Road tests to expand July 8 with phased approach

Road tests to expand July 8 with phased approach

ICBC is continuing to expand its road testing by opening it up to all customers through a phased approach. This builds upon the successful reopening of commercial vehicle road tests in June, in line with B.C.’s Restart Plan.

ICBC’s road test plan helps British Columbians get the services they need while ensuring important health and safety protocols can be implemented, monitored and maintained as testing increases.

Timeline

The following plan is contingent on the state of the pandemic in the province and may be adjusted based on the need to ensure the ongoing health and safety of both customers and staff. Specifically, the ongoing availability of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) is a key factor that ICBC is monitoring at this time.

  • Motorcycle road tests: available as of July 8; customers may book online.

  • Recreational Trailer (Class 4 and 5 endorsement) road tests: available as of July 8; customers may call ICBC (1-800-950-1498) to book an appointment.

  • Priority testing for essential health care workers and first responders who require a licence for work; workers may call ICBC today (1-800-950-1498) to book. Information will be requested to establish eligibility.

  • Private Passenger Vehicle (Class 5 and 7) road tests:

    • Priority testing for customers with tests cancelled between March 17 and March 30; ICBC will start calling customers this week to rebook; road tests to begin July 20.

    • Following this first grouping, ICBC will then be prioritizing the re-booking of customers who had road tests cancelled after March 30. It is expected that these customers will be able to re-book through the month of August.

    • More details on the timing for new road test bookings will be provided in the following weeks.

  • Enhanced Road Assessments: ICBC will call to rebook customers whose assessments were cancelled between March 17 and March 30. All other customers requiring a medical fitness assessment will receive a letter from RoadSafetyBC.

  • Commercial road tests (Class 1 – 4), motorcycle skills tests, and knowledge tests are available for booking.

  • Other services: ICBC’s offices have remained open during the pandemic while also offering customers the option to renew a 90-day temporary driver’s licence by phone. To manage the demand and volume of customers in an office at any given time, ICBC is also looking to move to an appointment system for in-office visits, including driver licence renewals. More information will be provided when plans are finalized.

What to Expect

  • Making an appointment: Due to the expected high volume of calls, we ask for customers’ patience during this time. Customers whose appointment was cancelled between March 17 and March 30 will not need to call – ICBC will call affected customers. For all other customers, they are strongly encouraged to book online if the option is available for their test type.

  • Before the appointment: Customers are asked to review the vehicle safety checklist and ensure that the interior of their vehicle is clean.

  • Upon arrival: Customers are asked to arrive on-time with the required identification. They will be asked a series of health screening questions and provided a mask that must be worn for the duration of the road test.

    Due to the nature of the motorcycle road test, riders will not be provided a mask, but will be required to wear a safety vest provided by ICBC, which will be sanitized before each use.

  • Testing: Driver examiners will continue to conduct road tests from inside the customer’s vehicle to ensure the examiner is able to fully assess the customer’s driving skills and to take control of the vehicle in the event of an emergency. Driver examiners will wear appropriate PPE during the test.

    For motorcycle road tests, the testing environment remains unchanged. The examiner rides behind the rider in a car, speaking to the rider by two-way radio.

For more information on ICBC’s services during the pandemic, visit: https://www.icbc.com/about-icbc/contact-us/Pages/covid-19.aspx

CounterAttack roadchecks targeting impaired drivers on now

CounterAttack roadchecks targeting impaired drivers on now

Although COVID-19 has changed many things, it hasn’t changed the law – if you plan to drink, don’t drive. Police will be setting up CounterAttack roadchecks across the province while taking necessary pandemic-related safety precautions to get impaired drivers off our roads.

With many restaurants and pubs reopening and Canada Day this week, ICBC, police and the B.C. government are urging drivers to plan ahead for a safe ride home if your activities involve alcohol.

Every year, on average, 68 people are killed as a result of impaired driving, with 40 per cent of those deaths happening in the summer.*

During the pandemic, alcohol consumption increased as more people were drinking at home. To encourage physical distancing and outdoor socialization, some municipalities are allowing alcohol consumption in parks and at beaches. Whether you’re drinking at home or out with friends, please be responsible and don’t drive.

While much progress has been made, impaired driving remains the leading cause of criminal death in Canada and in the top three contributing factors for fatal crashes in B.C.

If you’re hosting a celebration this summer (remember to keep it within Provincial Health Officer guidelines) and plan to serve alcohol, get an ICBC special event permit kit for free on icbc.com. It’s also available when you apply for an event liquor permit at BCLiquorStores.com. The kits include items to encourage designated drivers to stay sober and for guests to find a safe ride home.

ICBC supports two impaired driving education campaigns every year. Learn more facts and tips in ICBC’s infographic.

Quotes:

Bowinn Ma, MLA North Vancouver-Lonsdale

“We’ve made significant progress in making our streets safer from impaired driving over the past forty years, but too many people are still losing their lives. CounterAttack remains a key part of our provincial enforcement strategy to reduce crashes involving alcohol and drugs, and make our roads safer for British Columbians.”

Superintendent Holly Turton, Vice-Chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee

“Summer is here and so are Summer CounterAttack campaigns, so more police will be on B.C. roads checking for impaired drivers. If your plan includes consuming alcohol or cannabis, plan ahead: get a ride home with a friend, hail a taxi, or take the bus. There is no excuse – including COVID-19 – for driving under the influence, and our priority is to prevent and catch drivers who put themselves and their community in danger. Injuries and deaths from impaired driving are completely preventable, and we all have a responsibility to do the right thing.”

Nicolas Jimenez, ICBC President & CEO

“When you drink and drive, you not only risk your life but those of others on the road. We all need to do our part to prevent crashes and drive smart. If you plan to drink, plan ahead for a safe ride home.”

Regional statistics*:

  • On average, 16 people are killed and 830 injured in 1,500 impaired driving related crashes in the Lower Mainland every year.

  • On average, 11 people are killed and 320 injured in 600 impaired driving related crashes on Vancouver Island every year.

  • On average, 22 people are killed and 390 injured in 660 impaired driving related crashes in the Southern Interior every year.

  • On average, 20 people are killed and 190 injured in 310 impaired driving related crashes in North Central B.C. every year.

Canada Day statistics**:

  • Each year on Canada Day, one person is killed and 190 injured in 710 crashes in B.C.

  • Each year 130 people are injured in 430 crashes in the Lower Mainland on Canada Day.

  • Each year 24 people are injured in 110 crashes on Vancouver Island on Canada Day.

  • Each year 24 people are injured in 120 crashes in the Southern Interior on Canada Day.

  • Each year seven people are injured in 42 crashes in the North Central region on Canada Day.

Editor’s note:

Lower Mainland media are invited to attend evening CounterAttack roadchecks this weekend in Vancouver. Media can contact VPD Sgt Rob Gough at 778-839-0294 for July 3 details and VPD Sgt Brian Trklja at 604-760-8104 for July 4 details. Please call after 9pm that day to confirm location.

Notes about the data:

*Injuries and crashes are police data, five-year average 2015 to 2019. Fatal victim counts are police data, five-year average 2014 to 2018. Impaired is defined to include alcohol, illicit drugs and medicines.

**Canada Day is calculated from 00:00 to midnight and includes incidents where the time was not reported. Based on five-year average. Injured victim and crash data from ICBC data (2015 to 2019) and fatal victims from police data (2014 to 2018).

Ontario announces task force to review ways to revamp tow truck industry

By Michelle McQuigge

THE CANADIAN PRESS

TORONTO _ A wave of alleged criminal activity rocking Ontario’s tow truck industry clearly shows the need for stronger oversight, Premier Doug Ford said Monday as he announced a newly appointed task force would be reviewing ways to overhaul the sector.

The group, consisting of officials from across numerous government ministries as well as the Ontario Provincial Police, will draft a new regulatory framework for the sector that has wound up in the crosshairs of at least two high-profile police probes in recent months.

Ford cited the investigations by both the Toronto and York Regional Police services when announcing the task force.

“To all the bad actors out there, my message is very clear the party’s over,” Ford said at a news conference.  “We’re coming for you, and we’ll catch you, and we will lock you up.”

York police said last month that a number of industry players were facing charges following an investigation dubbed Project Platinum that spanned several jurisdictions but concentrated on the Greater Toronto Area.

Supt. Mike Slack of the force’s organized crime and intelligence services said at the time that a lucrative turf war had erupted along stretches of major provincial highways, resulting in charges ranging from murder to arson. None of those charges have yet been proven in court.

Slack alleged multiple tow truck companies, all with ties to organized crime, had defraudeinsurance companies with vehicles involved in real and staged collisions. He alleged the companies would grossly inflate towing bills, move cars from lot to lot to increase storage fees and inflate repair bills.

Body shops and car rental companies were in on the schemes, Slack said, and would receive  “profitable cuts for themselves.”

Insurance companies grew wise to the alleged frauds, Slack said, prompting them to hire a Vaughan, Ont., law firm to help them push back against the scams. That firm, police alleged, itself became a target of threats and gun violence and was ultimately forced to close up shop.

Project Platinum ultimately resulted in dozens of charges against at least 20 people. Weeks later, Toronto police charged 11 others in an investigation of its own that ensnared a veteran officer.

The officer was accused of stealing encrypted police radios and helping to put them in the hands of tow truck operators. Those drivers would then rely on dispatch information to arrive first at accident scenes and secure lucrative towing jobs, the force alleged.

In reviewing the mandate of the new task force, Ontario Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney said that practice would be among the many issues flagged for review.

“This is an element that contributes to the violence,” she said. “It’s certainly something that we will be looking at as part of the task force’s work.”

The task force will also be asked to provide recommendations for a new regulatory framework, which could potentially replace the current system that leaves the towing industry subject to a patchwork of regulations set by municipalities rather than the province.

Solicitor General Sylvia Jones agreed Monday that it was time for tighter regulations.

“(Towing companies) are operating in an industry that lacks oversight and structure, and where too many criminals are making their own rules,” she said. “A spike in violence within the industry … is a threat to Ontarians and public safety, and it must end.”

The government said the task force would also review issues such as stronger consumer protections, training and background checks for industry members.

Mulroney said the group has been asked to present its recommendations by the end of July, which will then be shared with sector members and municipalities for input before any government action on the issue gets underway.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 29, 2020.

Desjardins to give $100M back to its Canadian auto insurance clients

MONTREAL, June 29, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ – Today, Desjardins’s property & casualty insurance subsidiaries announced they would be issuing $100 million in premium refunds to their Canadian auto insurance clients. The refunds are for eligible personal and commercial insurance clients, who will receive a refund between 25 per cent and 40 per cent of the premium they pay for one month, depending on their market realities. The refund will apply to policies for eligible personal and commercial vehicles.

All told, 2.1 million clients will automatically receive the refund through their usual payment method, so they don’t need to do anything.

More people are working from home than ever before. Combined with the extended lockdown, this means that travel has been limited and car accident risks have been reduced. Fewer accidents mean fewer claims to pay out, so Desjardins has decided to reflect this reality by issuing this refund to its clients.

“Even though we’re beginning to reopen our provinces and cities, the pandemic will continue to affect our members and clients. We’re proud to say that we’re still here for them in these unprecedented times. Right now, we’re able to give $100 million back to our auto insurance clients. This is just one of the many ways that Desjardins has helped its members and clients deal with COVID-19 since March 16,” said Guy Cormier, President and CEO of Desjardins Group.

Today’s announcement follows an initial refund of close to $50 million to auto insurance clients, bringing the total close to $150 million.

About Desjardins Group
Desjardins Group is the leading cooperative financial group in Canada and the sixth largest cooperative financial group in the world, with assets of $326.9 billion. It has been rated one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers by Mediacorp. To meet the diverse needs of its members and clients, Desjardins offers a full range of products and services to individuals and businesses through its extensive distribution network, online platforms and subsidiaries across Canada. Ranked among the world’s strongest banks according to The Banker magazine, Desjardins has some of the highest capital ratios and credit ratings in the industry.

SOURCE Desjardins Group

https://www.desjardins.com/

IBC Congratulates Ontario Government On Announcement to Increase Oversight of Towing Industry

TORONTO, June 29, 2020 /CNW/ – Today, the Ontario government announced the creation of a new task force to improve provincial oversight of the towing industry. The task force will help develop a regulatory model to increase safety and enforcement, clarify protections for consumers and improve towing industry standards. It will also consider tougher penalties for offenders.

“IBC applauds the Ontario government for taking action against criminal activity and violence in the towing industry,” said Kim Donaldson, Vice-President, Ontario, IBC. “Insurance fraud is a safety issue for consumers. Lives can be put at risk as a result of these criminal actions. Insurance fraud costs Canadians in higher insurance premiums, and strains our already burdened health care services, emergency services and court systems,” added Donaldson.

The task force will review a number of topics related to the towing industry, which could include provincial oversight of safety, consumer protection, improved industry standards, training and background checks.

As part of the review, the task force may consider opportunities for increased protections for consumers against the first-to-scene unethical business practices that lead to accident chasing, insurance savings through a crackdown on insurance fraud rings, and improved consumer choice for payments and repairs. The province is also reviewing ways to clear accidents faster from the roadside, which would minimize lane reductions and reduce congestion on Ontario highways.

About Insurance Bureau of Canada
Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.

P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 128,000 Canadians, pays $9.4 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $59.6 billion.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC’s Media Centre at www.ibc.ca. Follow us on Twitter @IBC_Ontario or like us on Facebook. If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

www.ibc.ca

SGI road tests re-open to everyone, effective today

SGI road tests re-open to everyone, effective today

Safety measures still in place; limited capacity and high demand for appointments expected

Appointments can be booked for all drivers who are required to take a road test for any class of driver’s licence or motorcycle endorsement.

Only drivers who have reached the required age and are fully eligible to take that test can request an appointment. Drivers must first purchase a road test receipt, which can be done by calling or visiting a motor licence issuer (find one near you here). Once they have the receipt, drivers must complete and submit the “Road Test Appointment Request” form on SGI’s website at www.sgi.sk.ca/covid-19, under the “Driver Testing” section.  Customers must have a receipt or they won’t be able to book an appointment.

Important notes: Drivers — and supervising drivers for Class 5 applicants – will also need to download and complete waivers to bring to their road test appointment. (Find the waivers under “Driver Testing” at www.sgi.sk.ca/covid-19.)

Drivers who wish to book a test are advised that testing capacity is still very limited due to stringent safety protocols which significantly reduces the number of tests that can be provided. Due to testing being unavailable or highly restricted for the past several months, it’s expected that there will be a high demand for road tests, so drivers are asked to be patient as they may still face a longer-than-normal wait.  Anyone who cannot get an appointment will be placed on a wait list and contacted via phone or email when an appointment becomes available.

Drivers who don’t have an urgent need to get their licence are asked to consider waiting to make their appointments in order to make more spots available to others with more pressing needs.

The COVID-19 pandemic shut down driver testing in all classes in mid-March.  SGI re-introduced road tests on a limited basis – with modified testing procedures to allow for physical distancing – with priority given for commercial Class 1 and 3 licences, then for Class 5, 4, and 2 licences for people who worked in health care or agriculture and applicants who had booked a driver’s exam prior to the COVID-19 shutdown.

“We are grateful for the patience of the thousands of learner drivers who have been unable to book road tests since mid-March,” said Penny McCune, Chief Operating Officer of the Auto Fund. “Saskatchewan was the first province to resume offering road tests of any kind and we are the first to re-open testing completely across all classes. We will continue to explore ways to increase our testing capacity, with a priority on keeping our customers and employees safe and not contributing to the spread of COVID-19.”

In order to serve as many customers as possible, examiners have been working overtime and SGI has hired additional staff. Testing is available in Regina (two locations), Saskatoon (two locations), Prince Albert, Swift Current, North Battleford, Yorkton, Meadow Lake, Humboldt, Weyburn, Kindersley, Lloydminster, Tisdale, Estevan and Moose Jaw.

Learner drivers who may have to wait several weeks for their appointment are also encouraged to use the extra time to practice with their supervising drivers and to study the Driver’s Handbook to increase their chances of passing.

For information on how other SGI services have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and what changes are happening, visit www.sgi.sk.ca/covid-19 and look under the “Driver Testing” section for information specific to driver exams.

 

Tyler McMurchy

Manager, Media Relations

SGI

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