Ontario to resume licensing tests, continues to recognize recently expired licences

TORONTO, Ont. - Ontario will gradually phase in licensing tests beginning June 22, as DriveTest Centers reopen following closures that were required as a public health measure to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. Those with birthdays between January and June will be allowed to visit a center during the first week of reopening, while those with birthdays between July and December will be offered access the following week.

(Photo: John G. Smith)

That cycle will repeat over alternate weeks until full services are restored.

The DriveTest Centres -- operated by Plenary Serco DES, a consortium of Plenary Group Canada, Serco DES, and CGI -- have been closed since March 23. All 56 DriveTest centers open on June 22, with services including commercial knowledge tests, vision tests, medical report submissions, Criminal Record and Judicial Matters (CRJM) checks or equivalent document submissions, and school bus driver improvement course certificate submissions. Also included are the new Entrant Education and Evaluation Program (NEEEP)/Commercial Vehicle Operator's Registration (CVOR) test.

Commercial Class A, B, C, D, E, F and Z road tests will be offered at 28 locations. Those include: Barrie, Belleville, Brampton, Brantford, Burlington, Chatham, Clinton, Cornwall, Downsview, Guelph, Hamilton, Hawkesbury, Kitchener, Kingston, Lindsay, London, Newmarket, Oshawa, Orangeville, Orillia, Ottawa Walkley, Peterborough, Sault Ste Marie, St. Catharines, Simcoe, Sudbury, Thunder Bay and Timmins.

Commercial road tests expand to 22 other DriveTest locations in the second phase of re-opening, scheduled for Aug.

4. That's when the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) will introduce a pilot project for testing Class A licence applicants directly at driving schools, the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) reports. Information on the available testing services, how to access DriveTest centres, and which customers are served each week will be posted at www.DriveTest.ca.

Driver's licences that have expired since March 1 also continue to be recognized, reducing the need for in-person visits to ServiceOntario and DriveTest centers themselves. The U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently announced that it will continue to accept the licences that expired over the same time period.

Would-be licensees coming to Ontario's DriveTest centers will be required to wear face coverings inside the locations and during road tests, sanitize their hands when entering the buildings, and undergo temperature checks before road tests.

DriveTest staff themselves will wear personal protective equipment including face shields, and use sanitizer packages and seat covers when conducting road tests.

The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) was quick to applaud the plan, referring to it as a commonsense approach.

"As the province begins to reopen the economy, the approach taken by MTO to manage the testing and credentialing services for professional truck drivers will be critical," said OTA president Stephen Laskowski.

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