The rules for getting a driving license in Canada differ in each province and territory. Depending on which country you’re from, you may be able to simply exchange your foreign license for a driver license in Toronto, Ontario without the need to sit any road tests.
In any event, you should become familiar with the road signage and rules in Ontario. Or, if you’re moving to another province, like British Columbia then you should do further research. Driving in Canada is not just about getting the right paperwork. The weather here may present different challenges to those you are used to. For example, winter driving in Canada will require you to prepare for things you never had to consider before.
Before you arrive in Canada, it’s a good idea to get a copy of your driving history from your home country’s licensing authority and/or insurance provider. Having the appropriate documents (including the actual licence itself) ready when you arrive will help when you apply for a driver license in Canada. Documents should be in English or French.
Getting your Driving License in Ontario
Valid non-Ontario licenses may be used for the first 60 days while you get settled in the province. Once that time has elapsed, a valid Ontario license is required.
You may simply exchange your existing license for an Ontario equivalent if your license is from:
- Great Britain
- The Isle of Man
- New Zealand
- Northern Ireland
- Republic of Ireland
Learner or novice licenses cannot be exchanged. However, you may still receive credit for previous experience and proceed through the Ontario licensing structure more quickly as a result.
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Exchanging Your Foreign License
To exchange your foreign license, you will need to go to a Drive Test centre, where you will need to:
- Take an eye test
- bring original identification showing your legal name, date of birth and signature.
- bring your valid non-Ontario licence
- bring any original supporting documents that show proof of your driving experience
- pay the applicable fees
- Fill out an application form (where you will state how long you have been driving)
If you have less than two years of driving experience, you will receive a G1 license which carries additional restrictions. For example, with a G1 license you must:
- maintain a zero blood alcohol level, and
- not drive between midnight and 5am.
Once you have accumulated two years of experience, you can sit your G2 road test to get a full driver license in Canada.
If your country is not listed above, then you will not be able to exchange your foreign licence for an Ontario equivalent. You will need to:
- sit a written test about road rules and traffic signage
- take an eye test, and
- sit a road test.
If you have more than two years of foreign experience, you can sit the G2 road test and get a full license. If you have less than two years of driving experience, you may sit the G1 road test, and then the G2 road test when you’ve accumulated two years.
For more information, tools, and free webinars about living in Canada visit our Settling in Canada resource page. We’ll help you to settle in Canada successfully!