- Driver's licence in Canada
Canada, driver's licenses are issued by the province and territory in which the driver is resident. Thus, specific regulations relating to driver's licences vary province to province, though overall they are quite similar. Under Canadian federal law a driver's license is valid for use and must be accepted throughout the country. Canadian licenses are also accepted in the United Statesand many other nations due to various international agreements and treaties.
Age of eligibility
Canada's driving age is determined on a province-by-province basis.
The driving age in the various Canadian provinces are (by Provinces east to west):
Nova Scotia[ [http://www.gov.ns.ca/snsmr/rmv/licence/gradlic.asp Nova Scotia Registry of Motor Vehicles - Graduated Driver's Licence System] ]
*For Class 7 or 8 licences, the Learner's stage of the system lasts for 6 months, which may be reduced to three months if a recognized driver education or training program is taken. Operating conditions at this stage include: No passengers, except an experienced driver who holds at least a Class 5 licence; and, zero
blood alcohol levelfor the learning driver. suspensions will delay graduation to the newly licensed driver stage by the minimum time requirement; that is, three months if a recognized driver education or training program was taken, six months if not. Once a road test has been successfully completed, the learner becomes Newly Licensed for a minimum of two years. Operating conditions include: Zero blood alcohol level for the newly licensed driver; Only one front seat passenger and rear seat(s) passengers limited to the number of available seat belts; No upgrade beyond a Class 5 driver's licence; and, No driving between midnight and 5:00AM, unless accompanied by an experienced driver. A newly licensed driver may apply for an exemption from the night time driving curfew for employment purposes. The driver must take the most direct route to and from work, and is not permitted to have any passengers in the vehicle.
**To "graduate" from the newly licensed driver stage, the driver must successfully complete a 6 hour Defensive Driving course or complete the full Driver Training Course (25 hours theory, 10 hours driving time). A copy of your graduation certificate must be provided, in person or by mail, to any Registry of Motor Vehicles office for recording purposes. Licence suspensions will delay graduation to the regular driver stage by two years from the date the licence is reinstated.
Quebec[ [http://www.saaq.gouv.qc.ca/en/index.html SAAQ] ]
* Learners permit: Available at age 16 (with adult consent), with the passing of a multiple choice road theory test, a driving permit is issued which allows the learning driver to drive on roads accompanied by someone with full valid driver's licence.
* Probationary licence: Available after having held a learners permit for 12 months or eight months if the driver has completed a certain number of driving lessons with recognized driving school. Probationary licence is acquired after successfully completing a road test.
* Driver's licence: Finished a two year probationary period, if aged 16-24; or if the driver has passed the probationary licence driving test, if age 25 or older.
Ontario[ [http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/driver/gradu/index.html MTO] ]
* Learners permit (G1): Available at the age of 16, with the passing of a multiple choice road theory test, a driving permit is issued which allows the learning driver to drive on roads accompanied by someone with full valid driver's licence whose
blood alcohol content(BAC) is less than 0.05 and has been licensed for four years. The driver also cannot drive on 400-series highways and other high-speed expressways (unless accompanied by a licensed instructor) or between 12:00 AM - 5:00 AM and must maintain their own BAC at zero.
* Probationary licence (G2): Available after having held a learners permit for 12 months, or eight months if the driver has completed and passed a ministry-approved driver education course. Probationary licence is acquired after successfully completing a road test. At this point the driver must still maintain a BAC of zero. As of September 2005 teenage drivers with a G2 licence are restricted in the number of passengers under 19 that they can carry during night-time driving . [ [http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/driver/classes.htm Licence Classes in Ontario] ]
* Full licence (G): After 1 year of possessing the G2 licence a driver can take an additional road test that often includes driving on a four lane divided highway. With successful completion they will obtain a full licence which carries no restrictions and are not required to take any further tests until the age of 80, provided they renew their licence regularly. Drivers 80 and over must complete a vision and knowledge test and participate in a 90-minute group education session to renew their licence, and the maximum number of years that a license can be issued for is two years.
Ontario has been using a graduated licensing system since 1994. A driver can take as little as 20 months to get a full licence, however a driver must have a full licence (G) within five years of obtaining a learners permit (G1).
The exact same process, except with other restrictions, is used for obtaining a motorcycle (M) licence.
In Ontario, there was a recently proposed legislation to deny driver's licences to high school dropouts until they turned 18. It was meant as an incentive for students to graduate. [ [http://www.cbc.ca/news/viewpoint/yourspace/teen_dropout.html Ontario to delay driver's licences to dropouts] ]
Traffic Violations convictions usually come with
demerit points against your licence. Although contrary to popular belief, the points have no direct impact on insurance rates, and rather are used by the Ministry of Transportation to determine license suspensions due to repeated traffic violations.
Alberta[ [http://governmentservices.gov.ab.ca/index.cfm?fuseaction=section:drivers:newlicence Service Alberta: ] ] [ [http://www.servicealberta.gov.ab.ca/Drivers_MotorVehicles.cfm Service Alberta: ] ] =
*Learner's Permit (Class 7): This permit can be obtained at 14 years of age, and can only be used when a non-probationary licensed driver (see below) over the age of 18 is accompanying the driver. However, mopeds may be driven without an accompanying driver. A knowledge test requiring a mark of at least 83% as well as a vision test must be passed.
*Motorcycle / Moped (Class 6): This permit allows an operator to drive a motorcycle or moped. Minimum licensing age is 16.
*Probationary Driver's Licence (Class 5, Probationary): This licence can be obtained at age 16 if the driver has had a Learner's Permit for at least a year. This licence allows one to drive without an accompanying fully licensed adult, although it has more restrictions than a non-probationary licence, including fewer allowed
demerit points. A road test must be passed to obtain this licence.
*Non-probationary Driver's Licence (Class 5): This licence can be obtained after having had the probationary Driver's Licence for two years without suspension, therefore the applicant must be at least 18 years of age. An advanced road test must be passed to obtain this licence. A driver with this licence is referred to as a "fully licensed driver".
* Class 4: This permit allows the operator to drive a taxi, ambulance, or bus with seats for up to 24 passengers. Minimum learning or licensing age is 18.
* Class 3: This permit allows an operator to drive a single motor vehicle with 3 or more axles, or a motor vehicle with 3 or more axles pulling a trailer with one or more axles (assuming the trailer does not have airbrakes).
* Class 2: This permit allows an operator to operate any bus, in addition to the vehicles permitted by holders of class 3/4/5 permits. Minimum learning or licensing age is 18.
* Class 1: This permit allows an operator to any motor vehicle except a motorcycle. Minimum learning or licensing age is 18.
British Columbia[ [http://icbc.com/licensing/lic_getlic_passenger.asp ICBC Drivers' Licensing] ] [ [http://www.icbc.com/licensing/lic_getlic_types.asp classes] ]
*Class 8L (Motorcycle Learner's Permit): This permit can be first obtained at age 16, just as the Class 7L. There are many restrictions until the rider passes a "Motorcycle skills Test," which is conducted on a parking lot and involves basic manoeuvering skills. After this test, the rider can ride alone, with much fewer restrictions.
*Class 7L (Learner's Permit): This permit can first be obtained at age 16, and requires a person under the age of 19 to be accompanied by their parent/legal guardian. To obtain this permit, one must take a medical and knowledge test, which requires 80% to pass. A person holding this licence must be accompanied by a fully licensed driver over 25. The driver must maintain a blood-alcohol count of 0 (e.g. none in their blood), display a large 'L' decal on the back of their vehicle, have no more than two passengers (including the supervisor), and must not drive between 12AM-5AM. The 7L licence is good for two years. After 12 months (9 if the person has taken an approved driving course before
March 31, 2007), the driver may take a 45 minute driving test to advance to the next level.
*Class 7 (Novice Permit): Also called the "N" stage, the permit is obtained after completion of the Class 7L driving test. A Class 7 licence is good for five years, and the stage takes a minimum of two years to complete. Restrictions include 0 blood alcohol and a limit of one passenger (the limit being waived for anyone in the immediate family). Furthermore, any infraction of the traffic law by the possessor of a Class 7 Licence can result in a prohibition, after which the possessor must begin the Class 7N program from the start. After two years, the licence-holder may take the 60 minute Class 5 road test. Passage grants a full licence (a Class 5 passenger vehicle licence).
*Class 6 (Motorcycle Licence): This licence allows the holder to operate a motorcycle with no restrictions.
*Class 5 (Full Vehicle Licence): This is a full passenger-vehicle licence. It has no additional restrictions, unlike the Class 7 licences.
*Class 4 (Commercial licence): Permits the holder to operate taxis, limousines, ambulances, special buses used to transport people with disabilities and other special vehicles - also permits the holder to operate vehicles in Class 5. Minimum age: 19.
*Class 3 (Commercial licence, heavy trucks): Permits the holder to operate trucks with more than two axles, including dump trucks and large tow trucks - also permits the holder to operate vehicles in Class 5. Minimum age: 18.
*Class 2 (Commercial licence, buses): Permits the holder to operate buses, including school buses, special activity buses and special vehicles - also permits the holder to operate vehicles in Classes 4 and 5. Minimum age: 19.
*Class 1 (Commercial licence, semi-trailer): Permits the holder to operate semi-trailer trucks - also, permits the holder to operate all motor vehicles or combinations of vehicles except motorcycles. Minimum age: 19.
British Columbia has been using a graduated licensing system August 1998. [ [http://www.trafficinjuryresearch.com/publications/PDF_publications/Best_Practices_for_Graduated_Driver_Licensing_in_Canada.pdf Best Practices for Graduated Driver Licensing in Canada] ] The program was last revised in October 2003, which involved large changes in the time it took to acquire a licence (previously, a person could complete the Class 7L stage in as little as 3 months, and the Class 7N in 12, and no passenger limit was enforced above Class 7L).British Columbia requires new residents who hold UK driving licences to take a test but does exchange US licences.
Enhanced driver's licences
Along with several U.S. states, several provinces are in various stages of testing an "enhanced driver's licence" for Canadian citizens that includes proof of citizenship to comply with the U.S.
Department of Homeland Security's Western Hemisphere Travel Initiativefor crossing into the United States. Approximately 500 drivers in British Columbia currently have EDLs as part of a pilot program, with plans to expand eligibility to all British Columbia citizens in spring 2009. [ [http://www.icbc.com/licensing/lic_renew_replace_enh_dl.asp B.C.'s Enhanced Driver's Licence] , retrieved 26 June 2008.] Ontario's provincial government has proposed legislation that would make EDLs available there, [ [http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/driver/enhancedcards.htm Enhanced Driver's Licence (EDL), Photo Card and Photo Comparison Technology] , retrieved 26 June 2008.] and Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec are reported to have "shown interest" in developing their own EDLs.
* [http://www.g1test.com/test.html Ontario G1 Practice Test]
* [http://www.trafficticketsolutions.ca/demeritpoints.php Ontario Demerit Points List]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.