Backlog expected as Ontario test centres reopen

TORONTO — After a four-month deadlock, the labour dispute at Ontario’s DriveTest Centres ended with services resuming yesterday.

The province’s 56 DriveTest Centres reopened on Jan. 4, while the part-time Travel Points locations are expected to open on Jan. 5.

The employees, members of United Steelworkers local 9511, had been on strike since Aug. 22. The union and the province’s DriveTest Centres, which are operated by Serco DES who has held the contract since 2003, reached a deal shortly before the holiday season.

During the labour disruption, seven DriveTest Centres in the province were opened on a limited basis, but those services did little to prevent a backlog of waiting customers as the testing centres reopened the doors this year.

As a result, DriveTest is asking customers to wait two or three weeks before making an appointment or coming to a DriveTest Centre, unless they need service for employment or training purposes. This will allow DriveTest to give priority to those customers as they work through the backlog created by the strike.

As of Jan. 5, public classified tests will be available on the system. All truck schools and buses will book through the pre-strike normal process on a first come first serve basis.

Any customer who holds a licence that expired on or after Aug. 24, 2009 will continue to be covered under the automatic licence extension put in place by the MTO until July 1, 2010. The extension also applies to temporary driver’s licences.

This regulation will not be revoked prior to July 2010, but testing needs to be completed before July 1, 2010.

If traveling outside of Ontario with an expired licence, the government has provided an official letter from the Ministry regarding the extension of license validity.

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