Drivers going the distance due to backlog of driving tests in Ontario

The line to take a driver’s test in Ontario is especially long.

Kitchener resident Kaitlyn Banton had three cancellations for her G2 test caused by lockdowns and took months trying to rebook locally.

“When we were looking, it was about early November or mid-October [for the next test locally],” she said. “So we decided to take the matter into our own hands and drive to Timmins.”

Banton went on the nearly eight our drive with her Mom last week and passed the test.

“We were willing to go anywhere because I didn’t want to pay insurance for my car to sit in the driveway,” she said.

The province resumed in-car driving tests on June 14, but there is now a backlog of over 420,000 cancelled road tests that have been piling up since March of last year.

“The website would often crash because there would be so many people in the same boat,” said Banton. “You would see a slot come up and it would be gone in seconds.”

Gail Marrier, the owner of Treadz Driving Academy in Kitchener, says some of her students have had their road tests cancelled five times, and that it will be a while until DriveTest centres are caught up.

“If we were to login right this second to try and book a road test we’re probably looking at early next year,” she said.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Transportation adds that more than $16 million has been invested in increasing road test capacity at all DriveTest centres across the province.

The money will help hire 167 additional driver examiners.

The ministry is also opening up six temporary DriveTest centres to offer road testing seven days a week in areas where demand is the highest.

Frozan and Abdul Aziz Karimi drove from Mississauga to Kitchener to rebook their test in person just in hopes of taking it this year.

“I think it’s understandable because of the pandemic,” said Frozan. “We cannot blame anyone.”