Not being able to drive because of a lack of a few documents is all in the ’90s now. The following article deals with every tip and elaborates on each step required and the mandatory documents required to obtain a Canada driving licence.
If you have been thinking that driving in Canada is going to be easier since you have an impressive driving history with no licence suspensions, no prior driving restrictions, and have excellent command over the vehicle, then you might be getting fooled. The weather game in the country plays a huge role. Especially, winters make it quite a tough job to drive when it is all snowy and slippery.
Apart from it, the road signs can be a huge factor in misunderstanding or even be something beyond the knowledge that the drivers from another nation carry with themselves.
Well, it is interesting to note that one might be able to directly exchange their driver’s licence issued from another nation for a Canada driving licence depending on the country without the need to sit for any driving tests or any knowledge test.
On the contrary, the drivers from countries that are not in treaty or alliance with Canada will have to complete all the driving testing requirements and will be required to sit for an even a knowledge test even if they have a considerable number of years of experience driving outside Canada.
Factors Influencing the Issuing of Canada Driver Licence
A pro-tip before being overconfident and claiming yourself, the best driver in town, there are certain factors that one needs to take into consideration.
1. Age Limit
The most prominent factor that comes into play while looking at the eligibility to obtain a Canada driving licence is the age restriction. An important thing to note here is that every province has its own set of rules and hence changes with a different region.
The age requirement to legally begin learning to drive is 16 in almost all the provinces with an exception of Alberta, the province that allows its residents to obtain a learner’s licence after the age of 14.
It is essential to be informed about the different categories of Canadian driving licences that are issued by various provinces and their requirements. The various licences also vary with the province and are elaborated on later in the article.
But, before all of that, dive into the pre-requisites for anyone looking for a Canada driving licence. First of all, listed below are certain things that one needs to ensure before leaving their own country and landing in Canada.
2. Before Landing in Canada
There are a few things to ensure before landing in your province or territory. The most significant is to get acquainted with the road rules, symbols, and road conditions of the place.
It is a wise decision to go thoroughly with the weather conditions too, especially in Canada because winters might be big trouble for a lot of individuals who do not experience a similar climate in their home country.
3. International Driver’s Permit
The next thing to be done is to ask for an international driver’s permit from the home country’s licensing authority which will save you from the trouble to get it translated to French or English when you land in Canada.
Another thing to be kept in mind is to get a document claiming your driving history from the licencing authority which can lend you some extra credits while exchanging the previous one for a Canada driving licence.
Obtaining a New Canada Driving Licence
A reminder before stating anything here is that a Canada driving licence requires different steps and requirements to be fulfilled depending on the province that a person is applying the driver’s licence for.
Across Canada, Car insurance is mandatory and is regulated by the provincial government depending upon the regulations of the particular jurisdiction
However, there are three basic steps to obtaining a Canada driving Licence:
1. Learner’s License
The first step to applying for a Canada Driving licence is to receive a learner’s licence before everything. In order to get it, a person needs to pass a knowledge test and sometimes an eye test too.
A restriction here is that the person is not allowed to drive alone at any point in time with a learner’s licence and has to keep accompanying a fully licensed driver.
2. Intermediate Permit
Once you have completed a year with the learner’s licence, you can now sit for a road test and get yourself an intermediate licence which allows you to drive alone but certainly has a few restrictions, precisely that the holder of such type of licence cannot use any gadget while driving. Moreover, it is imperative to ensure a zero blood alcohol level to save yourself from penalties or licence suspension.
3. Full Driver’s Licence
Finally, after two years of driving experience, you will be able to take a complete licence driving test and hence become a fully licensed driver.
Elucidated below is a comprehensive list along with all the necessary details of province-wise requirements and rules and regulations for obtaining a new or exchanging an already existing valid driver’s licence for a Canada driving licence.
Province-wise Requirements for Canada Driving Licence
A driver can continue to drive with the driver’s licence from their home country licencing authority for up to three months, after which an Alberta driving licence is required in order to legally drive in the province. To obtain a Canada driving licence or to exchange a driver’s licence in Alberta, here are a few pointers to know along with the eligibility for different types of Canada driving licence.
(a) Class 7
A Class 7 Licence is a learner’s licence and can be obtained at an age of 14. The Canada driving licence allows a person to drive cars with the restriction of a person who has a non-probationary licence always accompanying the driver.
The Class 7 licence holder can drive a moped alone but have to carry a consent form from their parents or guardian for an applicant under the age of 18. Another thing to be kept in mind is that this licence holder has to maintain zero blood alcohol level and cannot drive between midnight to 5 am.
(b) Class 6
This licence allows a learner to drive a moped without the supervision of a fully licenced driver. The applicant must be of 16 years and has to ensure zero blood alcohol level.
(c) Class 5 -GDL (Probationary)
This Canada driving licence can be obtained only if the learner has held the Class 7 licence for a year without suspension. This allows a driver to drive without any adult supervision but has greater restrictions than a non-probationary driver’s licence.
A basic road test has to be qualified in order to obtain the licence. Also, the driver with a Class 5 – GDL has to maintain zero blood alcohol content and they cannot serve as a supervisor for a learner with a Class 7 learner’s permit.
(d) Class 5
A driver is eligible to apply for a full, non-probationary, class 5 licence after having held the Class 5 – GDL licence for at least 2 years without suspension and has to be not less than 18 years old.
An advanced road test has to be qualified to obtain a Class 5 licence and is considered to be a fully licenced driver.
(e) Class 4
A class 4 licence holder is permitted to drive taxis, ambulances, and buses with a passenger restriction of seating capacity of up to 24 passengers.
(f) Class 3
A class 3 licence allows the driver to drive a motor vehicle with 3 or more axles and a motor vehicle with 3 or more axles pulling a tailor with one or more axles in absence of air brakes.
(g) Class 2
A driver with a Class 2 driver’s licence can operate a school bus and has all the eligibilities provided to a class 3 /4/5 driver’s licence.
(h) Class 1
This permit allows a driver to drive any motor vehicle except a motorcycle since it is mandatory to have a class 6 licence to be allowed to drive a motorcycle.
Further, after having a look at the different types of licence classes, it is important to note that anyone from the below-mentioned countries can directly exchange their driving license from their home country’s licensing authority for an Alberta driving licence.
Australia (Class 5 and 6).
Republic of Korea (Class 5).
Belgium (Class 5).
Taiwan (Class 5).
Germany (Class 5).
Isle of Man (Class 5 and 6).
United States (Class 5, 6, and 7).
Austria (Class 5).
Japan (Class 5).
Netherlands (Class 5).
France (Class 5).
Switzerland (Class 5 and 6).
United Kingdom (in Northern Ireland – Class 5, and 6).
United Kingdom (in England, Scotland and Wales – Class 5).
Before obtaining a licence from Alberta, it is necessary to surrender the licence you are already holding. Also, in order to obtain a Class 5, non-probationary licence, it is mandatory to have proof of at least 2 years of driving experience, otherwise one can obtain a Class 5 GDL licence.
2. British Columbia
A driver can drive in British Columbia for up to three months with their foreign licence up to 90 days from their arrival after which a driver’s licence is issued by the licensing authority of British Columbia which is called the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC).
A person can easily exchange their international driving licence for a British Columbia driving licence if they belong to Austria, Australia, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, South Korea (not motorcycles), New Zealand, Switzerland, Taiwan (for passenger vehicles only, not motorcycles), or the USA.
(a) Class 8L
This learner’s permit is specifically for motorcycles. The learner is required to qualify for motorcycle skills testing requirements in order to obtain this Canada driving licence. The person has to be a minimum of 16 years old.
(b) Class 7L
This Canada driving licence allows the driver to drive with a supervisor who is fully licenced and can also seat another passenger. It is mandatory for the person to ensure zero blood alcohol content and cannot drive between midnight to 5 am. After a year of holding a Class 7L licence, the person needs to sit for a road test in order to advance their licence level.
(c) Class 7 (Novice Permit)
A class 7 N driver’s licence can be obtained once the person is 17 years of age and has successfully completed the Class 7L driving test. It acts as a valid licence for up to 5 years and the mandatory requirement is at least 2 years to qualify for the next level which is Class 5 on successful completion of a 45-minute road test.
(d) Class 6
This gives the driver the right to drive a motorcycle without any restrictions.
(e) Class 5
This is a full Canada driving licence without any restrictions on the driver.
(f) Class 4 Restricted and Unrestricted
Class 4 restricted licence holders are allowed to drive ambulances, limousines, and even buses carrying people with special abilities and special vehicles. Also, it includes all the vehicles in Class 5.
(g) Class 3
It permits driving heavy trucks with more than 2 axles.
(h) Class 2
It allows the licence holders to drive school buses, special activity buses, and more. The minimum age required is 19.
(i) Class 1
This Licence holder can drive semi-trailer trucks and various categories of vehicles, except motorcycles. The minimum age required is 19.
This province allows drivers to drive in Manitoba with their home country’s licence for up to 90 days after which it is mandatory to get a Manitoba driver’s licence. Following are the classes under which a person can apply the licence for as per the eligibility :
(a) Class 6M,6L,6I,6F
Class 6M Allows a person to take up a motorcycle training course, after completion of which a person can apply for a Class 6L license which is actually a learner’s permit. Further, after 9 months, a person can sit for a road test and apply for a 6I licence upon successful completion. Finally, after 15 months, a person can get a full motorcycle licence but has to ensure BAC for the first 2 years.
(b) Class 5L, 5I, 5F
The Class 5L licence is a learner’s permit to drive a vehicle under the supervision of a driver who has held the full driver’s licence for at least 3 years and can be obtained only once the person is 16 years.
The CLass 5 I category is given to a person after 9 months of obtaining the 5L licence and passing a road test wherein the person can drive at midnight but has to take only one passenger with them.
The CLass5 F can be obtained only after 15 months of the intermediate driver’s licence being issued which makes the person a fully licenced driver.
(c) Class 4 , 3 , 2 ,1
Class 4 permits driving ambulances, buses, and taxis while Class 3 deals with heavier vehicles like two-axle vehicles. Class 2 gives allowance to drivers to operate buses with a seating capacity of more than 24 and the Class 1 licence is for semi-trailer trucks.
4. New Brunswick
A person can apply for a Class 9 and Class 8 licence at the age of 14 with parental consent and can apply for a Class 6 licence after at an age of 16 years with parental consent.
Also, with parental consent, a person can apply for a Class 7 driver’s licence which works under a graduated licensing program at the age of 16.
Further, once the applicant is 18, they can apply for a Class 5 or even an advanced licence after completing the requirements and tests under the Graduated licensing system.
5. Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador have several categories under which they provide licences to the applicants. The first and the most basic eligibility is age. A person can apply for a learner’s permit for a Class 5 licence at the age of 16 and can only receive a licence once they are 17 and the same applies for Class 6 vehicles.
Once the person has successfully completed the knowledge test and road test, they can obtain a Class 5 licence which has several restrictions, one of them being that they should have an accompanying fully licensed driver.
After a year, the learner’s permit can be taken to an advanced level II after successful completion of a road test. This carries lesser restrictions than the previous driver’s licence. After 12 months of Level II, the driver is automatically advanced to a full driving licence under the graduated licensing program.
6. Nova Scotia
At the age of 16, a person can obtain a learner’s licence in Nova Scotia also called a beginner’s licence which further can be advanced to a Newly licenced driver’s licence.
The most common class of driver’s licence is the Class 5 licence which permits a driver for driving cars, pick-up trucks, sport utility vehicles, and vans having a seating capacity of less than 24. Class 7 driver’s licence is a learner’s licence for all CLass 5 drivers. Further Classes 1,2,3,4 deals with semi-trailers, large buses, buses with passengers of more than 24. Class 6 allows a driver to operate motor vehicles while Class 8 vehicles are for people willing to drive farm tractors.
Ontario driver’s licence has been distinguished into several categories and imposes certain restrictions according to the level of the licence holder.
One can use their non-Ontario driver’s licence for up to 60 days after which an official Canada driving licence is necessary. An added advantage is for those who have their licence from the countries (Australia, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, the Isle of Man, and many more) as they can directly exchange it for an Ontario driver’s licence.
Also, anyone holding another Canada driving licence from another Canadian province can also directly get a driver’s licence in Ontario. Ontario works under a graduated licensing system different for both passenger vehicles and motorcycles.
8. Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island allows foreign tourists who are on a 6 monthly tourist visa to drive without exchanging their driving licence for a PEI licence.
Also, a person can drive for up to four months in PEI with their driving licence and can continue till the time their driver’s licence is exchanged.
People who are non-residents but work under the agricultural or Fishing industry Canada guest worker program or seasonal agricultural worker program and hold a valid foreign licence equivalent to a Class 5 licence can continue to operate any Class 5 vehicles for 8 months in any given year without exchanging their licence.
The following steps have to be taken care of while applying for a driver’s licence in PEI:
Fill out an application form.
Provide necessary documents.
Pass a vision test.
Qualify a knowledge test and road test along with a written test.
Pay the applicable fees.
Once after turning 16 or older, PEI provides an instruction permit to the learner wherein the learner can legally drive and get driving lessons from an instructor. The license is valid for two years. Further, testing requirements include a knowledge test or road test, written or oral exam, road safety, and sign exam, a vision test, and a Driver’s Education course and are further allotted the driver’s license according to the Class of the vehicle.
Quebec allows newcomers to drive without a Quebec driver’s licence for up to six months. For exchanging a licence, the following documents are mandatory :
Canadian PR or right to stay in Canada.
Proof of residency in Quebec.
Residential proof of home country, if a licence is obtained within the last three years.
Translation of the Driver’s licence if not in English or French.
Class 8 allows the operation of tractors and the minimum age requirement is 16 years. Class 6 is a motorcycle licence further subdivided into 6A,6B,6C,6D 6 D is for Mopeds or motorized vehicles. 6A includes all motorcycles while 6B and 6C come with restrictions on cylinders sizes of 400 ccs and 125 ccs or less.
A non-Saskatchewan driver’s license is valid for the first three months of arrival after which a valid driver’s licence issued by the provincial authorities is mandatory.
To obtain a new licence, the person has to pass written tests, obtain their leaner’s licence, then hold it for the next nine months, complete a certified driving course, and pass a road test to become a fully licenced driver and receive a valid driver’s licence.
The Class 1 licence is for semi-trailer trucks, Class 2 permits operating buses with passengers more than 24. Class 3 is for those looking for permits to drive two-axle vehicles. Class 4 is for taxis and CLass 5 covers cars, vans, taxis, and two-axle vehicles that do not weigh more than 4600 kg. Class 7 acts as a learner’s licence for Class 5 and also is a motorcycle licence.
The above-stated requirements are evidence of the strict policies that the country has when it comes to providing a resident or a non-resident with a Canada driving licence. The rules and regulations are subject to change with modifications of laws within a particular province, therefore, it is highly advisable to go through the official website for ensuring eligibility and to know more about the mandatory documents for obtaining a Canada driving licence.