Ontario’s labour minister says he not will force an end to the DriveTest strike despite a nearly four-month dispute.

Labour Minister Peter Fonseca says he understands the work stoppage has inconvenienced many, but insists the most productive solution is a negotiated settlement with the help of government mediators. Earlier this month, the striking workers rejected the employer’s latest contract offer, with 78 per cent voting against it.

Dozens of driving instructors gathered at the provincial legislature to protest what they call the government’s inaction.

They say the dispute — which centres around job security — is bankrupting small businesses and keeping thousands from getting their driver’s licences.