Area of Law: Highway Traffic Law
Answer # 516
Getting and keeping your driver's licenceRegion: Ontario Answer # 516
Every driver in Ontario must have a valid driver’s licence to legally operate a motor vehicle on a road or on other public property. Drivers must carry their licence at all times and must produce it when a police officer asks to see it. There are several things you must do to get and keep a valid driver’s licence.
Graduated Licensing System
Ontario has a graduated licensing system, whereby new drivers must pass two levels of licensing, a G1 and G2, and pass two road tests before they will earn full driving privileges and get a full G licence. It takes a minimum of one and a half years to obtain a G licence, although you have up-to five years to complete the process.
Level One – G1 licence
To apply for a driver’s licence, you must be 16 years of age or older, and you must pass both a vision test and a written test about the rules of the road and traffic signs. You will need to bring original identification that shows your legal name, date of birth and your signature. To apply and take the required tests, go to a Ministry of Transportation DriveTest centre.
Once you pass your vision test and written test, you will be issued a Level One licence, also known as a G1. A G1 licence has several conditions concerning where and when new drivers can drive. The most important conditions are:
- when driving, the G1 licence holder must be accompanied by a person holding a valid driver’s licence, and whose blood alcohol level is less than .05,
- the G1 licence holder cannot drive on 400 series highways and other high-speed expressways,
- the G1 licence holder cannot drive between 12:00 am – 5:00 am, and
- when driving, the G1 licence holder must have a blood-alcohol level of zero.
The G1 licence must be held for 12 months before you can apply for a G2 licence. This time period can be shortened to eight months if you have taken an approved Drivers Education course.
Level Two – G2 licence
After having held a G1 licence for 12 months (or eight months as the case may be), you are eligible to take the first road test, called a G1 road test. If you pass, you will receive a G2 licence. A G2 licence has fewer conditions regarding where and when you can drive than a G1 licence, but it still does not give you full driving privileges.
After holding a G2 licence for 12 months, you are eligible to take the second road test, called a G2 road test. If you pass, you will receive a full G licence with all driving privileges.
For all required fees, including for the written knowledge test, G2 road test, and the five-year G licence, visit drivetest.ca.
For more information about the graduated licensing system in Ontario, visit ontario.ca.
The Demerit Point System
To keep your licence, you must not abuse your licence privileges. Ontario uses a demerit point system to monitor your driving record. If you are convicted of a traffic offence, you will usually receive several points. The number of points you receive will depend on the offence you are charged with. Any points that you receive will stay on your driving record for two years. The most points you can accumulate for a single offence is seven, for failing to remain at the scene of an accident, or, for failing to stop when signalled or asked by a police officer. Fully licensed drivers will have their licence privileges suspended for 30 days if they accumulate 15 points. G1 or G2 licensed drivers will have their licence privileges suspended for 60 days if they accumulate nine points.
For more information about demerit points, visit ontario.ca.
Renewing your licence
To keep your licence valid, you have to renew it every five years, 180 days before it expires and up-to 1 year after it expires. On the back of your licence it will tell you the date it expires. There is a fee to renew your licence. People with certain medical conditions such as epilepsy, heart conditions, and fainting spells will have restrictions on their driver’s licence. You must renew your driver’s licence photo every 10 years.
Visit Service Ontario for more information on renewing a soon-to expire or recently expired driver’s licence.
Drivers 80 years and older
Elderly people who wish to drive must meet other requirements to keep a valid driver’s licence. When you reach the age of 80, you must renew your licence every two years. There is a small fee, and the licence you receive will be valid for two years. In order to renew your licence, you must:
- Take a vision test
- Undergo a driver record review
- Attend a group education session
- Complete an in-class screening exercise
If necessary, you may also be required to take a road test.
More information about renewing your licence if you are 80 years or older can be found from the Government of Ontario, ontario.ca website.
Ministry fees are subject to change. To find out more about applying for a new driver’s licence and for a full list of fees, contact the Ministry of Transportation or visit ontario.ca.
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