Alberta driver examiners walk off job over disagreement on industry de-privatization

Driver examiners in Alberta are off the job Thursday after threatening to withhold services if the province didn’t meet their demands as the Alberta government prepares to take back control of the industry.

Pete Llewellyn with the Certified Driver Examiners Association says the examiners’ demand for fair market value for their businesses fell on deaf ears, and the government is not going to buy them out.

Llewellyn said the examiners plan to withhold services for two weeks, and whether that goes longer depends on the province.

“Two previous letters that we had sent in to [government officials], they had come back with no compensation,” Llewellyn told Danielle Smith on Tuesday.

“We finally sent in a third letter to the minister asking that we would have a meeting with him because the government officials had said no to us. The third letter seemed to ring a bell with him because we had threatened litigation and making this a political issue.”

LISTEN: Pete Llewellyn of the Certified Driver Examiners Association joins Danielle Smith to discuss previous meetings with Alberta’s transportation minister

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Llewellyn argued that Transportation Minister Brian Mason’s office seems not to view driver examination as a legitimate business, despite ongoing business-related taxation.

“You’ve been taking taxes off us — both provincial and federal corporate taxes — so how do you not think that we’re a business when you take taxes away from us?” Llewellyn said.

“And yet, in our driver examiner manual, it says they recognize that there are businesses in the industry.”

Llewellyn said Tuesday that offers of becoming a provincial employee miss out on the value examiners feel they have built up in their businesses.

“Just because you’re offering me a job doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t be compensated for my business. A business and a job are two different… They’re apples and oranges.”

He says it’s up to each individual examiner to decide if they want to withhold service, and Llewellyn is hoping for up to 80 per cent compliance.

What does that mean for people waiting to complete driving tests?

“They’ll be put off for a while,” Llewellyn said. “The government… Is well aware. We sent them a letter. They’re aware of the work stoppage.

“What we’re telling people, if you’re not happy with not getting a test, call Mr. Mason’s office and tell him you’re not happy,” Llewellyn said.

Global News has reached out to the province for comment.

More to come.

—With files from Emily Mertz and Adam Toy

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