How to get a driving license in Ontario (G1 - G2)

The process to get a driving license in Ontario varies for new drivers and those with driving experience. If you have an International Driver’s license, you can use it for a limited period when they first arrive in Canada.

Overview

To be issued with a full driver’s license, everyone must complete the graduated license process.  The Ontario graduated license system is designed to drivers on its roads and pedestrians, particularly since difficult conditions with ice and snow are common.  The Ontario graduated license system has three levels, a G1 license, G2 license, and a full G license. The system is comprised of two road tests and one written exam. Through this system, novice drivers are exposed to plenty of hands-on experience before going on the roads independently.

Driving License in Ontario – Levels and Process

Driving license in Ontario have the following levels:

G1 license

A G1 license is the first step novice drivers undergo in the Ontario graduated system, equivalent to a beginner’s license or a learner’s permit.  Applicants of this license must be at least 16-years of age and pass a test gauging their knowledge about traffic rules. A supervising driver with a full G license and over four years of driving experience must accompany individuals holding this license at all times.

Restriction under the G1 license

  • G1 drivers should have zero cannabis and zero alcohol in their system
  • They cannot drive between midnight and 5 a.m.
  • They cannot drive on 400-series highways.
  • All passengers must always wear seatbelts.
  • Only G class vehicles

G2 license

Unless you are under 19-years of age, the G2 license gives drivers more freedom, such as driving alone without any time restrictions. You must pass the G1 exit road test to qualify for a G2 license. Drivers in this category are required to hold the G2 license for not less than twelve months before they can take the G2 exit road test.

Restriction under the G2 license

  • G1 drivers should have zero cannabis and zero alcohol in their system
  • All passengers must always wear seatbelts

Full G license

A full G license is the final step in Ontario’s graduating license system. To qualify for the full G license, drivers must pass the G2 exit road test. Even though the full G license allows maximum freedom, there are a few limitations to ensure the safety of the driver and other road users.

Restrictions under the Full G license

  • Holders of the full G license are only allowed to operate G class vehicles
  • Drivers below 18 years of age must have zero alcohol concentration in their system

What’s on the Written Test

New Residents, Temporary Guest, and Full-Time Students

If you are a new resident or full-time student with a valid license from another country or province, you can legally operate vehicles with your license for 60 days. Individuals planning to settle in Ontario as permanent residents must apply for an Ontario driver’s license within the first 60 days of arrival. Visitors with a valid driver’s license from another country can use their license for 90 days, provided they carry proof of vehicle ownership and have proper insurance for their vehicle.

Applying for a driver’s license in Ontario as a novice

You must be 16 years of age and above to apply for a driver’s license in Ontario as a novice.

Step involved

  1. Get a copy of the Official Ministry of Transportation (MTO) Driver’s Handbook to prepare for the test in advance.
  2. To complete a written driver’s license test, book an appointment online at an official DriveTest Centre.
  3. Pay the necessary fees.
  4. You will be required to show proof of legal age.
  5. Sit for the written test.
  6. You will get your G1 license if you pass the written test.
  7. Apply for a G2 license after 12 months.

Applying for a driving license on based on previous driving experience

For drivers with a valid license in another country and previous experience, there are two categories.

1. A country with reciprocal arrangement for driver’s license

Applicants falling in this category need to have two years driving experience.  Countries with reciprocal agreements are United States, Australia, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Switzerland, Taiwan and the United Kingdom.

2. Moving from a country without reciprocal arrangements for a driver’s license

Individuals moving from countries with no reciprocal arrangements for driver’s license are permitted to self-declare one year of driving experience by showing their original driver’s license issued in their country. These individuals are also required to provide an official letter confirming their driving experience.

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Date Published: Friday, December 10th, 2021
Date Modified: Monday, May 2nd, 2022