or testing.

The new measure, which is effective immediately, was developed with the support of Helmets to Hardhats Canada, a non-profit organization that partners with building trades organizations across the country as well as provincial governments to provide career opportunities to veterans and serving reservists.

“Job creation is our top priority, and that begins with ensuring we have a labour force in New Brunswick that is ready to work,” said Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General Stephen Horsman, who also serves as the provincial government’s liaison with the military. “We are proud to partner with Helmets to Hardhats to assist our veterans in accessing career opportunities in the commercial trucking industry by transferring their military licensing qualifications to a commercial vehicle licence.”

New Brunswick joins other provinces in implementing this licensing process, designed to assist former and current members of the Canadian military in transitioning easily to the workforce as civilians.

“To the many military personnel with driving qualifications who are transitioning to civilian life, this is an excellent opportunity,” said Lt.-Col. Adam Zima, commanding officer of the technical services branch at 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown. “It will make the transition from military service to the civilian workforce quicker and more affordable. It is great news for our members and for the New Brunswick labour market”.

Current and retired military members can visit a Service New Brunswick location to begin the process. Applicants must present a full New Brunswick Class 5 driver’s licence or equivalent licence issued by another jurisdiction, along with a DND 404 licence as a first step.

Once the necessary documentation has been submitted to the motor vehicle branch of the Department of Public Safety, an upgrade for a Class 1, 2, 3 or 4 New Brunswick driver’s licence will be issued.

A retired military member is considered eligible for the licence upgrade if he or she retired within two years of the application date.

“Although the skills, training and experience of members of the military are often viewed as first class, their qualifications are not commonly recognized in the civilian job market,” said Gregory Matte, executive director of Helmets to Hardhats. “Accreditation of the commercial class equivalents of the DND 404 licence in New Brunswick will provide great work opportunities for veterans and employers alike from this day forward.”

No additional training or testing is required as equivalencies have been established in co-ordination with the motor vehicle branch and are determined by axles, passenger capacity and air brake status.

“We have been supportive of the work of both the provincial government and Helmets to Hardhats on this accreditation,” said Gary Ritchie, executive director of the New Brunswick Building Trades Council. “This opens the door to great opportunities for current and former members of the Canadian Armed Forces and helps us find solutions to labour shortages in the commercial driving industry.”