Strike disrupts driver testing in Ontario

| 8/27/2009

Ontario drivers needing to renew or take a test this week for their driver’s licenses were out of luck as test center employees went on strike.

DriveTest Centre employees, members of the United Steelworkers Union, took to the picket lines this week, forcing the provincial government to enact an emergency regulation to extend driving privileges to affected drivers until the conflict is resolved.

The strike has affected those needing to renew or test for Ontario license classes A through F as well as those in line to get the Z Class air-brake endorsement. The regulation to extend the privileges of affected drivers also applies to G1, M1, G2, M2 and full Class G drivers.

Affected drivers who are stopped by law enforcement during the strike period will be asked for their patience as officers perform license checks, according to a provincial government official in a letter to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance.

“Such checks may take some time and may require the officer to await the information before considering further action against the driver,” Robert Fleming, assistant deputy minister for the provincial Road User Safety Division, explained in the letter.

Fleming stated that once the labor dispute ends, the regulation that extends drivers’ licenses will be phased out, but not before sufficient time is given for drivers to take their tests.

The strike was still in effect on Thursday, Aug. 27.

Union workers took to the picket line after negotiations broke down Friday, Aug. 21, with Serco DES Inc., the company contracted by the Ministry of Transportation to operate the DriveTest Centre facilities.

– By David Tanner, staff writer