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NDP needs to provide immediate extension for commercial drivers stuck in ICBC backlog

NDP needs to provide immediate extension for commercial drivers stuck in ICBC backlog

VICTORIA (October 6, 2021) – The BC Liberals are calling on John Horgan and the NDP government to immediately provide an extension to commercial drivers scheduled to take their Class 1 road test, so they are not forced to pay thousands of dollars in additional costs.

“Due to delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, many drivers who booked their Class 1 road test months ago still have not been able to take it, leaving them without certification before the government’s new Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) comes into effect,” said Mike Morris, BC Liberal Critic for Public Safety and Solicitor General. “This means that, through no fault of their own, applicants already in the queue to take their test may face unanticipated expenses in the thousands of dollars only because there are not enough examination opportunities to clear the waitlist before the deadline. We are calling on the NDP government to take urgent steps so the applicants who scheduled their test before the October 18, 2021 deadline are not left paying out of pocket.”

ICBC suspended road tests from March 17 to July 20, 2020, extending an already significant waitlist. As a result, there are drivers who booked their Class 1 exam in the spring who are still waiting to take their tests. Rather than stepping in and providing accommodation for those in the queue for tests, the government has doubled down on their deadline. The MELT training that will be required starting October 18, 2021, is expected to cost around $15,000 per driver.

“This is about fairness and the fact that people should not be punished for a backlog of tests that is entirely out of their control,” said Tom Shypitka, MLA for Kootenay East. “Over the past few months, I have heard from many who have gone through the examination process exactly how they are supposed to, and yet are now stuck in this frustrating, and potentially costly, situation. Especially as this province is facing a growing labour shortage, government needs to step in, provide accommodation for those caught on the waitlist, and ensure that people can get to work and make a livelihood after an extremely difficult 18 months and goods can keep moving.”

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