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Tuesday , 1 December 2020
Registry offices across the province will be able to hire or contract their own driver examiners for Class 5, 6, and 7 licenses. The change is expected to reduce wait times, which have been between three and six months in St. Paul.

Road tests re-privatized; local registries pleased

Road tests are going private again following an announcement by Alberta’s Minister of Transportation Ric McIver on Thursday.

A new online system launching Dec. 5 will allow drivers to book passenger vehicle road tests directly with their local registry agent for tests to be conducted in the new year. Examiners for Class 4, 5, and 6 licenses will be able to be hired or contracted directly by the registry agents.

Darryl Poirier is the owner of the St. Paul Registries office. He said he was very pleased with the change because it will allow them to provide better service to the community.

“Because the way it was going there was months of delay and it was very, very poor service for the clients. With us getting control of it again, we’ll hire someone who wants to work a bit more hours and get more things done quicker for the clients,” said Poirier.

St. Paul is one of many communities in the province to have seen three-to-six month waits for road tests following the previous NDP government’s decision to take over all driver examinations in the wake of the Humboldt Bronco’s crash. Road tests were then suspended by the UCP government in March 2020 to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul MLA Dave Hanson said complaints about the wait for road tests is one of the most common complaints he’s dealt with in the constituency.

“I could read you some of the frustration e-mails I get to my office. And people were angry about it. They were angry at me about it. And it was really nothing to do with what we were doing. So we’ve been trying to fix it,” said Hanson.

“I think it’s going to be a real boon to the area with registries being able to hire and maintain their own driver examiners,” said Hanson.

According to Poirier, the St. Paul Registries Office does have two or three people in mind to provide the examinations, but the number of days tests are available will depend somewhat on co-operation between different communities.

“It depends on how we work together to make sure that service is the best,” said Poirier.

According to McIver, the province has also strengthened oversight through electronic monitoring of each road test. Road tests for Class 1, 2, and 3 licenses will continue to be done by government driver examiners.

“We know Albertans have been frustrated with long delays to get a road test. Returning to a privately run model will restore a system which Albertans used for years with confidence. I want to thank driver examiners and registry agents for their continued dedication as we transition to a new and better system.”

About Meredith Kerr

Meredith Kerr moved to St. Paul for a career in journalism and morning radio in 2014 expecting to stay for six months to a year. Since then, she has put down roots in the form of a husband, a mortgage, two babies, and a poorly behaved dog. She continues to work as a reporter until such time as she finishes her book and becomes fabulously wealthy from the royalties. Meredith also serves as a member at large on the St. Paul Library Board and volunteers as a Beaver leader for the 1st St. Paul Scout Group.