Ontario Driver’s License

To drive a car in Canada, you will need a driver’s license. The Ontario driver’s license is a blue, plastic card that contains your name, address, date of birth and signature on it. You have to carry your driver’s license with you when you drive. The license has an expiry date, and must be renewed before it expires.

To get a driver’s license in Ontario, you must go to a Driver’s Examination Centre and apply. The process will depend on if you are a new driver or if you have had a driver’s license before.

New Drivers

Ontario has a graduated licensing system. This means that there are different stages each new driver must pass before becoming a fully licensed driver. A fully licensed driver is said to have a “full G license.” Before you can get a full G license, you have to finish two learning levels (G1 and G2) and pass two road tests.

To apply for a driver’s license in Ontario, you need to:

  • be at least 16 years old
  • pass an eye test
  • pass a written test about the rules of the road and traffic signs

Once you pass these tests, you get a G1 license. You are considered a beginner driver and can only drive if it is with a fully licensed driver who has at least four years of driving experience. There are also some limitations on what types of roads you can drive on. In most cases, you practice with your G1 license for 12 months.

After 12 months, you can take your first road test. Once you pass, you get your G2 license. With your G2 license, you can now drive without another experienced driver in the car and on all Ontario roads. After 12 months you can take your second road test, which covers more advanced driving skills. Once you pass, you get a full G license.

You have up to five years to finish the whole process. After five years, if you do not get your full G license, you will need to start over.

Exchanging an Out-of-Province Driver’s License

When you move to Ontario, you can use a valid license from another province, state or country for 60 days. After 60 days, you need to switch to an Ontario driver’s license.

You can exchange an out-of-province license for an Ontario license if you are re-locating from:

  • any Canadian province or territory
  • Canadian Forces Europe
  • U.S. States
  • Australia, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, the Isle of Man, Japan, Korea, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Switzerland

You cannot exchange:

  • a driver’s license from a country that does not have an exchange agreement in place with Ontario (it is not listed in the section above)
  • a learner’s permit or novice-class driver’s license from another province, state or country

To switch your license for an Ontario driver’s license, you need to apply in-person at a DriveTest center. You may also need to take a written test and road tests before you get a full license. It depends on your circumstances.