Tuesday, April 16, 2024
Screen grab from CBC's undercover camera videotaping a driving instructor explaining how students pay to receive forged certificates which state they have received training they did not receive. Photo: CBC

Driving schools selling certificates, forged documents in CBC undercover report

“Biggest lesson? It’s easy to cheat the system”

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) sent reporters with hidden cameras undercover to expose driving schools selling fraudulent certificates for cash. The result was angry instructors, with at least one sending threatening texts to the reporter.

CBC’s Marketplace called 20 driving school instructors in Ontario who posted online ads offering beginner driver education (BDE) lessons. Fourteen of them, or 70 per cent, offered to help break licensing rules, Marketplace says in a story posted to its website March 6th.

To obtain a BDE certificate, a new driver must complete 10 hours of in-car lessons, 20 hours of in-class theory and 10 hours of homework with the driving school. It typically costs between $650 and $1,500. New drivers who can prove they’ve completed a BDE course in Ontario are then eligible to take their road test sooner, and may receive insurance discounts of up to 30 per cent once they have their licence.

“But many schools and instructors said they would file information with Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation without students completing the course — for less than half the cost of the actual course,” Marketplace notes. One woman told the reporter her school had been submitting false documents to the Ontario government for 15 years.

Transportation Minister Prabmeet Sarkaria said the situation was “unacceptable.” Ontario’s Auditor General Shelley Spence told the CBC that her office would like to see the province re-institute the “Secret Shopper” system it cancelled during COVID.