McDonell launches petition for local drivers singled out for ‘functional assessments’

MPP Jim McDonell. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

QUEEN’S PARK – Local MPP Jim McDonell launched a petition today calling on the provincial government to guarantee the delivery of driver ‘functional assessments’ within the United Counties of SDG and a reduction in the fees charged for the service.

The issue is of particular importance to local motorists singled out for a functional assessment — often the elderly or those recovering from a health issue.

“Seniors, Ontarians recovering from a stroke and many other drivers are forced to submit to a functional assessment in order to preserve their right to drive,” the MPP explained. “A functional assessment for a resident of Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry today involves driving over 1.5 hours away to Ottawa or Smiths Falls, taking a road test with an accompanying occupational therapist and paying in excess of $800 for the privilege. For those recovering from an illness, and seniors and Ontarians on fixed incomes, this is an unaffordable sum.”

The Ministry of Transportation insists that functional assessments can’t be delivered in Cornwall or SD&G because there were no local bidders for the relevant contract tender, according to McDonell.

“The ministry should focus on service,” he countered. “If local suppliers are unwilling to bid, it is the Ministry’s duty to work pro-actively with communities, hospitals, clinics and others to find a solution that would see these services delivered where the people need them. We have trained professionals locally in our hospitals and we should look at utilizing them for this important service.”

McDonell has launched a petition, available to print or sign online at asking the government to work with communities to establish functional assessment delivery in the area and to ensure its coverage under OHIP.

The MPP has previously advocated on the related issue of timely testing of rural drivers age 80 and over.


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