Ontario G1 Licence Requirements and Restrictions

Male driver being taught to drive/learning to drive

An Ontario G1 licence is the first stage in Ontario’s graduated licensing program (followed by the G2 licence, and finally the full G licence). From start to finish the process takes about 20 months to complete; however, you have five full years to complete it.

If your G1 licence is about to expire and you have not completed the process, you will be sent a notice with your options. The final resort, you can retain your licence by passing a test and repaying the five-year licensing fee. If you have not submitted for “requalification” before your licence expires you will have to start the graduated licensing system over again.

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.

Thinking about getting a G1 licence? Make sure you read up on the Official MTO Driver’s Handbook to learn more about the G1 test.

G1 Licence Conditions and Restrictions

In addition to obeying the rules of the road like all other drivers, further restrictions are placed on new learners. Novice drivers holding a G1 licence:

  1. Can only drive when they have a "zero" blood alcohol level – without exception.
  2. Can only drive when there is another G-licensed driver with a minimum of four years of driving experience sitting in the passenger seat.
  3. Must ensure this person is the only passenger in the front seat. They must have a blood alcohol level below 0.05 percent, unless they are 21-years-old or younger. In this case they too must have a zero blood alcohol level.
  4. Must ensure all passengers wear a functioning seatbelt. That being said, the number of passengers must not exceed the amount of seatbelts available.
  5. Cannot drive on any 400-series highways or high-speed expressways (roads with a posted speed limit over 80km/h).
  6. Cannot drive between the hours of midnight and 5:00 a.m.

There is one exception to rule five 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.

See what our in-house expert Anne Marie has to say about getting your G1.

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 eight months.

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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 for driving 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 G licence. Make sure you contact your potential insurance broker or company before buying!

Do you need car insurance when you have a G1 licence?

All vehicles on the road must have insurance. Most G1 drivers practice driving with someone else’s car—whether that be a parent, guardian or spouse, and are covered under their policy.

Does my parent/guardian/spouse need to tell their insurance company when I get my G1 licence?

Yes. If someone in your household owns an auto insurance policy—like a parent, guardian or spouse—they should notify their insurance company that you have obtained your G1 licence. Generally, there is no charge for adding a G1 driver to any auto insurance policy.

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 on the auto insurance policy. Even as an occasional driver, this can carry a significant added cost.

Can a G1 driver get demerit points?

Demerit points are added to your driver’s licence if you are convicted of breaking certain driving laws. The penalty for 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, their licence could be suspended. You’ll have to attend a meeting to explain why your licence shouldn’t be suspended. And at nine demerit points, your licence will be suspended for 60 days.

The G1 licence conditions and restrictions ensure that you learn to drive and gain driving experience in a safe environment. If you are convicted of breaking the graduated licensing rules, the consequences are even more serious under Ontario’s escalating penalties program: 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 take the G1 test again.

Not only that, you will lose any time you earned, discounts you were credited, and any fees you have paid.

Demerit points are typically a result of bad driving habits that resulted in tickets. And these tickets will affect your premium as a G2 or G driver.

Learner Permits in Other Provinces

The steps for getting your licence in other provinces and territories vary. To learn more about the restrictions and requirements elsewhere in Canada, visit:

Becoming a new driver is exciting, but it also comes with responsibilities. Adhere to the G1 licence conditions and restrictions, and in no time, you'll graduate onto the next level. When it comes time to get your own insurance, make sure you compare quotes at InsuranceHotline.com to ensure you’re getting the best rate.

This article has been updated.