The prov­ince is tak­ing over the pre­vi­ously pri­va­tized driver ex­am­i­na­tion sys­tem Driv­ing ex­am­in­ers threaten walk­out

StarMetro Edmonton - - EDMONTON - BREN­NAN DO­HERTY STARMETRO CAL­GARY

Some of Al­berta’s driv­ing ex­am­in­ers are threat­en­ing to walk off the job on Thurs­day if the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment doesn’t ad­dress their de­mands to be com­pen­sated for the loss of their busi­nesses in the months be­fore repa­tri­a­tion, as well as higher salaries.

The Al­berta gov­ern­ment an­nounced in Oc­to­ber that it would be tak­ing over the prov­ince’s driver ex­am­i­na­tion sys­tem, pri­va­tized un­der for­mer premier Ralph Klein in 1993, fol­low­ing a 2016 re­view by Tan­tus So­lu­tions Group made pub­lic last July that painted it as a sys­tem rife with op­por­tu­ni­ties for ex­ploita­tion.

The re­view noted sto­ries about sex­ual as­sault, bribery, and the is­su­ing of fake doc­u­ments.

“Changes to the driver model will im­prove safety on Al­berta roads while pro­vid­ing im­proved ser­vices for peo­ple at a re­duced cost,” said Min­is­ter of Trans­porta­tion Brian Ma­son in a state­ment on Wed­nes­day. “The up­com­ing

changes have re­ceived wide­spread pub­lic sup­port.”

But the Cer­ti­fied Driver Ex­am­in­ers As­so­ci­a­tion (CDEA), which rep­re­sents most of Al­berta’s driver ex­am­in­ers, de­scribed the pos­si­bil­ity of a pro­vin­cial takeover of the sys­tem as “an un­ex­pected, un­prece­dented im­pact on driver ex­am­in­ers and the in­dus­try in whole,” in a state­ment last Au­gust. Al­berta is the only prov­ince in Canada with a fully pri­va­tized driver ex­am­i­na­tion

sys­tem.

Pete Llewellyn, the CDEA’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, said as much as 80 per cent of his mem­ber­ship will refuse to work on Thurs­day un­less the gov­ern­ment ad­dresses their con­cerns. These in­clude the fact mem­bers aren’t re­ceiv­ing any sort of com­pen­sa­tion for the loss of their busi­ness, de­spite the fact in­cor­po­rated driver ex­am­in­ers pay both pro­vin­cial and fed­eral cor­po­rate taxes.

“I find it hard to be­lieve that we shouldn’t be com­pen­sated for the time and work and ef­fort we put into our busi­nesses, be­cause they’re be­ing shut down ef­fec­tively as of March,” Llewellyn said in an in­ter­view on Wed­nes­day.

The CDEA has sent a let­ter threat­en­ing to sue the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment over the lack of com­pen­sa­tion, Llewellyn said.

DEAN BEN­NETT/THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Al­berta Gov­ern­ment House Leader Brian Ma­son an­nounced in Oc­to­ber that the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment would take over the driv­ing ex­am­iner sys­tem.

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