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How to Get Your Driver's License in Canada

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Driver's license

 

When you have a driver’s license, it brings a new level of freedom towards your life. Now you can purchase that fancy new car you’ve had your eyes on since last year. No more asking your parents to give you a lift when you need to get anywhere nor wasting time taking public transportation. If you’re unlucky enough to live in the suburbs out in the boonies, you may have to even spend a lot of money on taxi’s to get home. Well, today’s your lucky day. This guide will provide you with the information you need to obtain your driver’s license in Canada.

 

In Canada, your driver’s license is issued by the government of the province or territory that you reside in. Each province has their own requirements for obtaining your driver’s license so it’s best to check with that province’s ministry of transportation to ensure you have all of the correct information to obtain your license.  Also, make sure you meet the legal driving age in your province as this age limit differs between provinces. Your driver’s license registration includes a number of things such as your full name, address, date of birth, gender, height, card issuance date and expiration dates, codes that indicate what type of class of vehicles you’re allowed to drive, and your signature.

 

It is recommended that you purchase your ministry of transportations approved driver’s handbook from your province in order to prepare for the test. This book provides information on rules and regulations that you are required to adhere to on the road, safety tips to avoid collisions, methods of obtaining your driver’s license for different vehicle classes, etc. Once you feel that you are ready and have studied the rules of the road, it’s time to book an appointment to write your written exam for your learner’s permit. This exam evaluates your written knowledge of the rules of driving, traffic signs, as well as your vision. Once you’ve passed this test, you usually have about 12 months to prepare for your road test.

It is also recommended that new driver’s take a driver’s training program that has been approved by the ministry of transportation.

Note: Drivers with a learner’s permit that are 25 years old or younger need to be accompanied by someone who has a valid driver’s license (Class 1/2/3/4 or 5) and they must sit in the front passenger seat beside you. Once you feel ready for the road test, it’s time to call your local ministry of transportation office to schedule an appointment to have your road test.

 

Here is a list of each provinces requirements for obtaining your driver’s license:

 

Alberta

In Alberta, there are 7 classes of driver’s licenses depending on your level of driving experience and type of vehicle that you wish to drive.

Residents that reside in Alberta and who wish to obtain a driver’s license must go through the Graduated Driver’s License (GDL) program to earn a full class 5 license.

Individuals who have held a class 7 learner’s license for at least 1 year and are at least 16 years of age and older may join the GDL program after passing the class 5 basic road test.

To upgrade to a full class 5 license, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age and older
  • Pass an advanced road test
  • Hold a probationary driver’s license (class 5 GDL) for at least 2 years
  • Have no driving suspensions on your record in your last year before applying for the full driver’s license.

British Columbia

To obtain the GLP in B.C you will need to pass three tests. A written test and two road tests. The requirements for getting your learner’s license (L) are:

  • Be at least 16 years of age when applying for your learner’s license
  • Need a parent or guardian to sign a consent form if your under 19
  • Pass a written knowledge test at an ICBC driver licensing office
  • Pass a vision screening test

After at least 1 year has passed since you obtained your learner’s license (L) you can apply to obtain your N license. The requirements for getting your N are:

  • Take and pass a class 7 road test

After having your N license for at least 2 years of safe driving or 18 months if you took an ICBC approved driver training program you can apply for your full license. The requirements for getting your full license are:

  • Take and pass a class 5 road test

 

Manitoba 

Like the other provinces, Manitoba also uses a graduated learner’s licensing program. To obtain your license the following requirements are needed:

  • Be at least 16 years of age or 15 ½ if you are enrolled in a high school driver education program
  • Register as a Manitoba Public Insurance customer by visiting an Autopac agent
  • The agent will provide you with a document called a change particulars document
  • Pass a knowledge test

After a minimum of 9 months you may apply for an intermediate license after a road test is passed. This license is issued for a minimum of 15 months. Once the 15 months are complete you can now upgrade to a full driver’s license.

 

New Brunswick

To obtain your driver’s license in New Brunswick the following requirements must be met:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Pass a vision and written test to advance to level one

Level 1 drivers:

  • Must wait minimum of 12 months or 8 if taking a driver’s training course before taking a road test and passing to advance to level 2

Level 2 driver:

  • Are 21 years of age or older or permission from the registrar of motor vehicles

Once 24 months are completed at level 1 and 2 (combined), you may obtain your full license.

 

Newfoundland and Labrador

You need to be at least 16 years of age to apply for a level 1 novice driver’s class 5 license. Other requirements include:

  • Pass  written and vision test
  • If under 19 years of age, need a parent or guardian to sign a consent form

To graduate to a level 2 license, you will need to spend a minimum of 12 months as level 1 driver before attempting a road test that you need to pass. This time can be reduced to 8 months if you are taking an approved driver education program. After 1 full year in level 2 as a novice driver, you will obtain your full driver’s license.

 

Northwest Territories

The requirements for obtaining your license are as follows:

Stage 1:

  • Be at least 15 years of age or older
  • Pass a written examination
  • This stage lasts for a minimum of 12 months, assuming the driver remains suspension free

Stage 2:

  • Be 16 years of age or older
  • Must have completed 12 months in learner stage
  • Must pass road test
  • This stage lasts for 12 months, assuming the driver remains suspension free

Stage 3:

  • Completed 12 month probation period in previous stage
  • Apply to upgrade your class at any driver and vehicle licensing office after 12 months in previous stage 

Nova Scotia

This province also uses a 3 stage licensing program. The stage 1 requirements are:

Learner’s license:

  • Be at least 16 years of age. If under 18 years of age, have written permission from a parent or guardian
  • Apply for a license at one of the local issuing offices
  • Pass a vision and written exam

New licensed driver:

  • Spend a minimum of 3 months in the learner’s phase if attending an approved driver education program or 6 months without one. Effective April 1, 2016, the minimum time requirement will be 9 months if an approved driver education program is used or 12 months if not.
  • Pass a road test

 

Restricted Individual stage:

  • Be a new licensed driver class for a minimum of 2 years
  • Pass a 6 hour defensive driving course of complete a recognized driver training course. A copy of completion must be provided to a Registry of Moto Vehicles office.

After 2 years, the driver will graduate to a full driver’s license.

 

Nunavut

In order to obtain a driver’s license in Nunavut you need to:

  • Be at least 15 years of age
  • Pass a vision and written test to obtain your level 7 license
  •  After a minimum of 1 year, you will be eligible to apply for your level 5 license and if successful on the road test will obtain your full driver’s license.

Ontario

To get a driver’s license in Ontario, you must meet the following requirements:

G1:

  • Be at least 16 years of age and older
  • Pass an eye exam
  • Pass a written test

Once you’ve gotten your G1 license. You will need to wait for either 8 months if taking an approved driver’s education program or 12 months before you can apply for your road test. If you are successful on your road test, you will be issued a G2 license. After practicing for 12 months you can apply to take your G license road test which covers more advanced driving skills. If you are successful at this test, you will be issued your full G license without any restrictions.

Prince Edward Island

In Prince Edward Island, new drivers also undergo a graduated driver licensing program in order to obtain their driver’s license. This is a 3 stage process.

Stage 1:

  • Be at least 16 years of age
  • Pass a written and vision test to obtain their class 7 permit in stage 1
  • They will be required to have this permit for 1 year or 9 months if enrolled in an approved driving school
  • Pass a road test to get a class 5 license.
  • An identifying decal also must be placed on their windshield.

Stage 2:

  • After 1 year is up, you may apply for a road test to graduate to a class 5 license in stage 2. You are required to have this license for 1 year and also to have another identifying decal sticker on your windshield.

Stage 3:

  • Need to have another decal for one more year before obtaining your full license

 

Quebec

In order to obtain a class 5 license in Quebec, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 16 years of age
  • Having written consent from a parent or guardian if under 18 years of age

There is a 5 step process to obtaining the full class 5 driver’s license.

  1. Register for a driving course approved by the Association québécoise des transports
  2. Obtain a passenger vehicle learner’s license
  3. Pass a written knowledge test after holding the learner’s license for a minimum of 10 months
  4. Pass a road test after holding the class 5 learner’s license for at least 12 months
  5. Obtain a probationary license which lasts for 2 years

Once you have completed all 5 steps, you will get your full class 5 driver’s license.

 

Saskatchewan

To obtain your driver’s license in Saskatchewan, you need to first apply for a learner’ license.

Learner’s License:

  • Be at least 16 years of age or 15 years if enrolled in a high school driving program
  • Pass a written exam to obtain your learner’s license
  • Enroll in a high school driver training program or commercial training program.
  • Practice driving under supervision for 9 months
  • After 9 months you can apply to take a road test and if successful will be granted a novice 1 license.

Novice 1 License:

  • You will need to be a novice 1 driver for 6 months before you can advance to the novice 2 which is 12 months..

Novice 2 License:

  • Hold license and be fault free from traffic accidents for 12 months to obtain full license

 

Yukon 

In order to obtain a full driver’s license in Yukon, you will need to follow a graduated licensing program similar to other provinces.

Stage 1:

  • Be at least 15 years of age
  • Pass a written test to get your learner’s license

Learner’s License:

  • You are required to have a minimum of 50 hours of driving practice and to place a sign on your car before you can advance further
  • You will also need to hold your license for a minimum of 6 months
  • Pass a road test and assuming you pass obtain your novice license.

Novice License:

  • Hold license for 18 months to obtain full license

 

Getting your license can seem like a tall order, thankfully with some research and preparation, you will be prepared to ace your exams and get your license.

 

Disclaimer: This article is meant to be a general guide for obtaining your driver’s license in Canada. It may contain out-dated or misinformation. If you use the information in this guide, you do so at your own risk and assume all liabilities. If you need any clarifications, please seek your local ministry of transportation. 

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