It has been widely reported in the media that starting March 1, all road testing will be done by Government of Alberta employees. The Association of Alberta Registry Agents supports this move and is doing everything possible to ensure that this is a positive transition for our clients.
Road Testing in Alberta has always been about making sure that drivers on our roads have the skills and knowledge required to operate motor vehicles safely. The position of the Government of Alberta is that it can ensure more consistency and quality of testing if the examiners are Government of Alberta employees instead of independent contractors.
The role of Registry Agents has always been to authenticate identity and to verify eligibility of the client for the road test. In addition, we can schedule the test (either online or in person) and collect payment. It has never been the role of the Registry Agent to assess drivers or to monitor the Driver Examiners beyond ensuring that the tests start and end on time. From this point of view, Registry Agents are not affected by the repatriation of Driver Examiner.
Here is what you need to know:
1. Road Testing is currently available at Registries Plus
Many Driver Examiners are protesting this change because it has a negative impact on their livelihood. Some of these examiners have chosen to engage in “job action” and are withholding services. None of the Driver Examiners are Registries Plus are involved in this job action. We have road testing available in our office and you can book online.
2. Road Test availability may be limited after March 1, 2019
Driver Examiner Transportation had initially promised to increase the number of Driver Examiners from 153 to 161. However, the association of Driver Examiners has indicated that fewer than half of existing examiners have applied for the posted positions, meaning that Transportation will have to hire and train new, inexperienced driver examiners. We are very concerned that this will not happen in time for the March 1st roll out and that this will lead to a shortage of road test slots, which could have a negative impact on Albertans who need a road test.
3. Upcoming changes for Class 1
For Class 1, it is still possible to do a Class 1 Road Test. Transportation has indicated that it will re-test all newly licensed Class 1 drivers at no charge after March 1st. New Class 1 drivers will be required after March 1st to complete a mandatory entry-level training course before they can be tested and licensed. We have no details at this point about the cost, number of hours or delivery method for this course.
4. Prices will decrease after March 1st, 2019
The Government of Alberta has announced the road test costs will be priced at $83 for Basic and $138 for Advanced across the province. Registries Plus road test prices are currently $85.24 for a Basic and $143 for an Advanced. Prices do not include GST. For Registries Plus, the service fee that we retain will increase after March 1st since the majority of the road test fees now go to the Driver Examiners. It is important to note that the limited of supply of Driver Examiners in Alberta over the past decade has been the main factor behind the high cost of road testing – because there was a high demand for examiners and Transportation failed to license new examiners in the province, examiners were able to increase their fees and Registry Agents had no choice but to pass these costs on to our clients. The simple solution to this upward pressure on price was to license more Driver Examiners, but this is not the route the current government chose to take.
Registries Plus is very proud to offer the best in customer service for all of our clients. We will continue to offer a priority desk for Road Testing so that road test clients can easily schedule appointments and check in for their tests. Road testing ensures that our roads are as safe as possible. We know it’s a stressful time for new drivers and we want to make sure that every test start out as well as possible.