Driving a vehicle is a privilege and having an Ontario driver’s license is proof of that privilege. It’s not just about having a driver’s license. You must carry it with you whenever you drive.
Licenses Overview: Information About Ontario Drivers’ Licences
In Ontario, it’s not just one or two different types of license classes. There are 12 of them. Each license class allows you to drive different vehicles.
For example, there are passenger vehicle licenses and commercial vehicle licenses. You may have more than one license class, and you can combine license classes. For example, you may have an ABM license.
The license class you have must match the type of vehicle you are driving. There are a set of minimum requirements and required tests that you must meet. Each test for cars, vans, and small trucks is done at the DriveTest Centre. Testing for motorcycles or commercial vehicles is completed at a DriveTest Centre or a registered training program. The organizations must be authorized by the Ministry of Transportation for testing.
Driver’s Licence Photo Cards
Ontario uses Official Ontario driver’s license photo cards. The license photocards include your digitized photograph and signature. Information on an Ontario driver’s license includes your name, address, date of birth, gender (M, F, or X), height, license class, issue date of the license, and expiry date. The codes showing which class of vehicles you may drive and if you have any applicable conditions, such as glasses, are also on the license.
Temporary driver’s licenses are typically issued but are short-term documents used by licensed drivers before receiving an official Ontario driver’s license card in the mail. Your temporary driver’s license would be for up to 90 days.
As a driver’s license holder, you must keep the information on your license up-to-date. You would need to renew your driver’s license card periodically. If your driver’s license does expire, you may need to re-apply for that particular license.
An Ontario Photo Card or a driver’s license photo ID card from another province, state, or country cannot be held simultaneously as an Ontario driver’s license. If you have an Ontario Photo Card or a photo ID card from any province, state, or country, you must turn in your existing ID and driver’s license.
You must inform DriveTest if you have held an Ontario Photo Card, even if it has expired or canceled when you apply for a driver’s license. If you do not inform DriveTest, it may delay you from getting your driver’s license. Your Ontario Photo Card will cancel upon passing the required driver’s license testing. If you wish to re-apply for your Ontario Photo Card, you must give up your driver’s license.
Minimum Requirements for Drivers’ Licences
The following are the minimum requirements for obtaining a driver’s license in Ontario:
- You must be at least 16 years of age to be eligible. The age requirement to pursue a commercial driver’s license varies on the type of license.
- As a newcomer to Ontario, if you hold any driver’s license from another province or country, you have 60 days for an Ontario driver’s license after moving to Ontario.
- You must provide an appropriate ID at the time of your application.
- You must meet all medical requirements.
- You must pay all the applicable fees, which could change without notice.
- Pass a vision, knowledge, and road test to be licensed.
A Note for Licensed Experienced Drivers:
Ontario does have driver’s license exchange agreements with certain provinces, states, and other countries. If you have a license outside of Ontario, that driving experience may be accepted through license exchange privileges. The test may be waived, or perhaps a foreign license experience credit. Certain conditions and requirements may apply.
Military Department of National Defence (DND) 404 permit holders, including active and retired members, may also have driver’s license testing requirements waived. Any driver with a DND 404 permit and a valid driver’s license held within the last three years issued by another Canadian licensing jurisdiction may be eligible. Ontario license classes A, C, D, F, G, and Z endorsement, with appropriate ID and documentation, can become licensed without testing and without surrendering their permit.
Licenses Overview: License Types for All Classes
There are 12 different driver’s license classes that relate to vehicle types.
Ontario has created a graduated licensing program for new drivers of cars, vans, small trucks, motorcycles, scooters, and mopeds, just like many other countries and provinces have adopted. Those in the graduated licensing program will have a G1 license, G2 license, M1 license, or M2 license. Graduated licensing does not apply to any of the commercial licenses.
Endorsements and conditions provide additional information to the police and regulators about the type of vehicle you are legally allowed to drive. For example, Z endorsements are for air brakes, L is for limited-speed motorcycles, or they describe the circumstances under which you are allowed to drive, such as only with corrective lenses.
Let’s look at different license types, the types of vehicles allowed to drive, and which vehicle you could operate.
A: Can drive any tractor-trailer or combination of a motor vehicle and towed vehicle, where the towed vehicles exceed a total gross weight of 4,600 kilograms. You can also operate a D, G, and A with condition R vehicle.
A with condition R: This class of license restricts Class A License Drivers from pulling double trailers or a trailer with air brakes. This license class can also drive D and G Class vehicles
B: This license class can drive any school-purpose bus with a designed seating capacity for more than 24 passengers. This license class can also drive C, D, E, F, and G Classes.
C: This class can drive any regular bus with a designed seating capacity for more than 24 passengers. They can also operate any D, F, and G Class vehicles.
D: This license class can drive any truck or motor vehicle combination exceeding 11,000 kg. The towed vehicle is not over 4,600 kg. This license class can also operate a G Class vehicle.
E: This license class can drive any school-purpose bus with a maximum seating capacity of 24 passengers. This class can also operate F and G Class vehicles.
F: This license can drive any regular bus with a maximum 24-passenger capacity and ambulances. They can also drive G Class vehicles.
G: This license class can drive any car, van, or small truck, including a combination of vehicle and towed vehicle up to 11,000 kg, provided the towed vehicle is not over 4,600 kg. They cannot drive a motorcycle or motor-assisted bicycle, a bus carrying passengers, or an ambulance while providing ambulance service. They can operate a recreational vehicle towed by a pick-up truck that may not exceed 4,600 kg.
G1: This is level 1 of graduated licensing. G1 holders of this license may drive G Class vehicles when accompanied by a fully licensed driver with at least four years of driving experience. Additional conditions do apply.
G2: This is level 2 of graduated licensing. Holders of this license may drive Class G vehicles without an accompanying driver but are subject to certain conditions. This includes the number of young passengers that teen G2 drivers can carry between midnight to 5 a.m.
M: This is a license to drive motorcycles, including limited-speed motorcycles (motor scooters) and motor-assisted bicycles (mopeds). M Class license holders can operate a Class G vehicle under the conditions that apply to a Class G1 license holder. They may drive M Class vehicles with condition L, including motor scooters and mopeds.
M1: This is level 1 of graduated licensing for motorcycles, which includes limited-speed motorcycles (motor scooters) and motor-assisted bicycles (mopeds). M1 license holders may drive a motorcycle under certain conditions. They may operate M class with condition L (motor scooters and mopeds)
M2: This is level 2 of graduated licensing for motorcycles, which includes limited-speed motorcycles (motor scooters) and motor-assisted bicycles (mopeds). M2 holders may drive a motorcycle and have a zero-blood-alcohol level. M2 Class license holders may also operate a Class G vehicle under the conditions that apply to a Class G1 license holder. They may also operate an M class with condition L (motor scooters and mopeds)
M (or M1, M2) with condition L (LSM/moped): These are limited-speed motorcycles (LSM) or mopeds only. Limited-speed motorcycles are motorcycles with a maximum speed of 70 km/hr. If the LSM was manufactured after 1988, they have a label on the vehicle that indicates it to be an “LSM/MVL”.
M (or M1, M2) with condition 1 (motor tricycle): This license class is only for motor tricycles or three-wheeled motorcycles. These vehicles move on three wheels, have straddled seating, and use a handlebar for steering. They can carry no more than four passengers and have a maximum gross vehicle weight of 1,000 kg. Some of the three-wheeled vehicles are considered two-wheeled open motorcycles by Transport Canada because of the close spacing of their front wheels. Road tests with one of these vehicles can allow you to get a full M Class driver’s license.