Without safety evaluations or cabinet approval, the province’s auditor general found that a decision to eliminate certain elements from the G-class driving test was made without proper policy analysis in the province’s 2023 AGR. According to the AGR, the test changes, which removed “duplicate” elements such as “emergency stops,” “three-point turns” and “conventional parallel parking,” were made without the support of the government’s own policy analysis. The changes were made to address a backlog of “hundreds of thousands” of appointments resulting from closures due to the corona-virus pandemic. At the time, the changes were only temporary, but the government announced in June 2022 that the modified test will remain in place “permanently” due to “high demand” across Ontario. Caroline Mulroney at the time said that the maneuvers removed from the test would make the process more efficient, but the changes are still included in the standard G-2 tests.
According to the auditor general’s report, around 54,000 foreign drivers, who can skip the G2 if they hold a Canadian driver’s licence, are not being tested for these skills in Ontario. They were not assessed for important skills like parallel parking, turning at intersections, or driving in close proximity to pedestrians. The auditor general’s report states that the ministry responded to the minister’s request in 2020 to reduce the 500,000 passenger road test backlog by funding 84 extra driver examiners. However, according to the report, the ministry at the time did not believe that reducing the G highway road test requirements would be a good idea because it ‘required extensive policy analysis’, including whether the changes would have ‘impacts on road safety.’
The report states that the Ministry evaluated the modified test by looking at the pass-fail rate of the test, as well as the at-fault rate of newly licensed drivers in G-class. The auditor general found this to be an inefficient way to evaluate the test. The report states that examiners have a “pass rate target” that makes the province’s 71% pass rate for full or reduced G road tests unreliable. According to the report, supervisors told us that examiners whose average weekly pass rate deviated significantly from the average (by 15% or more) would be given a performance review. This meant that examiners had an incentive to get consistent pass rates. The auditor general found that the Ministry should review the modified road test to determine if all drivers should continue to be tested for a full license, or if there is another option that is more suitable.
The audit found that first-time drivers who attended these programs and took the time discount had a higher rate of accidents than those who didn’t. However, driving education is not compulsory or required prior to taking a driving test. According to the report, the government believes that making it mandatory “may interfere with the role and accountability of parents in educating their children on safe driving practices.”