Getting an Ontario Drivers License: Requirements and Things to Know
Sometimes navigating through the process of getting an Ontario driving license can be difficult.
It is hard to know what to do and which steps need to be completed first. This guide was created to help provide you with the helpful tips that you will need each step of the way. Remember that this process takes time, so be patient and keep working hard. It might seem like your license is years away, but once you get going it is much easier than it seems.
How To Proceed
Learn About the Graduate Licensing Requirements
Ontario has a graduated licensing program to help protect first time drivers. Inexperienced drivers are much more likely to get into an accident than other drivers. This program was created to slowly ease you into the driving process so that you have the time needed to develop the skills you will need while experiencing less risk. The process is a 2 step process and takes about 24 months to complete. You can start the process when you turn 16. See our popular Ontario Driving Licence Explained infographic for a visual step-by-step process of getting your license in ON.
Read the Drivers Handbook
Ontario Ministry of Transportation has created a great resource for new and experienced drivers. This resource is called the drivers handbook. You will find that this guide is filled with helpful information that will teach you about laws, safety principles and much more. If you want a physical copy of the guide you will have to purchase it. However you can easily read the entire Ontario driver’s handbook online at no charge. Make sure that you read this guide from start to finish and that you carefully study the information inside.
Study the Information in Your Drivers Handbook
Make sure that you really devote some time to studying the drivers handbook. This guide will teach you everything that you need to know to pass your written test (G1). Since the written G1 test will focus primarily on traffic and road safety, road signs and laws make sure that you really focus on learning this information.
Take Drivers Training
If you want to get your Ontario license more quickly you should consider enrolling in drivers training. This allows you to receive a 4 month reduction in your G1 licensing period and will mean that you can get your license in 20 months rather than 24. Taking drivers education also can save you money on your insurance premiums, so it is definitely worth your time. When looking for a driving school make sure that you choose one that is MTO approved or that is Ministry approved. Otherwise these benefits will not apply. Typically these courses include behind the wheel instruction as well as classroom training. They make it a lot easier to pass your tests and to prepare. Many times they will explain what you can expect on your various tests. It is a good idea to ask for recommendations before making your choice and to always check with the Ministry of Transportation to be sure that your school is on the list. A complete list of approved schools is available online: see all Ontario driving schools here.
Take Your Written Test
When you are ready you can schedule your written test. When you go in for this test you will actually be taking 3 tests: a vision test, a road signs test and a rules of the road test. You can practice the road signs and the rules of the road tests using our FREE award-winning G1 Practice Tests. If you pass all three you can receive your G1 license. You will also need to complete an application and paperwork. Make sure that you bring a parent along if you are under 18 and that you bring proof of identity. Commonly people supply documents like their passport, birth certificate or immigration documents. You may also need to verify your address using tax forms or utility bills. Your G1 license will cost $125 for all of your tests and a 5 year license. Your G2 road test costs $75.
Enjoy Your G1 License
Your G1 license will allow you to start practicing your driving skills. You will have many restrictions. When you receive this license you will also receive a packet of information for new drivers, make sure that you carefully review this and that you ask questions if any should arise. As a G1 driver you must maintain a 0% blood alcohol level whenever you plan to drive. You also can never drive alone. You will need a supervising G-licensed driver with 4 years of experience in the front seat with you. They cannot have a blood alcohol level that is higher than .05%, 0% if under 21. When driving your accompanying driver can be the only passenger in the front seat. Other passengers are allowed but they must all have a seat belt. You can drive from 5 a.m. to midnight on any roads other than 400 series highways and high speed expressways. For example you cannot drive on the Queen Elisabeth Expressway (QEW) or the Conestoga Parkway. There is an exception to this rule if you are with a certified driving instructor.
Take the G1 Road Test
After 12 months you can take the G1 road test. This will allow you to move to the G2 stage of licensure. Make sure that you schedule your test in advance. Read more on G1 Road Test.
Enjoy Your G2 License
If you pass the G1 road test you can receive a G2 license. This allows you to drive on your own on all Ontario roads. You cannot drink before driving and all passengers must wear a seatbelt. Also during the first 6 months you cannot have more than 1 passenger 19 or younger between midnight and 5 a.m. After 6 months you cannot have more than 3 passengers 19 and younger from midnight to 5 a.m.
Take the G2 Road Test
After 12 months of holding a G2 license you can take your G2 road test. If you pass this test you will qualify for an official G license which is a full, unrestricted license. It is important to remember that your graduated license is only good for 5 years. It is important to move through the stages and to complete the entire process during this time. If you do not your license will expire and cannot be renewed. You will have to reapply, retest and pay the fee again.
Andrei Zakhareuski is the founder of Find-a-driving-school.ca. He has been writing for beginner Canadian drivers for several years.
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