Passenger Drivers License Information for British Columbia, Canada

Graduated Driving License in British Columbia

In Canada issuing a driving license comes under Provincial Jurisdiction. As a result of this every Province and territory have their own rules and regulations. The province of British Columbia offers drivers license and vehicle registration services through the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC). The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia is a provincial crown corporation created in 1973. The original purpose of ICBC was to provide universal public auto insurance in British Columbia. Its responsibilities have expanded to include driver licensing and vehicle registration and licensing. Although there are different types of Commercial vehicle and Motorcycle license categories in British Columbia however, this article focuses on Passenger Vehicle Licensing only.  

Graduated Licensing Program (GLP)

In British Columbia (BC) graduated licensing program is in place to increase the knowledge and training before a driver can drive on BC roads. GLP is a two-stage program designed to build safe driving habits. For a new driver, it takes 36 months to get a complete driving license in British Columbia.

First stage- Learner’s stage

This is the first stage called the Learner’s (L) license stage. This stage includes learner’s (L) stage driving restrictions and L sign to alert other driver’s that you are a new passenger vehicle driver. L stage driving license is valid for 2 years.

L stage driving restrictions

-          Restricted from using both hand-held and hands free electronic devices while driving.

-          A qualified supervising person sitting on the front passenger seat who is at least 25 years of age and processes a class 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 driver’s license.

-          Class 7 road test eligibility is attained 12 months after being in L stage.

-          You can carry a maximum of 2 passengers (supervising person and 1 other person).

-          You can drive between the hours of 5 am and midnight.

-          Must display ‘L’ sign while driving.

-          Zero blood-alcohol content.

Second stage- Novice stage

This is the 2nd stage of the Graduated Licensing Program. After passing the road test a class 7 or Novice (N) license is issued. N stage also has certain driving restrictions in place.

N stage driving restrictions

-          Restricted from using both hand-held and hands-free electronic devices.

-          A green N sign must be displayed while driving.

-          Zero blood-alcohol content.

-          You can carry only 1 passenger without the supervising person. However, there is no restriction on carrying immediate family members (mother, father, sister, brother, child, spouse, grandparent, grandchild, step and foster relationships.)

With N stage license there is 24 month qualifying period to be eligible for class 5 road test. However there are some exceptions:

-          You might have to wait longer than 24 months if your N stage driver license is cancelled, surrendered, suspended or expired.

Once ‘N’ stage license is reinstated after probation or suspension the 24 months N stage starts from beginning.

This being said, the N stage can also be reduced by 6 months if you successfully complete an ICBC approved driving course for which you also get two credits towards your high school graduation.