‘Is this 1978?’: B.C. man renewing licence says ICBC lost his fax three times

Click to play video: 'B.C. man struggles with ICBC to renew commercial licence'
B.C. man struggles with ICBC to renew commercial licence
A B.C. man says ICBC has been giving him the runaround when it comes to renewing his commercial driver's licence. Dean Germo says he's faxed in the required medical documents at least 3 different times over the past 14 months, but each time, ICBC said it never received them. Aaron McArthur reports – Jan 23, 2023

A B.C. man says he has been trying to get his Class 1 driver’s licence renewed through ICBC for more than a year.

Until recently, Dean Germo had a licence that he used to help friends and neighbours haul equipment or drive big trucks.

Click to play video: 'ICBC Class 1 licence debacle'
ICBC Class 1 licence debacle

At the end of 2021, Germo received a letter in the mail saying he had to renew his medical, which is due every three years and required to hold a Class 1 licence.

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He did that and then faxed it to ICBC as he has done in the past.

“So I don’t hear anything for months,” Germo said. “Four months later, I got a letter in the mail saying that they don’t have my medical form and they’re going to take away my licence if I don’t have my medical done. So I phoned ICBC. ICBC says, ‘Oh well, we didn’t get it and we have lost quite a few of them, so maybe try and send it again’.”

Germo then phoned his doctor and his doctor sent it again to ICBC. He said he did not hear anything so he assumed everything is fine.

He was not able to email the form and was told he had to fax it.

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His five-year licence was set to expire on Nov. 14 so he went down to ICBC on Nov. 8 to renew it and was told they cannot renew it because they do not have the medical form.

His doctor then sent the form again.

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Germo wanted someone at ICBC to call RoadSafetyBC, where the faxes are also received, and make sure the form showed up through the fax while he was still in the office. He said he was told it does not just show up, it has to “work its way through the system.”

“And I said, ‘You know what, I’ll tell my doctor, I’ll come there right now and drive to the doctor’s office, you give me a copy of it, I’ll bring the hard copy and put it in their hands’,” he said.

“And they’re telling me at ICBC from now on, you should always bring the hard copy because (the forms are) going missing all over.”

If Germo does that, he gets handed a 60-day permit to drive on the temporary licence.

He said he was told it could be six weeks for the licence to show up. He went on vacation and assumed it would be waiting for him when he got back, but it wasn’t.

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“So now my temporary 60-day permit is going to expire in three days,” he said. “I phoned ICBC again and they said, ‘Oh, we’re way behind. You’re going to have to go stand in line at ICBC again to get in there because the booking is two weeks down.”

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Meanwhile, Germo was battling a lung infection and had to go and stand in line at ICBC for an hour and a half.

“And what are they telling me? ‘We can’t give you another temporary licence and we shouldn’t be giving you this one because we don’t have a copy of your medical form’,” he explained.

“And I said, ‘I faxed it three times and I physically put it in your hands the last time I was here. That’s why he gave me the temporary licence’. So I said, ‘Not only that, the guy that gave it to me just walked by behind you at your desk. Ask him. He knows who I am because we were talking about the same gun shop we go to’.”

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As it turns out, the man who processed Germo’s previous form does not usually work in that position so he did not click the box in his file to say he accepted the form

“So now they said they can’t give me my licence again.”

He was told ICBC was going to downgrade his licence to a Class 5 as the employee did not click the correct box.

“I said no, I didn’t do anything. I haven’t had a ticket in 25 years. I haven’t done anything wrong and now you’re going to downgrade my licence and I need it,” Germo said.

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He now has a Class 5 licence.

“I can’t even tow my trailer with my bobcat nothing, because that’s a heavy trailer and I don’t have that even.”

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In a statement to Global News, ICBC said they were sorry for the delay and confirmed Germo now has his licence upgraded to a Class 1.

“Mr. Germo completed his required medical exam and submitted his Drivers Medical Examination Report (DMER) at our driver licensing office in Surrey in November last year, and the DMER was also faxed to RoadSafetyBC,” the company said in the statement.

“Unfortunately, RoadSafetyBC cannot confirm receiving the DMER and it wasn’t documented that we had received the report at our driver licensing office. This led to Mr. Germo’s Class 1 driver’s licence being downgraded to a Class 5 licence as the medical information wasn’t documented and the Class 1 licence expired.”

Germo questioned RoadSafetyBC as to why the form had to be faxed.

“Is this 1978?” he said. “You know, we’re using antiquated technology. If I would have emailed it, I would have a chain I can follow and see when I sent it, where it went to, and everything.”

He was later told forms are faxed to protect medical information.

“Right, the fax they lost three times with my personal medical information on,” Germo said.

He was told it would be at least 15 days before ICBC would be able to look at his case. But after he told them he was contacting Global News, he received a call on Friday from the manager of ICBC in Victoria and was told she would take responsibility for the incidents, but she still needed him to go to his doctor’s office, get a copy of the form again and fax it to her.

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“I said, ‘Seriously, I gotta fax it in again, like, it’s just unreal,” Germo said.

“Why is the onus on me? You should be coming to my door and giving me my licence.

“It’s totally frustrating.”

He said he is going to email and fax ICBC the form because he wants to get his Class 1 licence again.

“This is coming on 15 months since I sent the first medical,” he added.

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