London, Ontario — Driving instructors in the London, Ont., area have revealed that many new drivers are looking to buy fraudulent Beginner Driver Education (BDE) certificates rather than earn them themselves.
Rather than completing training at an official driving school, driving instructors have reported to CBC News that young drivers are seeking out forged “Ontario-approved” BDE certificates that help to lower insurance rates.
One such ministry-approved instructor, Carmel Tse, an owner at iPass Driving School, originally told CBC News, “I have some customers asking me, ‘Do you sell certificates?’ It’s [an] indictable offence in Canada; fraudulent documentation.”
This same opinion was reiterated by Faith Morphy, a centre director at Young Drivers of Canada in London, Ont., who further noted that “it’s very unfortunate in our industry because then we also get people who say, ‘Why does Young Drivers of Canada cost more? Well, we don’t sell certificates. We don’t have a secondary business out our backdoor selling certificates.”
Driving courses in Ontario typically cost between $500 to $1,000, but a fraudulent BDE certificate can cost around $150.
The Ontario Ministry of Transportation responded to driving instructor concerns by saying that the BDE program plays an important role in supporting Ontario’s road safety priorities.
As a result of ongoing concerns, many of those working as driving instructors in Ontario believe that the province needs to put more checks and balances in place, agreeing that fake BDE certificates undermine the efforts of those who legitimately earn it, while also putting others on the road at risk by creating the potential for less knowledgeable drivers and thus more collisions.