Back in 1993, a large number of registered private vocational schools and other organizations specializing in truck driver training came together to formulate the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario (TTSAO). One of the TTSAO’s principle concerns is to ensure that all drivers enter the industry with a minimum level of knowledge and ability that will ensure the safety of the general public with whom they share the road.
Over the past two decades, the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) contracted out the responsibility for testing license applicants to Serco, a private company. As a for-profit company, Serco/DriveTest sought to fill their booking times to the maximum capacity. This has resulted in extended wait times for students.
Due to the persistent chorus of complaints about wait times, the TTSAO was successful in lobbying the MTO to consider 3rd party testing. This was a complex issue and was finally resolved late this past spring.
Philip Fletcher, CHET Operations Manager who sits on the board of the TTSAO, explains: “For the past 3 years … [Board members] have raised the challenge of getting test dates within a reasonable period. Usually a test date is set for 4 to 5 weeks in the future, but often it can take 6 weeks. When a student needs to re-test this just isn’t a fair timetable.”
CHET is proud to be the only school in the GTA to successfully become an official MTO testing site. MTO and DriveTest have long been familiar with CHET and acknowledged its reputation as an honest, reliable quality training center. The fact that CHET, its instructors, and Musket all strive to achieve the best results for drivers and ultimately the industry at large gave the MTO confidence in the program and its integrity and reliability as a testing site.
CHET and Musket became known to the MTO during a previous presentation regarding a pressing need pertaining to a Mississauga-based DriveTest Center. Due to this familiarity, and the fact that CHET is located in an under-represented area for tests, it was a natural fit for CHET to become the GTA’s one and only third-party testing facility.
This past spring, the TTSAO decided to roll out a pilot program amongst a few candidate schools for 3rd party off site testing, with geographic locations chosen specifically for this role. Logan Purdy of MTO advised CHET that it had been selected for the pilot program. Just four months later, CHET was chosen as an official site.
“CHET acknowledges the privilege and responsibility that this Pilot Project brings, and is determined to offer our best efforts to see that the candidates and members of the overseeing bodies are satisfied with the program delivery and results,” Philip Fletcher commented.
MTO, DriveTest and the TTSAO schools worked together for the first time on this new off-site testing venture. Candidates will be testing at CHET by Serco, which is in the process of training more examiners for the D4 designation so they can do commercial testing.
CHET is the first school to be considered a viable testing location by MTO. When MTO developed the MELT program, the rest of Canada ultimately followed suit. Hopefully, the opening of a third-party testing site will open the industry up to a better range of testing options. For schools struggling to get their students tested within a reasonable timeframe, such locations will fill a huge gap and allows for better planning and greater convenience and accessibility for students.
You can read more about Phil’s latest position on the board at the TTSAO and CHET’s overall involvement with the organization here: www.chet.ca/operations-manager-of-chet-phil-fletcher-appointed-to-ttsao-board-of-directors/