Commercial driver road tests will expand to 42 DriveTest locations across Ontario as the province moves into the second phase of a reopening plan for the facilities.
The change, coming Aug. 4, will coincide with the addition of Class G2 road tests, and Class M2 and Class M motorcycle road tests. The 56 DriveTest centers were closed on March 23 as a response to Covid-19, but gradually began to re-establish services on June 22.
“As we continue to reopen our economy, resuming driver testing is another way our government is helping people get back to work,” said Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney, in a related press release. “We are phasing-in these services to ensure important health and safety measures are in place at all DriveTest centres and our staff and customers are fully protected.”
Commercial Class A, B, C, D, E, F and Z road tests were initially limited to 28 locations.
“I am so relieved to have finally gotten to this point,” says Philip Fletcher, operations manager at Commercial Heavy Equipment Training (CHET) in Mississauga. “The backlog has been excruciating.”
His school alone is in the midst of scheduling road tests for 30 trainees in August.
All licensing services that were provided in the first phase of the reopening – including knowledge tests and licence upgrades – will continue to be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Most DriveTest locations continue to serve customers based on a driver’s date of birth.
“We have temporarily extended the expiration date of all driver’s licences, so we would ask that everyone hold off on visiting a DriveTest centre unless absolutely necessary,” Mulroney added. “For those going to a centre please exercise caution and follow all of the public health guidelines.”
DriveTest facilities require customers to wear face coverings inside and during road tests, to sanitize their hands when entering the building, and undergo temperature checks before road tests. Examiners will be equipped with face shields, sanitizer packages, and seat covers.
Truck driver training schools have already had to adopt public health measures of their own, Fletcher says. Yard-related training at CHET, which used to involve small groups, is now limited to two trainees at a time to promote social distancing. While that makes training more costly, it does ensure trainees enjoy a higher level of hands-on experience, he says.
DriveTest centers are scheduled to be fully operational by Sept. 8. That final phase will reestablish commercial driver tests in Bancroft, Brockville, Huntsville, Kapuskasing, Kirkland Lake, Mississauga, Sarnia, and Woodstock.