To drive a car in Canada you need a valid driver’s licence which is issued by the province or territory where you reside. By law, you are required to carry your driver’s licence with you whenever you drive. Also, you should have copies of your vehicle registration and insurance.
A few points to keep in mind while driving in Canada
- you are not allowed to use your phone in any manner while driving a car
- distracted driving (including texting while driving) carry still fines and penalties
- drive on the right side of the road
- follow the posted speed limit
- the right of way is always given to pedestrians and cyclists
- all passengers must be wearing seat belts
- use proper child seats as per the requirements
- do not drink and drive
- give right of way to the pedestrians crossing the street
- you may turn right at red lights only after you have made a complete stop and check that the turn can be made safely
- if travelling in a carpool lane, make sure the minimum number of required passengers are in the vehicle
- if you hear sirens or see flashing lights of emergency vehicles (police, fire, ambulance), pull over to the right and allow the emergency vehicle to pass
Driving in Ontario
Getting a licence
A newcomer to Ontario who holds a driver’s licence from another province or country is required to apply for an Ontario driver’s licence within 60 days of taking up residence in the province.
To apply for an Ontario driver’s licence you have to show proof of your legal name, date of birth and signature (i.e. passport, permanent resident card).
For more information, see Driving in Ontario.
Driving in Alberta
Getting a licence
- A newcomer to Alberta who holds a driver’s licence from another province or country is required to apply for an Alberta driver’s licence after taking up residence in the province.
- It is the law in Alberta that a person must surrender any and all foreign driver’s licences when they obtain any class of Alberta operator’s licence.
- Alberta has reciprocal licensing agreements with the following countries in addition to all Canadian jurisdictions and territories: Austria, Belgium, England, France, Germany, Japan, Republic of Korea, Scotland, Switzerland, United States and Wales.
- To obtain an Alberta driver’s licence, you must provide proof that you are lawfully entitled to reside in Canada (i.e., Canadian birth certificate, permanent resident card, citizenship card, Canadian passport) and proof that you are an Alberta resident (i.e., utility bills).
- For more information, see Service Alberta
Driving in British Columbia
Getting a licence
- A newcomer to British Columbia who holds a driver’s licence from another province or country is required to apply for a B.C. driver’s licence within 90 days of taking up residence in the province.
- If you have a licence from the United States, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, South Korea or another province of Canada, you may not need to take the knowledge test or road test.
- You can apply for a B.C. licence right away. If your driver’s licence is from anywhere else, you will need to take a knowledge test and a road test. Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) driver licensing offices have books you can study for the knowledge test. They are in English only.
- To apply for a B.C. driver’s licence, you must be 16 years or older and have to show two pieces of identification.
- For more information, click here BC Driving
Click here for a detailed list of Provincial and territorial government departments responsible for licensing cars and drivers.