ICBC cancelling all road tests due to COVID-19

March 17, 2020

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic in British Columbia, ICBC is taking a number of measures to protect the health and safety of its customers, partners and employees. These measures include suspending all driver road tests effective today, March 17, 2020, in line with public health recommendations around social distancing.

All motorcycle, passenger, and commercial road tests are cancelled until further notice. ICBC will reassess the situation in two weeks, taking into account public health recommendations and other operational considerations at that time.

All impacted customers scheduled to take road tests over the next week are being notified by ICBC that their appointment has been cancelled. ICBC will do its best to accommodate those impacted in rescheduling once ICBC returns to full operations.

ICBC undertakes approximately 7,500 road tests a week across the province. The tests, in most cases, involve ICBC driver examiners conducting a driving examination in an individual’s vehicle, in addition to some interaction at the Driver Licensing Office front counter. The cancellation of all road tests for the next two weeks impacts approximately 15,000 road tests.

Customers with scheduled road tests are encouraged to visit icbc.com for more information or to call 1-800-950-1498.

Other precautionary measures ICBC is taking to ensure the health and safety of our customers and staff include:

At all ICBC offices:

  • Continuing to direct any customers who are sick or have travelled outside Canada (in the last 14 days) not to enter any of our offices, and turning away customers if needed

  • Requesting people to pay traffic tickets or other fines via phone or mail, not in person

  • Limiting the number of customers in office waiting areas

  • Increasing cleaning and sanitization in all our facilities and offices

At Driver Licensing Offices:

  • Asking COVID-19 screening questions

At claims centres:

  • Restricting appointments and drop-in visits to urgent transactions only

At head office:

  • Suspending walk-in service for vehicle insurance customers

ICBC continues to review our operations as the situation evolves to support the safety of our customers and employees, including reviewing of opportunities in which brokers can issue and renew insurance policies over the phone.  More information will be provided on any changes to our operations as soon as possible.

ICBC is committed to following the recommendations from federal and provincial public health agencies in consultation with government. Please visit the BC Centre for Disease Control website (bccdc.ca) for more information on COVID-19 including preventative measures and when to seek medical attention.

Ignore Them, They’ll Go Away

delete keyLast September the Parents Advisory Committee (PAC) at the Ecole Oceanside Elementary School in Parksville asked me to help establishing a crossing guard program for what they considered to be a dangerous intersection at one corner of the school grounds. In past, the principal had raised the issue of liability concerns that needed to be looked into and that was the end of the conversation.

This year, with a little bit of research and advice from another school that had a crossing guard program this program was backed by the new principal. The request made it as far as school district’s Operations and Maintenance / Transportation manager according to the PAC, where it stalled yet again.

The head of the PAC has now stopped responding to requests for an update on the progress of their project.

The strategy of Ignore Them, They’ll Go Away seems to have been successfully adopted by many levels of government today. From the perspective of gathering information for this site, RoadSafetyBC is the worst, TranBC along with the RCMP are somewhere in the middle and ICBC has been the best, although they are now beginning to ignore e-mail requests as well.

In all cases, if you agenda matches theirs, information is forthcoming, often surprisingly quickly. The people at RoadSafetyBC spent a lot of effort assisting me in creating a unit on the Enhanced Road Assessment for my ElderCollege course. However, ask if there has been any follow up research on 2015’s B.C. Communities Road Safety Survey to see if there have been improvements and the e-mail enters a black hole.

At this point I would even be happy with an auto response telling me that my message has been received. It would be a simple matter to include information about how requests are triaged and what to do if a response is not received within a reasonable amount of time.

When I was working in traffic enforcement I was occasionally reminded by the driver I was dealing with that they were the ones that paid my wages. Yes, I did work for them but sometimes that work was not what they wanted me to be doing. Still, they had a point and I had an obligation. Government seems to forget this too.

On the other hand, I can imagine that with the ability to e-mail some government contacts being so simple, many of us do it. There must be a huge volume of e-mail to deal with and people do make mistakes.

To come full circle to the PAC request, if they considered their crossing guard program and decided that it was the best solution, they should be prepared to persist in the face of silence. The group should not quit until they are either successful or are shown that there is a better way to deal with the problem.

Canada’s largest airlines waiving fees to change flights because of coronavirus

By Ross Marowits

THE CANADIAN PRESS

TORONTO _ Canada’s largest airlines are waiving change fees in light of concerns about the novel coronavirus.

Air Canada says a one-time change is permitted for tickets purchased from the airline between March 4 and March 31 for travel within 12 months.

It also applies to Aeroplan flight reward bookings and Air Canada Vacations has implemented flexible booking policies.

WestJet Airlines Ltd. says the one-time change fee waiver applies to new bookings made between March 5 and March 31.

Air Transat has two policies, including one that applies to Venice, a hot spot for the virus called COVID-19. All customers who booked flights on or before March 2 for travel until June 30 can change their date or destination for a trip until Oct. 31.

Other passengers travelling outside the eco budget fare class can change their travel dates, destination or hotel at no charge for bookings made between March 4 and March 31 for travel through Oct. 31.

“Although almost all of our destinations are very safe and the government of Canada’s advisories currently affect only one of our destinations located in northern Italy, we are aware that the outbreak and progression of the coronavirus may raise questions and even concerns among some travellers,” Transat said in a news release.

“The situation is evolving rapidly, and in order to reassure travellers and enable our clients to carry out their travel plans, we are offering them peace of mind by deploying a highly advantageous flexibility policy.”

Most airlines will waive the fee for changes made at least 14 days before travel. However, Transat passengers can change their booking up to 24 hours before departure.

All airlines require passengers to pay any fare difference between the original and new flights.

Sunwing says its destinations have not been impacted to date but its waiver applies to all new bookings made March 4-19 for flights until June 24.

Sunwing passengers can purchase insurance starting at $50 per person that provides full cancellation coverage up until three hours before departure for any reason.

HUB International buys Morneau Shepell’s benefits consulting business for $70M

TORONTO _ Insurance brokerage HUB International Ltd. has signed a deal to acquire Morneau Shepell Inc.’s benefits consulting practice.

Morneau Shepell says Hub paid $70 million for the business.

Chief executive Stephen Liptrap says Morneau Shepell made the decision to sell the business after a comprehensive review.

He says the benefits consulting business is a strong, profitable asset and a great fit for Hub.

JP Girard, Morneau Shepell’s health and benefits consulting Canadian practice leader, has joined Hub as an executive vice-president.

Chicago-based Hub is a global insurance broker that provides property and casualty insurance, health and life insurance, employee benefits, investment and risk management products and services.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2020.

Driving on the Shoulder

No Driving on Shoulder SignOur highways are not for the exclusive use of motor vehicles. Bicycles, pedestrians, equestrians and others may be expected to use their fair share of the highway as well. In fact, in some ways the shoulder of the road could be considered to be their domain and not that of the driver.

The shoulder of the highway is the area to the right of the solid white line at the right side of the roadway, or the part of the highway to the right of the pavement if that solid white line is not present. The roadway is between the center of the highway and the shoulder.

Drivers must drive on the roadway, not the shoulder. Passing on the right off of the roadway and driving on the shoulder to allow others to pass are common violations of this rule.

Many drivers regularly fail to confine the path of their vehicle to the roadway, particularly in curves, putting both themselves and those on the shoulder at risk. This can be easy to identify when the inside of a corner is kept free of gravel or the shoulder line is worn away in comparison to nearby straight roadway.

Bicycle riders are required to ride as near as is practical to the right side of the highway, but not on the sidewalk or off of the pavement. This most often means that cyclists will be found on the paved shoulder of the road.

Pedestrians must not walk on the roadway if there is a sidewalk present. If they choose not to use the sidewalk when only one side of the road has one, walking on the shoulder opposite is acceptable.

Horses and horse drawn vehicles are required to use the roadway just like the drivers of cars and trucks. Riders may choose to use the shoulder to yield the right of way to faster motor vehicles in the same fashion that a slow driver would.

Just as a child learns to colour properly by staying within the lines, so must the driver. Staying between the lines is a required skill that will serve you and other highway users well during your driving career. It will also save wear and tear on the lines themselves, leaving them easy to see as a guide for others.

Reference Links:

B.C. making preparations to tackle coronavirus now present in 39 countries

VICTORIA _ British Columbia’s provincial health officer says plans are in the works to expand the province’s battle against the novel coronavirus, which has been diagnosed in seven people.

Dr. Bonnie Henry said Tuesday the World Health Organization has not listed the outbreak as a pandemic, but the situation is changing, with confirmed cases in 39 countries.

Among the seven people in B.C. with COVID-19, five are doing well and have either recovered or are near recovery, she said. The other two people with COVID-19 are listed as stable in isolation at their home.

Henry said the seventh case is a man in his 40s who is a close contact of the sixth case, a woman in her 30s whose diagnosis was confirmed last week after returning from Iran.

In the coming days, Henry said B.C. will ramp up its public awareness campaign reminding people about measures to fight COVID-19, including staying home from work or school and not attending mass gatherings if they are sick.

The plan will also stress vigilance by international travellers who may be sick upon arriving in Canada.

“We are thinking about what is different if we move to having widespread transmission in countries around the world, having widespread transmission of this in Canada and here in B.C.,” said Henry. “We are making plans with our health-care system and with our partners across government.”

Henry said the elderly would be most at risk of contracting the novel coronavirus if it starts to spread.0.

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