London

This Ontario dad's truck-driving career is stalled until drive-test centres reopen

Shayne Ridout set his sights on a new career driving trucks after losing his job at an auto-parts plant in Cambridge, Ont. But the 31-year-old first needs to earn his G licence, and road tests are still not allowed due to the pandemic.

Shayne Ridout, 31, lost Cambridge auto job last year and first needs G licence to become trucker

Shayne Ridout, with wife Jessica and children Benajmin, Noah and Elena, needs to pass another driving test to become a trucker, but has had to wait to start his new career because Ontario's road-testing centres are still shut as part of provincial pandemic rules. (Submitted by Jessica Marsland)

Shayne Ridout set his sights on a new career driving trucks after losing his job at an automotive-parts plant in Cambridge, Ont., but his dream has been stalled due to pandemic shutdowns.

"I know that there's a huge shortage of drivers and that there's lots of work," said the father of three. "I feel like it's something that I am very interested in doing, something I can be proud to call my career."

With drive-test centres still closed, he only has a G2 driver's licence and needs to pass another road test before he can pursue a trucking career.

It's incredibly frustrating and disheartening to be stopped by something so small."​​​​- Shayne Ridout

The centres are tentatively slated to open June 14 under Step 1 of Ontario's roadmap for reopening, but there's an extensive backlog of people also waiting for road testing. 

In January, The Ontario Ministry of Transportation announced it would be hiring 84 new examiners to help clear the backlog, but only 35 examiners have come onboard so far.

Ridout lost his job at an automotive-parts factory in Cambridge, Ont., when the pandemic began. (Submitted by Jessica Marsland)

While he waits, Ridout has supported his family by working temporary jobs and collecting employment insurance. He and his wife and children have also moved in with Ridout's in-laws in St. Thomas.

It's all pretty stressful, he said.

"My wife has emailed [Premier] Doug Ford with no response," said Ridout who also hopes to attend a training course down the road.

Ridout said he's frustrated.

"I'm hoping to get a job, be making good money, get benefits back. I don't have any benefits for myself, my wife, my children. I'm living with my in-laws. We definitely would like to have our own place again," he said.

"It's incredibly frustrating and disheartening to be stopped by something so small."

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rebecca Zandbergen

Host, London Morning

Rebecca Zandbergen is from Ottawa and has worked for CBC Radio across the country for more than 20 years, including stops in Iqaluit, Halifax, Windsor and Kelowna.

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