Alberta government announces return to privatized road test examiners

·2 min read

Many a teenager has felt the need for speed as they await their 16th birthday and the freedom that comes with passing their driving test.

As of Oct. 22, the provincial government is reintroducing private examiners to help streamline the process of booking Class 4, 5 and 6 licences. Class 1, 2 and 3 exams will still be conducted under provincial examiners.

Back in March 2019 — shortly before the April provincial election — the former NDP government established government-sponsored examiners. The change came as a result of licensing registries across Canada re-evaluating regulations after the Humboldt Broncos bus tragedy in Saskatchewan, which involved a recently licensed semi-truck driver.

Returning to the private system, says the UCP government, will give local registry agents the ability to contract their own examiners while saving up to $12.1 million a year.

Rather than telling individual registries when a road test can be held, returning to the previous private system returns power to community registries over their own scheduling.

Under the old system, says Crowsnest License and Registry manager Alycia Ruzek, a road test typically had to be booked three to four months in advance. The ability to contract examiners, she expects, will greatly diminish that waiting time.

“Now that we have our own driver examiner, we can pick which days we have, how many tests we can run a day, how often they come, stuff like that,” she says.

“It’s going to speed things up.”

Although the change is still relatively fresh, Alycia says the office’s needs are such that contracting one examiner to come every other week will suffice.

Though the NDP has criticized that returning to private examiners removes safeguards against examiners behaving inappropriately or repeatedly failing new drivers to bill them for multiple tests, Alycia says the concerns are unfounded.

“The driver examiner we use, I definitely do not think [that would happen]. If he’s failing you, and for any driver examiner who I’ve met in the last 20 months, they’re failing you for a reason,” she says.

To book a road test in Crowsnest Pass, call 403-562-2011 or visit www.crowsnestregistry.com.

Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze