CANAVUA's Driver Training Program

Our professional interpreter, Renaud Lessard, helping to train new drivers during CANAVUA's Driver Training course.

Introduction

Since 2014, Canadian Volunteers United in Action (Association des volontaires unis dans l'action au Canada, or CANAVUA) has offered a Driver Training course in French in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Initially funded by the Alberta Traffic Safety Fund (Alberta Transportation, Government of Alberta) and now supported by the Edmonton Community Adult Learning Association (ECALA, in collaboration with the Ministry of Advanced Education), this program has helped to date more than 1,400 people obtain their Class 7 driver's licenses and remains incredibly popular to this day.

Taught by a Abraham Tsegaye, a certified driving instructor with Global Driving School, and translated by Renaud Lessard, a professional French-English interpreter, our class is a very useful tool for members of the Francophone community who wish to prepare for the Class 7 theoretical exam. Our program is particularly helpful for French-speaking newcomers to Canada who haven't got a driver's license yet and are in need of one.

The class itself, which comprises 6 hours of classroom-based instruction, is held on the 3rd Saturday of every month, is followed by a trip to Registrations Are Us, a registry office in Mayfield and partner of CANAVUA. This accompaniment is either overseen by Dicky Dikamba, Executive Director of CANAVUA, or by one of our talented volunteers. This is consistent with CANAVUA's overall mandate to promote and enhance volunteering in Alberta's Francophone community.

Registrations Are Us, a registry office and one of CANAVUA's partners. CANAVUA transports all its students in the Driver Training program to Registrations Are Us immediately after the six-hour instructional workshop so they can write the Class 7 theoretical exam (while the material is still fresh in their heads).


It's worth noting that CANAVUA is the only organization which offers this service in the Francophone community in Alberta. To become better familiarized with what we do in this program, we invite you to take a look at some of the pictures below, which do a good job illustrating the various aspects and components of our Driver Training course:

Promotional material used to advertise CANAVUA's Driver Training program.

Here is a brief video (in French only), put out by CANAVUA to highlight what we do in the driver training course:


Registration

Any candidate for the course can easily register with us. To do so, simply swing by our office, located at:

Office #128, La Cité Francophone
8627 Rue Marie-Anne Gaboury (91 Street) NW
Edmonton AB T6C 3N1

Once you've signed up for the class, you will begin to receive email notifications from us verifying the date and location of the course. A good number of our students are refered to us by our organizational partners, including Accès•Emploi and the Centre d'accueil et d'établissement.

A new student signing up for the driver training course at CANAVUA's office.

Studying and Revision

Once registered, every student must begin to read through the Driver's Handbook, the Queen's Printer's official guide to driving in Alberta. A copy of French is available online for our students' convenience (available here). Our course curriculum is based off of the content available in this book. When new students register for our program, we immediately give them the link to the handbook so that they can begin revising as soon as possible.

The French version of the Driver's Handbook, a preparatory and required tool for every participant in CANAVUA's driving course.
The Clear Language Driver's Guide: Cars and light trucks, is a great book which was recommended to us by the Edmonton Community Adult Learning Association (ECALA). Written in simple English, it is a very helpful resource for "foundational learners," or people who may require clarification of key driving concepts at a simpler level.

The Driver Training Class Itself

During the six-hour workshop, students cover all of the topics outlined in the official Driver's Handbook:
  1. Licensing Information
  2. Traffic Control
  3. The Basics of Driving
  4. Intersections and Turns
  5. Emergency Situations and Challenging Conditions
  6. Responsible Driving
  7. Sharing the Rosad
  8. Driving Within the Law
  9. Towing a Trailer
Students have the opportunity to ask the instructor questions if they feel any topic needs clarifying. Since all participants head directly to the registry office after the workshop, all the material covered is fresh in their heads when they go to take the test.

The students in the workshop.

Reviewing various concepts.

Students look over a handout during the class held on December 9th, 2017.

Renaud translates Abraham's instruction during the class.

Abraham explaining a concept to students.

Given the length of the course (6 hours), we offer a break mid-way, as well as lunch:

Lunch is served to participants during the instructional workshop.

Accompaniment to the Registry Office

As participants haven't yet received their Class 7 licenses, they evidently are unable to drive themselves to the registry office to take their test. Therefore, CANAVUA is happy to provide all students a ride in our organization's van as soon as the workshop is over. This chauffering is either carried out by Dicky Dikamba, CANAVUA's Executive Director, or by one of CANAVUA's volunteers. The latter case - recruiting a volunteer - fits very nicely with CANAVUA's overall mandate to promote and enhance volunteering in Edmonton's Francophone community.

CANAVUA has a van which we use to transport students of our driver training course to the registry office in the afternoon, enabling them to write the multiple choice exam. The van is often driven by one of CANAVUA's many volunteers.

CANAVUA's van.
The interior of our van.

The Test

After students spend six hours in the classroom revising their driving knowledge, we promptly take them to our partner registry office to take their driving test. If they pass the test, they receive their Class 7 driver's licenses immediately. Most of our students pass the test on their first try.



Two of our Driver Training program participants attempting their driver's tests.


One of our students holding her new driver's license.

Another student of ours in the process of receiving her driver's license.

Driving (The Ultimate Goal)

Once a student has received his Learner's license, he is ready to begin driving on the road - accompanied, of course, by someone with a Class 5 license with no restrictions. Obtaining a learner's license is the first step towards driving independently, a big part in itself of personal, autonomous living. Holding a Class 7 license, graduates of our program can further their learning by pursuing in-car instruction with various driving schools in Edmonton.

A graduate of CANAVUA's driver training program, now a successful driver on the roads.

Testimonials

CANAVUA receives numerous letters of thanks and appreciation from individuals who have completed our driver training program. Here is a small handful of some of the comments we've received over the years (translated from French):

I just want to thank you for your training course, which was rich with very clear explanations. I'd also like to let you know that I'm available to help your organization in future, should you ever be in need of my services. Thanks again, and have a great day!
Adama S.
My wife and I would like to thank you for the opportunity you've given us to take your driver training course, which really helped us to prepare for getting our Class 7 licenses. We send our warmest regards to the entire team at CANAVUA, who have really been the foundation for our success. May God bless you all.
Serge K.
On January 27th, I attended your class and took the driving test. By this letter, I wish to thank you for all you do to help integrate newcomers like myself. Thank you so much, and I wish you all the best going forward.
Rodrigue N.

I just wish to thank you for the driving class that you offered on Saturday, September 27th, 2014. It was a terrific help. Before, I had never driven a car. Now, I understand all the different termonology relating to driving and the importance of driving safety.
Ahmeth P.
I'm sending this email to thank you as a follow-up to the class which CANAVUA offered. On a personal note, I am stronger in French than in English. I speak English well, granted, but your training helped me to overcome my linguistic shortcomings. Before taking your class, I attempted the theoretical exam four times without succeeding. Your training was definitely necessary for me to succeed. Thanks again, CANAVUA!
Faycel R.

It gives me great pleasure to announce that I passed the driving test. I thank you wholeheartedly and wish to tell you of my appreciation for this excellent initiative. I hope it will prosper in the future. I wish you the best of success in all your undertakings. God bless.
Rachel G.

All in all...

We hope you've found this brief summary of CANAVUA's driver training program to be helpful and informative. If you don't have your Learner's license but would like to acquire it, we encourage you to get in touch with us to register for the course. More detailed explanations of driving in Alberta are an indispensable asset for anyone wishing to pass his driving test on the first try.

Contact Us

To get in touch, you can reach us by the following:

CANAVUA
128, 8627 Rue Marie-Anne Gaboury (91st Street) NW
Edmonton AB T6C 3N1
Office: 780-705-709 | info@canavua.org
Executive Director: 780-729-1709 | direction@canavua.org
Facebook: Edmontoncanavua
Twitter: canavua


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