A Newcomer’s Guide to Driving in Ontario

A Newcomer’s Guide to Driving in Ontario

You may think that if you can drive in one place, you can drive anywhere.

This is not always the case. Each province in Canada has its own special rules and regulations for the road, as well as special rules and regulations for obtaining driver’s licenses. Before you can get an Ontario driver’s licence, you must be aware of the conditions, and be prepared to do whatever you need to, including re-taking driver’s tests if necessary. The following information is meant to help newcomers to Ontario understand what they need to do to obtain an Ontario driver’s licence, and how to drive under Ontario’s laws. Before you can even think about obtaining an Ontario driver’s licence, you must have a valid driver’s licence from your country. Canadian provinces and territories will only accept driver’s licences issued by other jurisdictions. This is why it is important to know in advance if your country will issue a driver’s licence that is accepted by Ontario.

Graduated Licensing

First of all, in order to legally drive in Ontario, you must be at least 16 years old. It doesn’t matter how old you are, or how long you have been driving. If you are new to Ontario and want a driver’s licence, you must go through the graduated licensing system. Of course, if you have a licence from another province or country, it will help you to get through the system and get your licence a bit sooner than you normally would. You can get all of the information you need about this by visiting any of the Ontario DriveTest Driver Examination Centres, or by visiting the Ontario Ministry of Transportation website.

If you do not have a licence, or your out-of-province licence has been invalid for more than three years, you will have to start at the start. There are two levels to the graduated licensing system, and it will take two years before you are a fully licensed driver. Should you decide to take driver education, you could be eligible to take your first road test in just eight months.

Three Important Questions

When you are applying as a new driver in Ontario, there are three important questions you are going to be asked.

  1. The first is where you are from.
  2. The next question is whether or not you have a driver’s licence from another province or country.
  3. The third is how long have you been a licensed driver.

You will not be able to go any further until you are able to provide this information.

Already Have a Licence From Somewhere Else?

If you have been driving for less than one year, you will start your Ontario driver’s licence at Level 1. If you have had this licence for more than a year, but less than two years, you may be eligible to take the Level 1 road test.

If you have never had a licence, or your licence has been invalid for three years or longer, you will be considered to be a new driver, and must go through the graduated licensing system. If you have a driver’s licence from outside of Ontario, and you have been a driver for less than two years, you may be eligible to receive a Level 2 licence (G2 licence), and depending on your experience, you may have time exemptions. If you have had another driver’s licence for more than two years, you may be able to get a regular licence ( full G licence) without any further requirements.

What You Need If You Are a Novice Driver

When you apply for your new driver’s licence in Ontario, there are certain pieces of information that you are required to bring along with you.

  • You will have to have a proof of identity, which shows your name and date of birth, and that you are at least 16 years of age.
  • You will also need a piece of identification that has your signature on it, so it can be checked against the forms you sign for your application.
  • You can pick up a Driver’s Handbook, or check it out online here: Ontario Driver’s Handbook – Study Guide Online , to see what identification you should bring with you. Any documents you provide must be in one of Canada’s two official languages, English or French. If they are not, you will have to get them translated. All of your documents must be brought to the nearest DriveTest Centre in your area.
  • Once you have completed the application and have shown the proper documents, it is time for the real fun stuff. Now you have to take tests.
  • You will be required to have a vision test, as well as a written test on your knowledge of Ontario road laws. We recommend you use our FREE G1 Practice Tests for preparation for your G1 Test. Our practice tests have been updated for 2012, so you can be sure you’re studying using most recent driving test questions. 
  • You will also have to pay the fees for licensing and your first road test. Before you take the written test, it is a good idea to get the Driver’s Handbook, which is available at every DriveTest Centre.
  • You can take the written test in a number of languages, including German, Finnish, Portuguese, Polish, Russian, Italian, Spanish, Korean, Punjabi, Croatian, Hindi, Chinese, Tamil, Somali, and of course, French and English at some of the DriveTest Centres. Check to see which centres offer the testing in other languages. Should you speak a language that the test is not offered in, you may have an interpreter for the test, and this person may not be a friend or family member. You can find an interpreter by asking someone at the DriveTest Centre.
  • Once you pass the vision and knowledge test, you will have your Level 1 driver’s licence (G1 licence). Now you can start practicing so you can get that licence upgraded to being a fully licensed driver. Once you have been at it for a year (if you prepare for the road test with your parents or other qualifying drivers), or for 8 months (if you enrol into a certified driving school courses), you may take your road test to get your Level 2 licence, and after another year, there is one more road test (Full G Road Test). If you pass this, you will have your G class licence.

It may seem like a lot of rigmarole to get a driver’s licence in Ontario, but the rules and regulations are in place for your safety, and the safety of all Ontario residents.

Have patience, and in no time at all, you will be a fully licensed driver in Ontario.

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