Cornwall Ontario – MPP Jim McDonell launched a petition today calling upon the Government to fix the broken system for testing Ontario drivers aged 80 and over when renewing their drivers’ licenses.
“The Ontario Government implemented a mandatory test and education session prior to allowing a senior aged 80 and over to renew their license,” MPP Jim McDonell explained. “While this requirement may be understandable from a narrow, cognition-focused point of view, it is a significant inconvenience for seniors to begin with. The Ministry of Transportation has bungled this program from the very beginning. Seniors can’t get through to the appointment booking service, spending hours on the phone and getting nothing but a busy signal. Group education sessions and tests in our area have been repeatedly cancelled without notice, forcing seniors to drive in from across the region for nothing. They are then made to waste time at a Service Ontario counter in order to get a temporary license. This is not an acceptable level of service, if one can call it ‘service’ at all”.
Seniors who require a more in-depth Functional Assessment are inconvenienced even further, since the service is not delivered in Cornwall or the Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry.
“Seniors have to pay hundreds of dollars and drive to Ottawa or Smiths Falls to be assessed” MPP Jim McDonell stated. “Their lack of familiarity with the environment is likely to be a significant cause of stress and poor performance on the assessment. Our region has over 100,000 residents and our local hospitals and clinics have the physiotherapists and occupational therapists qualified to carry out a Functional Assessment – what possible excuse could the Government have to deny our residents the convenience of being assessed locally?”
“MTO’s current policies demonstrate complete disregard for seniors’ time, as they are forced to waste half a day, every two years, sitting in a large group in a location of the MTO’s choosing rather than being able to receive this service locally at their convenience” said John Milnes, President of the Eastern Ontario Stroke Survivors’ Support Group. “Those requiring a functional assessment are furthermore forced to pay outrageous fees and must drive over an hour and a half away to unfamiliar test locations. It is time the MTO understand there is a need to adjust their testing programs”
MPP Jim McDonell insists driver education, testing and assessment services must be conveniently accessible within all regions, including our own.
“Seniors should be able to walk into a DriveTest Centre, Service Ontario or any other appropriate public office and carry out all the steps necessary to renew their license, without the added bother of appointment booking and cancellations without notice,” MPP Jim McDonell concluded. “Those requiring a Functional Assessment should be able to access these services without needing to drive hundreds of kilometres when there are local resources available to accommodate them. It’s just common sense”.
The petition is available to sign online, as well as in the constituency office at 120 Second St West, Cornwall.