There are no two ways about it, you absolutely MUST have a driver’s license to operate a vehicle on Canadian roads. From British Columbia to Newfoundland and Labrador, the expectation remains the same. But—whatever province you’re in—you can prepare to ace your driving test in 2020 with the help of this quick guide...
That applies to drivers who are getting a driver’s license for the first time, those required to retest after losing their license, as well as new Canadian residents. It’s important that all Canadians know the rules of the road and can prove it. That’s precisely why a driving test is required in every province across the nation.
When it comes to your practical driving test, each province or territory has its own requirements to book and obtain your permit. What are the rules in your province, and where do you find a testing centre near you?
In Alberta, you can get your Class 7 License, or learner’s permit, at the age of 14 with a parent or guardian’s consent. You must pass a knowledge test as well as a vision test.
Once you’re 16 years old and have your Class 7 for a minimum of 12 months, you can obtain a probationary license, or Class 5-GDL (graduated driver’s licence). Again, you must have a parent or guardian’s consent, plus you must pass the basic road test. While under probation, you cannot have any alcohol in your system when you drive, you cannot drive with more people than the vehicle has seat belts, and you must have a non-GDL driver accompanying you.
After two years with a Class 5-GDL license with no suspensions, you can upgrade to a full Class 5 license. You must pass an advanced road test.
You can book your road test at an Alberta Registry Centre or by booking online. Tests are available in most communities through an Alberta Registry Agent, with full listings viewable when you’re booking your test.
To obtain a full Class 5 license in BC, you must first complete the Learner and Novice stages through the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC).
Like Alberta, you can book your driving test online or at a BC Licensing Centre. To take your road test, book an appointment at the closest centre to you. There are dozens of Licensing Centres across the province.
In Manitoba, there are six classes of driving licenses, and Class 5 is for a regular passenger vehicle. Manitoba operates a Graduated Licensing Program with strict criteria new drivers must legally adhere to. For new licensees, you must be at least 16 years old with your parent’s consent (if under the age of 18).
Many communities around Manitoba offer road tests for Class 5 drivers including major centres in Winnipeg, Selkirk, Thompson, Winkler, and The Pas. To schedule and pay for your driving test, book an appointment with an Autopac agent.
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador administers a Graduated Driver Licensing Program as well, albeit a little different than BC and Alberta.
There are Driver Examination Offices located across the NL and Labrador area. Contact the regional office nearest you at 1-877-636-6867 to schedule a driver’s license road test.
In New Brunswick, a Class 5 driver’s license must be obtained by participating in the provincial GDL program which can be applied for at age 16.
Driver Examination Service Centres are located across the province in most populous communities. To book an appointment for a road test, call 1-888-762-8600.
Nova Scotia’s GDL program has three phases, Learner’s License, Newly Licensed, and Restricted Individual.
Driver Licensing test centres are available across the province by appointment including locations in Antigonish, Halifax, Dartmouth, Inverness, Sydney, and Truro. Call 1-800-898-7668 to book an appointment or find the location nearest you.
In Ontario, you can become a fully licensed driver in about 20 months or so, starting once you’re at least 16 years old.
The Government of Ontario operates DriveTest, a program to administer knowledge and road tests for the province. Road test locations exist across Ontario. Visit DriveTest.ca to find a location near you and to book an appointment.
PEI offers a three-year GDL program to get a full Class 5 driver’s license.
Road tests for driver licensing in PEI happen at one of eight Access PEI locations: Alberton, Charlottetown, Montague, O’Leary, Souris, Summerside, Tignish, and Wellington.
A full Class 5 driver’s license for passenger vehicles in Quebec follows a different path:
In Quebec, the SAAQ operates many service centres throughout the province. You can schedule your road test at any location near you by visiting this SAAQ resource.
In Saskatchewan, SGI administers driver licensing and vehicle registration. To get your Class 5 licence, you’ll need to complete six stages of a GDL program.
Currently, there are 61 road test locations offered across Saskatchewan. Locate and contact your nearest SGI Driver Exam Office here.
It’s stressful and nerve-wracking, but it’s your key to freedom. Your ability to drive on your own hinges on the road test for your driver’s license. And while you can retake the driving test if you don’t pass the first time, it would be great to put that worry behind you.
For the best success to pass your driving test, we have some tips. Whether you’re new to Canada or new to driving, these pointers can help you get your assessor’s stamp of approval on the first attempt.
There’s only one way to become a confident, safe driver, and that’s through practice. Log as many hours as possible behind the wheel to give yourself the greatest chance of success on your driving test. If you don’t feel like you’ve had enough driving time, postpone your driving test until you feel comfortable that you’ll pass.
It can be the bane of many a driver – parallel parking. But in reality, it’s a maneuver that can be extremely beneficial to master for everyday driving, not just to pass your driver’s test. Practice parallel parking until it feels like you can accomplish the task with minimal stress. Then, once you have your license, keep using it!
Before you start the engine with the test instructor riding shotgun, make sure the vehicle you’re driving is in order. Also, you should check that the lights are all operating. Adjust your driver’s seat and adjust the rearview and side mirrors. Always buckle up and ask the instructor to belt in too.
Being nervous is normal for such a momentous occasion, but don’t let your nerves get the best of you. Instead, use techniques to help you remain calm before your test. Also, you should get familiar with the testing centre and know where you need to go.
Learn to trust your decision-making behind the wheel, which can only be accomplished through practice. When you’re on your driver’s licensing road test, the instructor wants to see that you make good decisions while you drive. Be confident when you change lanes, for example, by shoulder-checking well once before signalling and making your movement rather than several glances over your shoulder to check and re-check. The instructor wants to see that you know what you’re doing.
It goes without saying, but watch for and follow all traffic signs. Whether it’s a stop sign or stoplight, a speed limit sign, a yield, or any other instructive sign, obey it. In most (if not all) jurisdictions, failing to obey traffic signals or signs can be an automatic failure. Plus, those signs are to keep you safe on the road.
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