With a tentative agreement reached over the weekend, it appears the local “DriveTest” centre, along with those across the province, will be re-opening early in the New Year after being on strike since August.
An e-mail to The Canadian Press from Paul Dalglish, DriveTest’s managing director, indicated most centres, including the one in Fort Frances, will re-open Jan. 4 at 1 p.m.
DriveTest’s “Travel points,” located in smaller communities like Rainy River and Atikokan, will re-open Jan. 5.
The company also is expected to hire 100 new employees in the next four weeks to deal with the backlog, although there’s no word whether additional workers will be hired at the local office.
Dalglish also indicated in the e-mail that people should wait a few weeks before making an appointment as the company deals with those who missed their tests during the four-month walkout.
There is an estimated backlog of about 300,000 people waiting for tests and re-certifications.
People have been unable to get new drivers’ licences or renewals since August, when 93 exam centres across the province closed due to contract disputes over job security, wages, and seniority with the union that represents the province’s 590 DriveTest employees.
Non-striking managers had opened 12 centres in November and December so commercial drivers could get their licences for work purposes.