Temporary DriveTest Centre not coming to Windsor

The Windsor field office of the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, at Ouellette Place. Blackburn News file photo.

Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation (MTO) will not be bringing a temporary driver’s test location to Windsor-Essex anytime soon.

Despite a request by Windsor West MPP Lisa Gretzky of the NDP to open a temporary DriveTest Centre to ease a backlog of test applications, MTO said a centre is not needed.

In an email sent to WindsorNewsToday.ca, MTO Senior Issues Advisor Lee Alderson said that Windsor-Essex’s backlog only accounts for less than three per cent of the entire province.

“Please note that we do not track specific active backlog totals for the Leamington Travel Point location, and any backlog at that location would be included in the totals at the Windsor location. This backlog is a result of closures and ongoing restrictions for passenger road testing at DriveTest centres due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” wrote Alderson. “Since March 2020, there have been approximately 421,827 road tests cancelled across the province due to closures and Grey-Lockdown restrictions. This includes 8,916 in the Windsor-Essex region.”

Gretzky had sent a letter two weeks ago to Premier Doug Ford, citing concerns received by her office from people who have tried in vain to schedule a driving test.

“Some are reporting that they are not able to get a scheduled appointment until 2023. It is unacceptable that people in my riding have to wait even longer for their driving tests after already waiting over a year while DriveTest centres were closed due to the pandemic,” wrote Gretzky in her letter. “It is equally unacceptable that Windsor-Essex residents are expected to travel hours to another DriveTest location.”

The province has opened nine temporary DriveTest Centres, with the closest one to Windsor being in Sarnia.

However, Alderson said the government has been addressing ways to ease the backlog.

“Our government is investing more than $16 million to increase road testing capacity at all DriveTest centres across the province. In addition to these temporary centres, our aggressive plan to address the backlog includes hiring 167 additional new temporary driver examiners,” wrote Alderson. “As measures to address capacity are implemented, additional road test appointments will be made available at both existing and temporary testing centres across the province. DriveTest only posts road test appointments up to six months in advance, and new road test appointments are added throughout the week.”

Complete information on scheduling a driver’s test can be found at the official DriveTest Centre website.

—with files from Adelle Loiselle