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McComb Witten Marcoux

Are new drivers welcome in the Lower Mainland?

Jeffrey S. Witten, B.A., LL.B.
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Personal Injury Lawyer at McComb Witten Marcoux

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What a mess!

There’s a story in today’s Province which shines a light on how people with driver’s license issued in China are being caught in the cross-fire as a result of a disagreement between ICBC and the RCMP.

Here’s the issue … is it legal to drive in BC with a license issued by the People’s Republic of China?

ICBC says yes.

The RCMP says no.

So which is it?

Given that roughly 20% of the Lower Mainland’s population is Chinese it’s a big issue. One with potentially serious consequences for those affected. They face a $276 fine and the prospect of their car being towed if they’re caught behind the wheel with a Chinese driving licence.

Worse than that, think about the message it sends to people we should be welcoming with open arms.

Put yourself in their shoes.

You’ve just arrived in Canada from China. And you’re trying to come to grips with your new life.

Friends and relatives have told you that you need to drive in order to function in B.C.’s Lower Mainland. After all it’s huge.

So you ask around, do your research and head down to ICBC. After all, you’ve been told that ICBC deals with “everything to do with driving” in B.C.

And after you’ve stood in line for what seems like a decade, the lady you speak to gives you the green light.

“Yup, you can use your license from China for 90 days. That’ll give you time to get a B.C. driver’s license…”

So off you go. And everything was fine until you got pulled over by the RCMP.

They towed your car. And slapped you with a hefty fine.

Why? Because they claim you don’t have a valid driver’s license….. even though ICBC told you otherwise.

Confusing doesn’t even begin to describe the situation.

But that’s the situation faced by many newcomers who’ve been caught in the turf war between two government agencies that can’t seem to get on the same page.

It’s a war where the real losers are the Chinese drivers who suffer as a result.

So let me ask you… is this any way to welcome new Canadians to BC’s Lower Mainland?

I think not.

Jeff Witten

McComb Witten Personal Injury Lawyers

Category: Car Accidents

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