How to Get an Ontario Driver's Licence When Moving to Ontario

Getting a Driver's Licence in Ontario

If you're moving to Ontario from another province or country, you'll need to update your driver's licence. To ensure safe and legal driving, you must meet specific requirements, such as exchanging out-of-province licences and registering your vehicles. To achieve this, it's crucial to have a solid understanding of the following driving laws and processes in Ontario. Additionally, it helps to be in-the-know about Ontario driving laws, car insurance rates, and other rules of the road.

Getting an Ontario Driver's Licence

You have 60 days to use a valid driver's licence from another province or country. After 60 days, you must obtain an Ontario driver's licence.

As you prepare, consider exchanging any out-of-province licences you may hold. You'll also want to know the requirements for newcomers from other countries (if applicable) and countries with reciprocal arrangements. Understanding these details will help you navigate the process smoothly, meet all the criteria for obtaining your Ontario driver's licence, and comply with the province's regulations.

Exchanging Out-of-Province Licences

To exchange your out-of-province licence for an Ontario driver's licence, ensure you meet the eligibility criteria outlined by the province's licensing regulations. This typically entails:

  • Filling out an application and paying applicable licence fees
  • Providing a valid form of ID and proof of residence
  • Taking a vision test and showing proof of your driving experience
  • Getting a certified translation if your licence is not in English or French

If you meet the eligibility criteria, visit a DriveTest Centre near you to begin the process. You can then apply to exchange your driver's licence from another Canadian province or territory, U.S. state, and specific countries. However, licences from countries without agreements with Ontario or specific motorcycle class licences may not be eligible for exchange.

Additionally, receiving credit for previous driving experience may speed up the process, so make sure to have all the required documents ready for your Ontario driver's licence application.

Getting a Licence When Moving to Ontario From Another Country

To obtain an Ontario driver's licence as a newcomer from another country, first check if that country has a reciprocal arrangement with Ontario. Some countries like the U.S. and Australia have an agreement with the province where you may be able to exchange your foreign driver's licence for an Ontario one without going through the regular process, such as taking a knowledge or road test.

If your country doesn't have a reciprocal agreement with Ontario, you'll need to provide official written confirmation of your driving experience. Typically, this is a letter from the original licensing agency or relevant government office, which should include important details related to your driving history. To avoid unnecessary delays, this confirmation letter must come directly from the original licensing agency or the Embassy, be printed on official letterhead, and be written in (or translated to) English or French.

The type of licence you receive will depend on your driving experience. If you have less than 12 months of driving experience, you must acquire 12 months for the G1 road test. For 12-24 months, you can take the G1 road test immediately with written confirmation. With 24 months or more, you can take either the G1 or G2 road test immediately.

Countries With Reciprocal Arrangements

The following countries have a reciprocal exchange agreement with Canada:

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • France
  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • New Zealand
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America

Remember that your foreign licence will need to be translated into English, and you must present a valid photo ID, proof of legal status in Canada, and an address in Ontario. Additionally, you'll need to undergo a vision test during the licence exchange process to ensure your eyesight meets the required standards for safe driving in Canada.

Ontario Licence Levels & Driving Tests

Examiner Filling In Ontario Driver's Licence Road Test Form

Ontario has three levels of driver's licences: G1, G2, and G. Each level has restrictions and requirements. Understanding the differences between them can help you navigate Ontario's driving system efficiently and move towards obtaining a full G licence.

G1 Licence

When applying for a G1 licence in Ontario, aspiring drivers must navigate a two-step process that typically spans about 20 months. Starting at 16, you'll begin by studying the driver's handbook and watching educational videos to prepare for the written knowledge test. Once you pass the test, you'll receive your G1 licence, enabling you to drive with a supervising driver with at least four years of experience.

G1 licence holders are not permitted to drive between midnight and 5 a.m. and may not drive on 400-series highways or high-speed expressways without a licensed Ontario driving instructor.

G2 Licence

Obtaining a G2 licence in Ontario marks a significant advancement for drivers in the province. With a G2 licence, you can drive alone on Ontario roads, subject to specific restrictions, including having a zero blood alcohol level while driving and ensuring all passengers match available seatbelts.

Passenger age restrictions apply with a G2 licence. If you're 19 years old or younger, you may only have one passenger 19 years old or younger between midnight and 5 a.m. After six months of holding the licence, you may have up to three passengers in this age range during that time. This restriction is waived if you have a fully licensed driver in the car or if your passengers are immediate family members.

To acquire a G2 licence, you must hold a G1 licence for at least 12 months (8 months if you've completed a government-approved MTO Beginner Driver Education Course) and pass the G2 driver's licence test before your G1 licence expires.

Full G Licence

Acquiring a full G-class licence in Ontario signifies a crucial step in the province's graduated licensing system. To qualify for the G test, you must hold a valid G2 licence for at least 12 months without any suspensions, pass a vision test meeting the required standards, and book a driving test at a DriveTest Centre.

Drivers holding a G licence must have a zero blood alcohol level if they are under 21 and a maximum of 80 mg if they are over 21. During the G test, expect a pre-test vehicle inspection, on-road driving assessment, traffic scenario evaluations, parallel parking demonstration, and highway driving assessment.

How to Register Your Vehicle in Ontario

When registering your vehicle in Ontario, you'll need to consider the specific requirements for vehicles coming from another province or country. The process can vary based on the vehicle's origin and may require additional steps, such as filling out customs clearance forms and showing proof of identity.

To complete your registration process, you will need to gather the following documentation:

  • Ontario driver's licence or registrant information number (RIN)
  • Proof of ID (name, date of birth, signature)
  • Used vehicle info package (for certain vehicle types)
  • Proof of purchase (seller receipt, bill of sale)
  • Proof of car insurance from a licenced insurance proof
  • Original vehicle permit from the seller with transfer portion completed
  • Plate portion of permit (if attaching an existing plate)

Preparing the above documents in advance can help ensure a hassle-free registration process. Standard vehicle types need a Safety Standards Certificate to demonstrate their roadworthiness and proper registration.

Vehicles From Another Province

Registering a vehicle from another province in Ontario involves following specific steps to ensure compliance with the province's regulations. Upon moving to Ontario, you have 30 days to register your out-of-province vehicle. To do so, visit a ServiceOntario centre near you with your current vehicle permit, proof of insurance, and identification. You may also need to provide a Safety Standards Certificate, an emissions test certificate, and any other required documentation.

Additionally, be prepared to pay the required fees for vehicle registration, plate stickers, and any outstanding fines. Depending on your location within the province, fees for one or two years range from approximately $60 to $240. Once you complete the process, you'll receive Ontario licence plates and a new vehicle permit. Ensuring timely registration of your out-of-province vehicle is essential to driving legally in Ontario and avoiding demerit points and other penalties.

Vehicles From Another Country

To register an imported vehicle in Ontario, you must provide a stamped Vehicle Import Form 1, a bill of sale, title, and proof of insurance to the province's Ministry of Transportation (MTO). Additionally, the licensing office in Ontario may require you to present other information or documentation.

Once you have gathered the necessary documents, you can take them to the licensing office to complete the registration process. Depending on the country of origin, you may need to pay import fees or taxes, and the vehicle must be inspected to ensure it meets Ontario safety standards.

Important Ontario Driving Laws to Know

401 Highway in Ontario, Canada

New residents must understand Ontario's driving laws to navigate the province's roads safely and legally. Speed limits vary depending on the type of road, so pay attention to posted signs. In urban areas, the speed limit is typically 30–50 km/h unless otherwise indicated. The limit ranges from 60–80 km/h on rural highways and country roads. Most highways have a speed limit of 100–110 km/h, except for Trans-Canada routes, which limit it to 90 km/h.

Other Ontario driving laws include:

  • Wearing a seatbelt (this is mandatory in all Canadian provinces)
  • Not exceeding Ontario's legal blood alcohol limit of 0.08%
  • Not using a mobile phone while driving unless it's hands-free
  • Stopping at least 20 metres from a stopped school bus whose upper alternating lights flash red

Failing to comply with driving laws in Ontario can result in hefty fines and demerit points on your driver's licence.

How Much Is Car Insurance in Ontario?

Insurance is a major consideration among anyone's living expenses. Car insurance rates in Ontario vary depending on individual circumstances and driving history. Insurers typically consider young drivers high-risk, resulting in higher premiums. However, maintaining a clean driving record and gaining experience over time can lead to lower premiums.

Most drivers in Ontario pay between $1,300 and $2,000 per year for car insurance, which is slightly higher than in some provinces. People moving to Ontario from Quebec may find insurance rates to be up to $500 more expensive per year. G1 drivers are not eligible to be the primary insurance holder. In contrast, G2 drivers need their policy if they own the vehicle, but they can be added as occasional drivers on a household policy.

Comparing quotes based on age, driving experience, and other relevant factors can help you find the best insurance rates in Ontario.

Start Driving in Ontario

No matter which Ontario cities are calling your name, it's essential to understand the process of being licensed to drive in the province. Once you've completed all the steps, the same common sense laws of the road apply. By anticipating potential hazards on the road, maintaining a safe following distance, and obeying traffic laws, you can become a safer and more responsible driver in Ontario.

If you're ready to move to Ontario, contact Team Goran of RE/MAX CARE Realty at (519) 979-9949 to reach a local real estate agent who can help find your dream Ontario home.

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