Get a free, no obligation personal loan quote with rates as low as 6.99%
Get Started You can apply with no effect to your credit score

If you want to drive in Canada, there are various regional laws you have to respect and permits you to need to apply for, primarily your driver’s license. Otherwise, there are some severe legal consequences you could run into, such as hefty fines. So, if you’d like to avoid those kinds of problems, here’s how to get a driver’s license in Canada.

How To Get A Driver’s License In Canada

Before you can drive a car in Canada, you’re legally obligated to obtain a license from your province or territory of residence and keep it on you wherever you drive. Although it’s a provincial or territorial document, that license will permit you to drive anywhere in the country. 

Getting a full Canadian driver’s license depends on where you live and your existing driver’s history (if any). The process may include:

  • A written test to see if you understand the rules of the road
  • A driving exam (road test)

If you’re an inexperienced driver, it’s smart to buy lessons so you can prepare for both tests. In fact, a certain level of education is mandatory in some regions. After you get your license, you must renew it periodically, according to the expiry date printed on it.

Rules And Regulations On Getting Your Driver’s License By Province

OntarioLearn More
QuebecLearn More
British ColumbiaLearn More
AlbertaLearn More
ManitobaLearn More
SaskatchewanLearn More
Nova ScotiaLearn More
New BrunswickLearn More
Prince Edward IslandLearn More
Newfoundland and LabradorLearn More

Can You Drive In Canada If You Have A License From Another Country?

It depends on your citizenship status. In other words, if you’re just travelling in Canada for vacation, you probably won’t have to get a whole new license to drive your rental car (but a temporary license may be necessary). However, if you’re moving or working here, chances are you’ll need to exchange your international license for a domestic one. 

If you plan on using your international license for a longer period of time, you’ll have to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) from your home country, which can be translated to English or French.

Here is a list of some countries you can exchange your current license for a Canadian one.

OntarioAustria, Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Switzerland, United States, United Kingdom
British ColumbiaAustria, Australia, France, Germany, Jersey, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Switzerland, Taiwan, United States, United Kingdom
ManitobaAustria, Australia, France, Germany, Ireland, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, United States, United Kingdom
AlbertaAustria, Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, United States,  United Kingdom 

Note –  Not all driving classes can be translated into a Canadian license without any tests. 

Drivers from countries other than the ones above must re-do their driver’s tests in Canada.

Are Driver’s Laws Different For Older Canadians (Seniors)?

Before you move to Canada or try to obtain a driver’s license here, don’t forget to read the provincial or territorial laws of your region. One of the main reasons is to confirm that you’re legally the age and condition to drive. This doesn’t just apply to teenagers. 

For instance, in Ontario, if you’re over 80 years old, you must get recertified every two years to operate a motor vehicle in Ontario. If you live there, the provincial government will send you details about how to potentially renew your license just before your 80th birthday.

Do You Need To Take Classes To Get A Driver’s License In Canada? 

Canadians used to be able to acquire a driver’s license without any formal schooling. These days, however, most provincial and territorial governments will require you to complete a specific level of driver’s education courses before issuing you a license. This could involve at least 10 – 20 hours of theory and driving lessons with a certified school. 

While getting your license may be a lengthy and expensive process, it’s necessary to drive anywhere legally in Canada (unless you’re vacationing or have an IDP). Plus, it makes things safer for everyone on the road and can earn you a lower car insurance premium. Most students spend about $500 – $1,000 on their driver’s ed courses.

Requirements To Get A License In Quebec

Driver License ClassClass 5 (Passenger vehicle)
Eligibility– Must be at least 16 years old and have consent from a legal guardian (unless you’re above 18)
Requirements To Get A License– Apply for a driving course that is recognized by the SAAQ
– Pass the Knowledge Test
– Pass The Road Test
Cost– $74.30 for learner’s driver’s license
– $12 for knowledge test
– $30 for road test
– $54.60 for your probationary license

Requirements To Get A License In Ontario

Driver License ClassG class
Eligibility– Must be at least 16 years old
– Pass an eye test
Requirements To Get A License– Pass the Knowledge Test (G1 license)
– Pass The Road Test (G2 license)
Cost– $159.75 for G1 license
– $16 knowledge test
– $53.75 G2 road test

Requirements To Get A License In Alberta

Driver License ClassClass 5 License
Eligibility– Must be at least 16 years old and have consent from a legal guardian (unless you’re above 18)
– Have a learner license (Class 7 license) for 12 months
Requirements To Get A License– Pass the Knowledge Test (Class 7 license)
– Pass the basic road test (Class 5-GDL license)
– Drive for 2 years with the class 5 GDL license
– Pass the advanced road test

Requirements To Get A License In British Columbia

Driver License ClassClass 5 License
EligibilityMust be at least 16 years old and have consent from a legal guardian (unless you’re above 19)
Requirements To Get A License– Pass the Knowledge Test (Learner’s License)
– Pass the class 7 road test and drive for 1 year (Novice License)
– Pass the class 5 road test and drive for 2 years (Full License)
Cost– $15 for the knowledge test
– $35 – $50 for road test

Driver License FAQs

Do you need car insurance to legally drive in Canada?

Yes! It’s 100% illegal to drive a car in Canada without car insurance. If you routinely borrow someone’s car, you should even be listed on their insurance policy. The final cost of your premium will depend on the conditions of your plan, as well as your age, driving record and the province you live in. Make sure to compare providers and read each plan carefully before you buy car insurance. You can get several forms of vehicle insurance in Canada, like coverage for personal injuries or damages to your vehicle (or someone else’s, if you’re held at fault). 

What should you do after getting into a car accident?

If you’re in a car accident, like a collision with a pedestrian or other vehicle, leaving the scene is a crime in Canada. Move away from any danger and follow these steps: 
  • Call 9-1-1 to report the incident and alert the authorities (police, medical, etc.)
  • Wait until the authorities arrive and give them a clear report of the incident
  • If another vehicle is involved, get the other driver’s details, including their license plate, name, address, phone number and insurance Information.
  • What is a G1 and a G2 license?

    Before you can get a full G License in Ontario, you’ll need to obtain your G1 and G2. A Class G1 License is the name referred to as your learner’s permit.  Your G1 lets you legally drive G-Class vehicles (cars, vans, etc.) if you’re accompanied by a driver with a full license and at least 4 years of driving experience (other conditions may apply).     If you drive responsibly and retain your G1 for at least 12 months, you can move up to graduated licensing Level Two and get your G2 license. This probationary license lets you drive G-Class vehicles unaccompanied, with similar conditions to the G1, like having 0% blood alcohol or THC while you’re driving.

    What kind of car can you drive with a G license in Ontario? 

    It can go by different names in other provinces and territories but a Graduated (G) License is the most common type of driver’s permit you’ll see in Canada. When valid, it lets you drive a car, van or small truck unaccompanied. Requirements vary by region but you’ll probably need additional licenses if you want to drive specialty vehicles like Motorcycles or heavy trucks.

    Trying To Qualify For A Canadian Driver’s License?

    Then remember to check the legal requirements of your home region before you apply. Having a driver’s license is a privilege, so it’s important to be prepared and show your driving examiner that you’re responsible behind the wheel. For more information about how to get a license in Canada, contact your provincial or territorial traffic authority.                        

    Bryan Daly avatar on Loans Canada
    Bryan Daly

    Bryan is a graduate of Dawson College and Concordia University. He has been writing for Loans Canada for five years, covering all things related to personal finance, and aims to pursue the craft of professional writing for many years to come. In his spare time, he maintains a passion for editing, writing screenplays, staying fit, and travelling the world in search of the coolest sights our planet has to offer.

    More From This Author

    Special Offers

    More From Our Experts
    Loans Canada places No. 228 on The Globe and Mail’s fifth-annual ranking of Canada’s Top Growing Companies.

    By Caitlin Wood, BA
    Published on September 29, 2023

    Loans Canada is excited to announce it has made it onto the Globe and Mail’s Top Growing Companies list for the second year in a row.
    Finder Awards Finalists: Personal Loans Customer Satisfaction Awards 2023

    By Priyanka Correia, BComm

    Loans Canada is happy to announce it received the finalist award in the Best Personal Loan Search Platform category.
    Beware of Fraudulent Lenders Impersonating Loans Canada

    By Caitlin Wood, BA

    A note to our clients about fraudulent lending practices and illegal upfront fees.
    Why Lower Interest Rates Won’t Solve The Housing Crisis: Root Cause Is Supply Shortage

    By Maidina Kadeer, BA

    Find out why BOC's Governor Tiff Macklem says supply shortage is the root cause of Canada's housing affordability crisis.
    What Is The Average House Price In BC 2024?

    By Lisa Rennie

    Home prices vary a great deal across Canada. Check out the average house price in BC and how it compares to the rest of Canada.
    Alberta Family Support For Children With Disabilities (FSCD) Program

    By Chrissy Kapralos

    If you live in Alberta and have child with a disability, check out the FSCD Alberta Program for specialized support.
    Average House Price In Alberta 2024

    By Lisa Rennie

    If you plan on buying a house in any real estate market across Alberta, you should learn about the average house price in Alberta.
    What Is The Wage Earner Protection Program?

    By Bryan Daly

    The WEPP is a government program that helps workers recoup wages that are owed to them from a former employer who had financial issues.

    Recognized As One Of Canada's Top Growing Companies

    Loans Canada, the country's original loan comparison platform, is proud to be recognized as one of Canada's fastest growing companies by The Globe and Mail!

    Read More

    Why choose Loans Canada?

    Apply Once &
    Get Multiple Offers
    Save Time
    And Money
    Get Your Free
    Credit Score
    Expert Tips
    And Advice

    Build Credit For Just $10/Month

    With KOHO's prepaid card you can build a better credit score for just $10/month.

    Koho Prepaid Credit Card