DriveTest centres reopen in some regions across the province
Ontario opened some Drive Test centres for road tests across the province, while testing centres remain closed in lockdown or grey regions.
Regions with a stay-at-home order still in effect are Toronto, Peel, York, North Bay, and Parry Sound. The Niagara region is part of the grey lockdown zone with heavy restrictions in place.
Many Ontario regions are transitioning out of the province-wide lockdown and will be following public health and workplace safety measures for road tests.
Lee Alderson, the Ministry of Transportation senior issues advisor, said tests booked in a region that have a stay-at-home order in place or in grey lockdown zones have been cancelled.
“Customers who have booked tests under these orders or in this zone will receive a credit on the system and be able to rebook the test when their region moves into a lower COVID-19 level,” Alderson said.
Ontario is following the COVID-19 response framework that uses a five colour-coded system implemented in November 2020.
Jonathan Freire, a driving student in Toronto took his road test on Aug. 31, 2020, in Orangeville, Ont., and said locations were limited due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Very strict protocols were set in place for testing centres to adhere to safety standards, Freire said.
“Before starting the test the driving examiner provided hand sanitizer, we were not able to use our own sanitizer, the examiner put on protective equipment and masks had to be worn throughout the duration of the test,” he said.
The guidelines that are currently in place do not allow customers from regions with a stay-at-home order or grey regions to take a test outside of their region, Alderson said.
“On Nov. 30, 2020, the Ministry of Transportation implemented a no-road test outside your COVID-19 level region policy to help prevent the spread of COVID-19,” he said.
Drive test centres employees have monitored people from taking tests in opened regions by reviewing identification, and turning them away, Alderson said.
The centres in all regions are open for essential services mainly for the learners permit testing which is considered a knowledge test, he said.
Testing centres will limit capacity and wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when serving customers as a preventative measure, Alderson said.
With the protocols set in place many customers had experienced longer waiting times for road tests, as health and safety is the number one priority, he said.
“My test was scheduled for 10:50 a.m. and I ended up waiting for an hour. I felt very safe with the protocols in place at the testing centre as social distancing was always monitored,” Freire said.
Testing has generally remained very limited; other people canceled tests which allowed Freire to complete his test within a reasonable timeframe as his license was set to expire, he said.
The provincial shutdown has impacted and cancelled about 79,000 road tests between Dec. 26, 2020, and Feb.10, Alderson said.
“Due to the uncertainty of the current situation and the high demand for road test appointments, DriveTest is unable to prioritize customers with cancelled appointments. Road test appointments will be offered on a first-come, first-serve basis,” he said.
MTO will continue to monitor changes across the province if regions are moved back into grey lockdown measures, road tests will be cancelled as a part of health and safety for customers and employees.