11 charged in Ontario and Quebec driver training schemes

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Ontario and Quebec police have collectively laid 11 charges in the wake of a multi-year investigation into driver training schemes that allegedly involved unlicensed training schools, interpreters completing knowledge tests for students, and more.

The investigation began in Quebec, based on leads from Societe d’Assurance Automobile du Quebec (SAAQ) and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), responding to a March 2019 tip from Quebec police, ultimate identified 200 cases in which students committed a “variety of fraudulent activities” to obtain commercial licences.

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The names of these students have been forwarded to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, which is ultimately responsible for licensing, and the Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities that oversees private training schools.

Surete du Quebec police officers arrested five people from Montreal, Laval, and Brampton, Ont., on May 18. The charges for producing and using false documents related to helping foreign clients obtain Class 1 licences for passenger vehicles and possibly a Class 1 licence for trucks.

OPP had previously charged six people from Laval and Saint Eustache, Que., and Caledon and Cornwall, Ont., with fraud over $5,000.

The OPP investigation focused on the use of an interpreter to complete required knowledge tests, residents from outside the province applying for Ontario licences, and steps to circumvent Ontario’s mandatory entry-level training standard. Six commercial vehicles were also seized based on a scheme that involved unlicensed schools and training in eastern Ontario and Quebec.

“The focus of this lengthy investigation has been public safety,” said Detective Inspector Daniel Nadeau of the OPP Criminal Investigation Branch. “Tractor-trailers and other commercial vehicles can be deadly in the hands of those with little or unapproved training.”