Quebec commits $7 million to train mechanics to service heavy-duty EVs, hybrids
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Apr 19, 2023
Mehanaz Yakub

The 196-hour training program for heavy-duty EV maintenance is the latest in a series of EV Skills programs supported by the province to help companies participate in the energy transition

The new 196-hour intensive training program for heavy-duty EVs is expected to enhance the skills of approximately 240 mechanics and repairers in Quebec. In addition, around 20 master trainers will be trained to teach future students in the program.

The 196-hour training program for heavy-duty EV maintenance is the latest in a series of EV Skills programs supported by the province to help companies participate in the energy transition

The Quebec government is committing over $7 million to a three-year, heavy-duty electric and hybrid vehicle maintenance training program, says the province’s Ministry of Employment and Social Solidarity (MESS).

The money will be drawn from the province’s Workforce Skills Development and Recognition Fund (WSDRF). It will go to the Conseil provincial des Comités paritaires de l’industrie des services automobiles (CPCPA), to create and adapt the training program.

The CPCPA develops and implements qualifications and training standards in the auto repair and service sector. The WSDRF offers yearly subsidies for skills development initiatives.

The CPCPA has a history of developing EV training programs since 2020. The new heavy-duty EV maintenance program is the third in a series of EV Skills intensive programs. It follows an EV bodywork program created last year with $1.6 million in funding from the MESS.

“The EV Skills program aims to provide a structured training path and a recognized certification in electric and hybrid vehicle maintenance and repair to industry workers,” says Jonathan Gaudreault, a spokesperson for the MESS, in an email to Electric Autonomy.

The heavy-duty EV program is available to mechanics looking to up their skills and continue their education.

Aligning workforce skills to the energy transition

In 2020, the Quebec government adopted its 2030 Plan for a Green Economy framework. The plan aims to reduce the province’s emissions by 37.5 per cent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. This allows Quebec to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.

As part of measures outlined in its 2022-2027 Implementation Plan — created to define the climate actions needed to achieve the 2030 Green Economy plan goals — the province is seeking to ensure that the skills of its workforce match the needs of the sustainable transition.

“Reducing the carbon footprint of transport is at the heart of the Green Economy 2030 Plan. In particular, electric and hybrid heavy-duty vehicles will have a prominent role,” says Benoit Charette, minister of the environment, the fight against climate change, wildlife and parks.

“This investment will help our companies participating in Quebec’s energy transition by providing them with a skilled workforce.” 

The new 196-hour intensive program for heavy-duty EV maintenance consists of five modules. The first module will be ready for release in the fall of 2023, says Gaudreault. The remaining modules will be available by early 2024.

The training program will “strengthen the skills of hundreds of workers in a cutting-edge field,” says minister of employment Kateri Champagne Jourdain in a press statement.

The CPCPA currently offers one of its EV Skills intensive programs in Ontario and British Columbia through NAPA Canada.

Heavy-duty EV program rollout

The CPCPA is partnering in the heavy-duty EV training program with automotive committees CSMO-Auto and CAMO-Route. They will all act as project managers and program coordinators.

Approximately 264 mechanics and repairers of heavy electric and hybrid vehicles in Quebec will participate in the program. In addition, around 20 master trainers will train to teach future students in the program.

All vocational training centres across the province will offer the program. But they must have a qualified master trainer at the centre or be working with a master trainer, says Gaudreault.

Access to training equipment, such as hybrid and electric heavy-duty vehicles, is also a requirement in order to participate.

And automotive technicians living in regions where the program is not available may travel to a certified centre. They will be reimbursed for their travel, meals and lodging expenses, says Gaudreault.

Some of the program’s first participants may be mechanics from Drummondville-based electric school bus manufacturer, Girardin Blue Bird.

“The government’s objectives align perfectly with our mission and our business strategies,” says Steve Girardin, president of Girardin Blue Bird in a press release.  

“As leaders in transportation electrification, we believe these investments will support the development and accelerated adoption of sustainable technologies, creating a greener future for all.”

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