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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(Photo: istock)

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.”

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John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking, trucknews.com, TruckTech, Transport Routier, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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  • This is great news to remove not properly trained drivers. These drivers can kill just by getting behind the wheel.

  • Why are the names of those charged with these offenses published? What about the names of the businesses that operated as license mills? Doesn’t the public have a right to know? Shouldn’t justice be seen to be done? As usual the so called “justice system” in Canada coddles the criminal at the expense of the public.

  • Every one of these “graduates” from the unknown should have their licences immediately revoked and be required to complete all the exams again and be re-tested to the required standard before licences reinstated.

    No wonder there are some terrible and unsafe as well as incompetent drivers on the roads.

    Why the secrecy concerning the names of the fraudulent schools?

  • How can someone that needs an interpreter to complete the knowledge test be allowed to drive?

    If they can’t understand English or French how are they going to understand road signs, etc?

    The other problem with using an interpreter is that the interpreter could be giving the applicant all the answers.

  • These drivers should have to redo the melt program and the companies named. These are the foreign drivers that drive wages down and make insurance unavailable for smaller trucking companies

  • I drive the Ontario/Quebec corridor and will sometimes attempt French if I can, much to the customer’s amusement. They say it is almost impossible to communicate with some drivers because they cannot speak, write, read or understand English or French. A simple “back into door 5” or “what are you picking up” becomes a big problem when the driver just stands there looking at them.