Sudbury

Ontario G1 driver's licence test now available in 3 Indigenous languages

Three Indigenous languages are now options for anyone taking their G1 driver's licence test in Ontario.

Written and audio versions of test available in 27 languages, including Ojibway, Oji-Cree and Cree

The Ministry of Transportation now offers G1 driver's licence knowledge tests in Ojibway, Oji-Cree and Cree at all of its DriveTest Centres across Ontario (CBC)

The knowledge test to get a G1 driver's licence in Ontario is available in 27 different languages — and Ojibway, Oji-Cree and Cree are the most recent additions.

The Ministry of Transportation (MTO) now offers written and audio versions of the knowledge tests in the languages, and are available at MTO DriveTest locations across the province. That includes remote delivery of driver testing in northern, fly-in First Nation communities.

Applicants can access the G1 driver's licence test electronically or in an audio format, with printed copies available upon request.

"I think it's important and I think it's meaningful for Ojibway language speakers who want inclusivity and equity," says Dominic Beaudry, an Indigenous language and cultural educator on Manitoulin Island. He speaks Anishinaabemowin, also known as Ojibwe.

"I think the government's going forward in the right direction," he added.

Dominic Beaudry is an Indigenous language and cultural educator on Manitoulin Island, who speaks Anishinaabemowin, also called Ojibwe. (Twitter/DhkBeau)

Beaudry says Indigenous people want their languages to be included in everyday activities, like getting a driver's licence.

"It makes you feel like your language is valued and that your language can also be used as a working language," he said.

In an email to CBC news, the MTO says the languages were added for several reasons, including the Indigenous Languages Act, which passed in 2019. The act supports the efforts of Indigenous peoples to reclaim, revitalize, maintain and strengthen their languages.

The initiative is also in response to the Calls to Action recommend by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, as well as the Calls for Justice from the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls National Inquiry, which emphasize the need to preserve Indigenous languages as a fundamental element of Indigenous culture, society and identities.

The ministry worked with the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and the Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, to translate the material.

Beaudry says adding these languages to the driver-licensing process will be embraced by Indigenous youth.

"They want to see their culture and language presented in meaningful ways, that way they feel included in the community," he said.

"I teach Ojibway language to students, it would be great for my students to get to a level where they're comfortable in speaking the language — and the ability to get their driver's license in Ojibwe language would be awesome."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Angela Gemmill

Journalist

Angela Gemmill is a CBC journalist who has covered news in Sudbury, Ont., for 14 years. Connect with her on Twitter @AngelaGemmill. Send story ideas to angela.gemmill@cbc.ca

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