This article has been updated from a previous version.
Obtaining a standard driver’s licence in Ontario is a journey — the road to a full G-class licence runs through a graduated licensing program. But once you get to the final stop, all the restrictions of the G1 and G2 licences are lifted, which means you can legally drive a car, van, or small truck at any time of the day or night on all public roads and highways.
Start your engine with your G1 licence
The journey toward your full G-class licence in Ontario has three major stops. The entire road trip takes at least two years, although you can take as long as five years if you need it.
The graduated licensing process allows a learner the time to develop the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to become a competent and safe driver, and it all begins with the G1 licence.
Applying for your G1 licence requires that you be at least 16 years old. You will have to pass an eye test as well as a written test that will quiz you about the rules of the road and traffic signs. Once you’ve passed your G1 written test, you’ll be able to hit the road, but only with a fully licensed driver at your side who has had their G licence a minimum of four years.
Once you feel ready, you can schedule your road test online, or your driving school or instructor may do this for you if you’re taking a training course.
Driving down the road to a G2 licence
You’re likely to be a G1 driver for at least a year before getting your G2, although you can accelerate the process to take your road test within eight months if you complete and pass a government-approved driver education course while you have your G1.
The second phase in Ontario’s graduated licence program requires that you pass a road test to obtain your G2 licence. You’ll be driving with it for at least another year before applying to take the full G road test. Your driving record while driving with your G2 will also impact your insurance premium as a fully licensed driver.
The 20-minute road test to get your G2, otherwise known as the “city test,” will assess your driving skills, including driving situations and rules of the road, as well as the following:
- Basic starting, stopping, turning, and passing
- Driving through intersections that are controlled and uncontrolled
- Safe driving practices including driving the speed limit, steering techniques, and a roadside stop
- Backing up
What does the G driving test include?
Getting your full G licence requires you to pass another road test similar to the G2 test, except it’s more advanced and will include driving skills such as parallel parking and highway driving (however, due to a COVID-related backlog, the parallel parking portion of the exam and some other skill tests have been temporarily lifted). The G licence test runs a little longer at about 30 minutes.
Highway driving is an important part of the full G licence road test because it ensures you can drive on the highway at high speeds. Most of the test evaluates how you enter, merge onto, drive along, and exit expressways where the speed limit exceeds 80 km/hr. Basic driving skills are also evaluated, including:
- Proper signalling and speed
- Left and right turns
- Stopping at and passing through intersections
- Proper lane use and observation skills
- Mirror use and blind-spot checking
- Lane changes
- Roadside stops (temporarily suspended due to COVID-19)
- Driving along curves
- Space management
- Defensive driving
- Driving in business and residential areas (temporarily suspended due to COVID-19)
- Parallel parking (temporarily suspended due to COVID-19)
- Three-point turns (temporarily suspended due to COVID-19)
G licence frequently asked questions
Can I speed up the process to get my G licence faster?
Unlike the G2 test, the full G licence test can’t be fast-tracked. You must wait 12 months after obtaining your G2 before you can apply to take your G test as it allows you ample time to practice expressway/high-speed driving and build experience in preparation for your full G licence test.
Are there any restrictions with a G licence?
Even if you obtain your full G licence, you may still be subject to a few restrictions — if you’re 21 years old or younger, you must have a zero-blood alcohol level when driving and there’s a zero-tolerance level for cannabis.
How does having a full G licence affect my auto insurance?
Even as a fully licensed driver, your insurance rate will reflect your experience and driving record. Having obtained your G licence, it’s expected you have advanced driving knowledge and more experience on the road, which lowers your risk of getting into a collision. If you’re collision and ticket-free when you obtain your G licence, your auto insurance premium will be cheaper than when you only had a G2 licence. However, you’re still considered higher risk until you’re 25, and if you’re under a parent’s policy as a driver of their vehicle, their insurance costs will go up significantly.
What if I’m looking to get my full driver’s licence in a province or territory other than Ontario?
The process for becoming a fully licensed driver varies from province to province. Here’s where you can find out what the process is outside of Ontario:
- 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
- NWT Drivers and Vehicle Services
- Yukon Driving and Transportation
- Nunavut Transportation
Getting affordable car insurance
Once you’re fully licensed, you may be ready to get a car and purchase an insurance policy to protect you and your vehicle. On that note, it pays to shop around for car insurance quotes, and if you’ve recently received your G licence, be sure to tell your insurance provider or broker to see if you can save some money.
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