Online safety training, licencing coming soon for Ontario snowmobilers

Snowdusters Club members welcome news

ONTARIO—Representatives of the Manitoulin Snowdusters Snowmobile Club are happy with news that the Province of Ontario is increasing access to safety training and licencing for snowmobilers, and that a snowmobile trail map is being created for the entire province, including Manitoulin Island.

“The online training is something that is a long time coming,” said Doran McVey of the Snowdusters, after the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) annual general meeting this past weekend at the Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville. “This is a big deal and will be a benefit to our young snowmobilers.”

“The online training and licencing online is going to be a benefit,” agreed Snowdusters member Brian Moser. “For several years it has been difficult getting snowmobile licence trainers to hold courses on the Island and young drivers have had to go to Espanola for these courses. Now young snowmobile enthusiasts from 12 up to the age of 16 (when they get their motor vehicle drivers licences, hence they can drive snowmobiles as well) can take the training licencing course on line.”
“There are going to be improvements made to make it easier to get permits online as of October 1, which is also good news,” said Mr. Moser.

In response to long-standing requests from the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC), the Minister of Transportation John Yakabuski announced last week  that, for the first time ever, safety training will be made available online.

“We recognize that safety is critical and it starts with proper rider training and licencing,” said Minister of Transportation the Honourable John Yakabuski. “We also recognize that the delivery of this online service will be an effective way to reach and teach new generations of snowmobile riders.”

Administered through a long-standing partnership between the OFSC and the Ministry of Transportation, the safety and licencing courses have historically been taught in-class. “On behalf of snowmobilers across the Province of Ontario, the OFSC welcomes this announcement and applauds Minister Yakabuski and the government of Ontario for their support of our sector. Expanded training options are not only a convenience, they will ultimately contribute towards a safer snowmobiling environment,” said Ryan J. Eickmeier, executive director of OFSC.

With the development of the online option, it’s anticipated that safety and licencing training will serve a great number of people in many more areas throughout the province. “My ministry staff stands ready to assist the OFSC in the development of the online program-one that meets the needs of our young riders, who are the future of snowmobiling in our great province,” said Minister Yakabuski.

Mr. McVey explained as well, “a map is being created for this winter, likely to come out in November, outlining all trails in Ontario. People will have to buy the map on their app, which will probably cost around $3.”

“The new interactive app map will be a benefit as well,” said Mr. Moser. “I  understand it will outline travelling from  trail to trail in Ontario.” It is expected that once a user keys in on an certain trail it will also outline such things as where gas can be purchased, where restaurants are as well as accommodations in an area.

Mr. Moser noted that one of the speakers at the annual general meeting was MPP Frank Miller. He was there on behalf of the MTO and Ministry of Tourism and said that through snowmobiling, $2.5 billion dollars is derived from the province every year with snowmobiling itself,  gas, accommodations and food purchases  related to the industry.”