An Ontario G1 licence is the first stage in Ontario’s graduated licensing program (followed by the G2 licence and finally the full G class licence). From start to finish the process takes about 20 months to complete; however, you have 5 full years to do it.
How to get your Ontario G1 licence
To apply for a G1 licence you must be at least 16 years old, pass an eye test, and a written test about the rules of the road and traffic signs. Once these three requirements are met, you will get your G1 licence.
Being a new driver, with a G1 licence in hand, it’s important to understand G1 licensing requirements and restrictions. A G1 licence is highly restrictive and if you do not follow the rules, you could be faced with a licence suspension along with any associated fine. This is in addition to the auto insurance ramifications that will catch up with you once you’ve received your G2 and full G licence. Companies that provide auto insurance in Ontario will factor in your G1 driving record, including traffic tickets, accidents, or suspensions, when calculating your rates for any future auto insurance policy.
G1 Licence Conditions and Restrictions
In addition to obeying the rules of the road like all other drivers, G1 drivers must also:
- Drive only when they have a “zero” blood alcohol level – without exception
- Drive only when there is another fully licensed driver in the vehicle who has a minimum of four years’ experience as such, sitting in the passenger seat
- This person must be the only passenger in the front. They must have a blood alcohol level below 0.05%, unless they are 21 years old or younger in which they too must have a zero blood alcohol level
- Ensure all passengers wear a functioning seatbelt, and that the number of passengers does not exceed the seatbelts available
- Not drive on any 400-series highway or high-speed expressway (like the QEW and the Gardiner Expressway)
- Not drive between the hours of midnight and 5:00 a.m.
There is one exception to rule four above. As a G1 driver, you can drive on any road (including major highways) if the driver accompanying you is a licensed Ontario driving instructor.
- Related Read: Driver’s Training—Is It Really Necessary? [Infographic]
- Related Read: How much does a driver’s training course actually save on car insurance?
G1 licence conditions and restrictions are in place to ensure you have the opportunity to learn to drive and gain important driving experience in a safer environment. If you are convicted of breaking the graduated licensing rules, the consequences are serious: on your first conviction, your licence will be suspended for 30 days; on your second it will be suspended for 90 days; and, on your third conviction you will lose your novice licence all together and have to start over.
Graduating From Your G1 Licence To Getting A G2
Before you can get your G2 licence, you must pass a road test that will test your basic driving skills. Usually, this test can be taken after you’ve had your G1 for 12 months. This can be fast-tracked however, if you’ve taken an approved driver’s training course. With a driver’s training course under your belt, you can take your G2 road test after 8 months.
G1 Licence Most Frequently Asked Questions
As a G1 licensed driver, vehicles and insurance are likely new to you, and though exciting, may leave you with some questions. Here are the top questions asked by G1 drivers about G1 licences and insurance:
Can a G1 driver buy a car?
There’s nothing restricting a G1 driver from buying a car—but you likely won’t be able to insure it to drive until you have your G2 licence. A policy is always set up in the name of the registered owner. However, the primary driver of the vehicle must be someone who has a valid G2 or a full G licence. Make sure you contact your potential insurance broker or company before buying!
Do you need insurance with a G1 licence?
All vehicles on the road must have insurance. Most G1 drivers practice driving on someone else’s car—whether that be a parent, guardian or spouse, and are covered under their policy.
Does the insurance company need to be told of a G1 licensed driver?
Yes. If you live in a household where someone else residing there has an auto insurance policy—like a parent, guardian or spouse—they should notify their insurance company that you have obtained a G1 licence. Generally, there is no charge for adding a G1 driver to any auto insurance policy.
- Related Read: I’m a teen getting my G1 licence. If my parents add me to their policy will their insurance increase?
More importantly, the insurance company must be notified when a G1 licensed driver obtains their G2 licence; G2 licensed drivers can operate motor vehicles independently and therefore must be listed as being licensed on the auto insurance policy. Even as an occasional driver, this can carry a significant added cost.
How many demerit points is a G1 driver permitted?
Demerit points are added to your driver’s licence if you are convicted of breaking certain driving laws, and how many you’re allowed to accumulate is different for novice and fully licensed drivers. Once a G1 (or G2) driver in Ontario collects six to eight demerit points your licence could be suspended. You’ll have to attend a meeting to explain why your licence shouldn’t be suspended. At nine demerit points, your licence will be suspended for 60 days.
Demerit points are typically a result of bad driving habits that resulted in tickets. And these tickets, will affect your premiums as a G2 or full G licensed driver.
- Official MTO Driver’s Handbook to learn more about getting, and keeping, your G1 licence.
Learner Permits In Other Provinces
To see how you can get a licence in another province, other than Ontario, visit:
- British Columbia’s ICBC
- Service Alberta
- Saskatchewan’s SGI
- Manitoba Public Insurance
- Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec
- Service Newfoundland & Labrador
- Service New Brunswick
- Service Nova Scotia
- PEI Driver Licensing
Becoming a new driver is exciting, but it also comes with responsibilities. Adhere to the G1 licence conditions and restrictions, and you’ll in no time graduate onto the next level.