Ontario Driver Examination Services 101


The ministry takes the responsibility of managing the safety of our roads very seriously. Our driver exam system is successful and proven. We also have some of the highest testing standards in the world. These standardized testing requirements mean that you, as a student driver will have to meet the same driving benchmarks, regardless of where in Ontario you take your road test. Our system is designed to make sure only fully-qualified drivers are licensed to drive on our roads.

Driver examination services are delivered by our service provider, Serco DES Inc., with 94 DriveTest locations across the province.  Every year, DriveTest conducts over 1.3 million knowledge and road tests.

Ontario roads consistently rank among the safest in North America and a large part of the credit goes to our strong driver exam system. This is why we closely and consistently monitor our DriveTest centres – to ensure their services are delivered according to the ministry’s rigorous customer service and licensing standards.

DriveTest provides road tests for 12 different classes of motor vehicles (passenger, motorcycle, tractor trailer, etc.) and provides licensing services for everyone including seniors, repeat traffic offenders, those who have medical conditions and novice drivers in the Graduated Licensing System.

DriveTest staff undergo intensive training from day one. Training for Customer Service Agents covers all aspects of vision and knowledge testing, licensing transactions and principles of customer service. Staff are also trained to recognize fraudulent documentation and they receive on-going, regular refreshers as part of their training.

New Driver Examiners must participate in intensive classroom training covering all aspects of conducting G1 class road tests. They also receive training in intervention techniques and customer service principles. As an examiner gains experience, they take further specialized training to become qualified in conducting more complex road tests such as those required for G2, buses and tractor trailer licenses. Experienced examiners get further qualified by taking the International Driver Examiner Certification.

DriveTest Centres are operated on the principle that there’s always room for improvement.  We work with Serco on an on-going basis to immediately and effectively address and correct any concerns raised from the monthly monitoring reports. They are audited up to 10 times per year, using 92 performance standards that focus on: 

  • Customer service
  • Wait times
  • Hours of operation
  • Visual identity standards
  • Complaint resolution
  • French language service

Additional consumer safeguards include:

  • Data integrity
  • Protection of personal information
  • Fraud prevention
  • Security checks on all DriveTest staff
  • Full compliance with all operational policies when conducting driver examinations

How do I know my driving tests are fair?  

New Driver Examiners must participate in intensive classroom training covering all aspects of conducting G1 class road tests. They also receive training in intervention techniques and customer service principles. As an examiner gains experience, they take further specialized training to become qualified in conducting more complex road tests such as those required for G2, buses and tractor trailers licenses. Experienced examiners get further qualified by taking the International Driver Examiner Certification.

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How do you ensure that Serco treats its customers well?

High standards for road safety, consumer safeguards and customer service are the guiding principles of our driver examination program.  We work diligently with Serco to ensure that only eligible and qualified drivers are licensed to drive.  Results from the 2009 customer survey indicate that our overall customer service rating is high with an overall score of 87.2%. Some of the areas covered in our reviews of DriveTest centres that contribute to customer satisfaction include:

  • Wait times within each centre
  • Annual customer service surveys
  • Comment cards
  • Hours of operation
  • Visual identity standards
  • Complaint resolution
  • French language service
  • Wait time to obtain a road test appointment

Through Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act and binding contract requirements with Serco, we have put in place stringent controls over how driver examination services are delivered. The Ministry issues the policies that Serco must follow and sets the guidelines and performance standards by which their delivery is measured.

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How does the ministry make sure that we put only safe drivers on our roads?

At each stage of the licensing process – from verifying your identification through to completing your road test - ministry policies and standards are in place to ensure that your progress and achievement is fairly and consistently evaluated using our proven examination procedures.   Serco must follow these policies and standards when delivering driver examination services.  The ministry regularly reviews Serco’s compliance with these policies and standards.

Some of the areas covered in our reviews of DriveTest centres that contribute to road safety include:

  • Consumer safeguards and operational integrity
    • Data integrity and information security
    • Protection of personal information
    • Security checks on all staff
    • Compliance with operational policy requirements
    • Random assignment of examiners to road tests
    • Acceptance of only appropriate supporting identification
    • Accurate recording of applicant information and test results
  • The same manoeuvres must be successfully completed in every road test
  • Supervisors must conduct regular ride-along inspections with examiners
  • Monitoring and resolving test marking and/or discrepancies in consistency
  • Ongoing training for customer service agents and driver examiners to refresh and keep up-to-date on changes to policy, standards and practices

Ministry policies, standards and practices ensure that all driver examination services are complete, accurate and have integrity.

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How often does MTO monitor Serco’s service?

Each month, ministry staff visit between 35 to 55 different DriveTest locations.  Each DriveTest Centre is audited up to 10 times per year. Any centre not visited in the current month becomes a priority for a visit the following month.

Certain tests are conducted at every visit, including:

  • Verification of identification
  • Original licence transactions
  • Issuing Temporary Driver’s Licences
  • Photo verification/licensing
  • Vision testing
  • Knowledge testing
  • Road test booking
  • Random Examiner allocation
  • Road tests
  • Out-of-Province and Out-of-Country exchanges
  • Medical information
  • Business hours
  • Customer comment card availability
  • Information security

This is just a sampling of the full list of more than 90 standards that we regularly monitor.  Some observations, such as wait times to get a road test appointment and pass-fail rates, are made by the Driver Examination Services Office.

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What happens after you do your audits?

Once an audit has been completed by the Ministry, we send Serco reports on our observations. Serco reviews these reports and corrective action is taken where appropriate.  We work closely with Serco to regularly review the delivery of driver examination services, making changes where needed.

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