Ontario licence offices class-action lawsuit approved

Several hundred driver’s licence and vehicle registration offices can move forward with a class-action lawsuit against the Ontario government for alleged under-compensation.

The decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice identifies the private licensers as a class, giving them permission to continue the lawsuit launched last October.

Most of the province’s driver and licence bureaus are privately owned and work under government contracts, which they claim do not adequately cover basic costs like rent and staffing.

Close to 90 per cent of all driver and vehicle licensing transactions in the province are made through these private offices.

The private issuers are looking for compensation reaching back to 2003, and want to renegotiate their current contract with the government.

David Sterns, a lawyer for the licence issuers, says the demand for new services has increased over the years and private issuers have not been compensated for the extra work.

The current contract meets the needs of the government and the community, Sterns says, but leaves the owners of the “mom-and-pop” offices unable to operate.

It would be inappropriate for ServiceOntario to comment as this matter is currently before the courts,” said Alan Cairns, a spokesman for ServiceOntario.

The allegations have not been proven in court.