According to the Ontario Safety League (OSL), there are ongoing road test appointment scams where sellers have no intention of providing a test spot after receiving payment.
However, some say other sellers may be legitimate … and OSL says the way they obtain those tests is a national problem.
“Its fraudulent activity undertaken by some of those who have access to the system,” said Brian Patterson, president and CEO of OSL.
Patterson says some driving schools are using new student’s information without their consent to book road tests in mass — only to swap the dates with a customer later. The students may never even be aware tests were booked under their name.
“There are significant privacy issues involved … everybody should be entitled to fair access to the tests that are available, and corrupting the system is unfair to all Ontarians,” said Patterson.
Ryan Manilla, traffic and criminal defence lawyer with Legal Solutions Law Firm, says sellers who do this may land themselves a fraud charge, if police can prove an infraction took place.
“They’re using somebody else’s identity without their knowledge or consent … that certainly is not permissible by law, ” said Manilla.
Still, there are other reports of sellers who are not affiliated with driving schools who are allegedly booking individual tests using their own information, and then cancelling and swiftly rebooking when a customer comes along.
“If they’re plugging in legitimate information for a legitimate person, my position is that is legal,” said Manilla, though this may not always be the case depending on the circumstances of the case.
“They’re technically providing a service.”
Buying the appointment is also not considered a criminal act, Manilla said.
In an email to Global News, Kristine Bunker from the Ministry of Transportation said:
“DriveTest.ca is the only official window for booking your road test … The Ministry of Transportation (MTO) and DriveTest.ca are not responsible for road test appointments booked through third-party websites and cannot guarantee that those appointments will be honoured.”
The Ministry added: “You should never give your driver’s licence to a third party or an unknown website. DriveTest will never charge you an additional fee to book or reschedule a road test.”
Bunker says the ministry has implemented a number of “IT enhancements” to help curb bots and third party sellers, including a time limit for booking a road test, and eliminating the ability to switch test dates between drivers. The DriveTest portal indicates that time limit is 45 minutes.
MTO says due to the pandemic, driver’s licences that expired on or after March 1, 2020 will remain valid and legal past expiry, until further notice.
As for addressing the backlog, the Ministry says it will be opening six temporary test centres at locations where demand is highest:
- Hamilton (serving Niagara),
- Northern York / Durham,
- Mississauga / Brampton,
- Eastern Durham Region,
- Guelph (serving Kitchener-Waterloo and Milton),
- and Toronto.
READ MORE: Ontario to open 2 temporary G2/G road test centres to clear backlog with more sites in September
The centres will operate seven days a week, with 251 temporary examiners hired by September, Bunker said.
Patterson says anyone who spots a drive test appointment sold on a third-party site should report it to the MTO or the OSL.
Meanwhile, Anderson won’t be throwing his coin at any of the appointments offered online.
“When I see something like that online, I don’t necessarily trust it,” he said.