Alberta privatizing driver exams in 2021

EDMONTON — In December, Albertans looking to earn their Class 4, 5 or 6 licence will be able to book a private test through their local registry agent for the New Year.

In an announcement Thursday, Transportation Minister Ric McIver said the transition from a public system would improve access to examiners, reducing the backlog of those waiting, and address previous complaints of fraud or inappropriate examiner behaviour through government oversight.

“I know these changes will have significant impact on driver examiners who currently work for the government, but I want to assure all of the driver examiners and all Albertans these decisions were made with care and with caution,” he said.

Come January, 85 per cent of road tests in the province will be done by private examiners.

Government-employed testers will continue to do Class 1, 2 and 3 tests for commercial truckers and bus drivers.

Craig Couillard, the president of the Association of Alberta Registry Agents, said his organization would be implementing a hub-and-spoke model in which agents in larger urban centres support more rural registries by supplying road tests.

He, too, promised the change would reduce wait times and improve customer experience.

Online bookings will begin Dec. 1 for tests starting Jan. 5.

As of Oct. 22, there were 132 government and 56 contracted driver examiners available for road tests in Alberta.

Officials said the system’s backlog caused by a shortage of examiners was deepened further with the suspension of road tests in March due to the pandemic.

View Source