KITCHENER -- The Ontario government will hire 84 drive testers to deal with a backlog of appointments due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The province declared a second provincial emergency two weeks ago, meaning that in-vehicle passenger road tests will remain cancelled until further notice.

According to the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO), about 79,000 road tests were cancelled across the province between Dec. 26 and Feb. 10. Another 18,000 tests were reportedly cancelled between Nov. 23 and mid-December.

"We understand the frustration this has caused and we continue to ask for the public’s patience as we work through this," a statement from the MTO read in part.

"Due to the uncertainty of the current situation and the high demand for road test appointments, DriveTest is unable to prioritize customers with cancelled appointments."

Officials said that the road test appointments will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis while they address the backlog.

The 84 new driver examiners will be hired once road testing begins again.

Last month, the ministry said that it had seen instances of third-parties booking and selling appointment slots for profit, not unlike ticket scalpers.

Lana Al-Ali is excited to get her G2 licence.

"I can leave the house whenever I want and not wait for my parents to be free," she said.

Her mom, Huda Al-ALi said she wasn't able to find an appointment to book a road test online.

"I went month-by-month from 2021, January 2021 to December 2025, and I couldn't find an appointment," Huda said.

Huda said she called a Drive Test Centre and was told appointments are only available over the phone. She added that information wasn't posted clearly online.

Lana was able to get an appointment for June and hopes it won't be cancelled due to ongoing pandemic restrictions.

"Kind of annoyed, but like it's OK, just more practice," she said.

Drive Test Centres remain open for G1 or other knowledge tests, with limited capacity.

With reporting by CTV News Kitchener's Krista Sharpe