ICBC expanding road test languages after Ukrainians forced to do test in Russian

Click to play video: 'ICBC driving test not offered in Ukrainian'
ICBC driving test not offered in Ukrainian
WATCH: A group of people helping Ukrainian refugees is asking ICBC to make a change. They say the driver's license test is offered in several languages including Russian, but not Ukrainian. Richard Zussman has more. – Mar 3, 2023

Ukrainians arriving in British Columbia will soon be able to write a driver’s licence test in their native language rather than Russian.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth told the legislature on Thursday he will be working with ICBC to expand the testing options.

“I will be ensuring that ICBC is able to provide the test for people in Ukrainian. Don’t worry. It will be done,” Farnworth said.

“I completely agree that asking (them) to write in Russian is just completely unacceptable.”

Click to play video: 'Ukrainians in B.C. one year after invasion'
Ukrainians in B.C. one year after invasion

There is no timeline yet on exactly when the change will take place, but the expectation is Ukrainian will be available at some point in the next few months.

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BC Liberal MLA Tom Shypitka told the legislature there are residents in his community willing to do the translation who were rebuffed by ICBC.

Shypitka raised the issue on Thursday, calling it “traumatic” and “insulting” to require Ukrainians to write the test in Russian.

British Columbia has welcomed thousands of people from Ukraine since the country was illegally invaded by Russia.

Click to play video: 'Volunteer group helping Ukrainian refugees makes plea for host families'
Volunteer group helping Ukrainian refugees makes plea for host families

The public insurer provides the written test in 11 different languages. Russian is one of the 11 languages available for driver test takers.

The insurer does provide telephone translation for those unable to speak one of the 11 languages, but it is cumbersome.

“The government and ICBC have cited costs as the reason for rejecting the addition of Ukrainian, and instead suggest using phone translation services, which are very cumbersome and disjointed, or taking the written test in Russian,” Shypitka said.


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