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March 20, 1997
(Government Services and Lands)

Budget Measures - Government Services and Lands

As part of its Budget measures, the Department of Government Services and Lands will eliminate its Residential Tenancies Boards, introduce a one licence plate program for private passenger vehicles, introduce a one validation sticker program for all vehicles, and privatize driver examinations within six months.

Residential Tenancies Boards
Commenting on the decision to eliminate the tenancies boards, Ernest McLean, Minister of Government Services and Lands said: "I believe that this measure will be viewed favourably by landlords and tenants alike. Disputes will be resolved in a simpler, less formal and less intimidating manner. Also, court time will be saved as complaints and decisions will not have to be registered through the court system, and the $50 court fee will be eliminated.

"Tenants in particular have complained about having to pay this fee and about the court process. Officials of the court have also raised concerns about the court time taken up by the current process.

"While disputes will now be handled by the Residential Tenancies Division of the department, landlords and tenants will still have the right to appeal to the courts."

One plate program for private passenger vehicles/one sticker program for all vehicles
Initially, the one licence plate program will apply to passenger vehicles. Further evaluation will be carried out before a decision is made with respect to commercial vehicles. The one sticker program will apply to all vehicles.

Mr. McLean said: "Seven of 12 Canadian jurisdictions use the one licence plate concept. A number of jurisdictions that still use two plates, use only one sticker, displayed on the rear plate.

"This measure will also enable the general public to display personalized plates on the front of their vehicles and it will be a boost for the vanity plate business."

Driver examinations
The department has announced its intention to privatize driver examinations within six months.

Mr. McLean said: "Government believes that this service can be provided by the private sector without any loss in levels of service. In fact, levels of service may increase because privatized services may be offered in areas which do not currently receive direct services and offices may be open outside of regular hours.

"While government will lose revenues from fees, there will be a net savings to government due to reduction in operational costs.

"Existing staff will be pre-qualified to provide this service and the department will hold discussions with existing staff to determine if they are interested in providing a privatized service."

Contact: Rick Callahan, Director of Communications, (709) 729-4860.

1997 03 20   5:45 p.m.

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