So, You're Trying to Get Your Driver’s Licence During a Pandemic

By Lesley Green
A person taking their in-person road test to get their full driver's licence.

Young drivers and new drivers face extra challenges due to COVID-19.

  • All in-person road tests are cancelled for the duration of the stay-at-home order.
  • Would-be drivers can still take their G1 knowledge test at DriveTest Centres.
  • G2 drivers not able to get their G licence will have to pay G2 licence insurance rates a bit longer.

Getting your driver’s licence has never been easy, but it’s especially difficult during a pandemic. With Ontario’s latest stay-at-home order in effect (the province’s third), would-be drivers need to put their plans to take the in-vehicle road test on the back burner. Road tests to get your G2 licence or full G driver’s licence are cancelled.

The stay-at-home order will last at least 28 days (until May 6). It may be extended if necessary.

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What you need to know about getting your G1 driver’s licence

Although in-vehicle road tests are cancelled, Ontarians can visit a DriveTest Centre to take the G1 knowledge test. It won’t be easy, though.

There are a limited number of spots available each day for the knowledge test to maintain social distancing, and tests are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. Unfortunately, booking a time to take your G1 knowledge test is not an option.

If the testing room is at capacity when you get to the front of the line, you’ll be assigned a time to return. However, you may be asked to return that same day, or it may be another day if the queue ahead of you extends beyond business hours.

You can help speed things along by completing some of the paperwork in advance. The Ontario driver’s licence application is available online, and instructions on how to complete it can be found on the DriveTest.ca COVID-19 Q&A page. Don’t forget to bring your “acceptable identity documents” with you as well.

What you need to know about in-person road tests in Ontario

Whether it’s a road test to get your G2 or to get your full, unrestricted G licence, all in-person road tests are cancelled for the duration of the stay-at-home order. When you schedule your test, the fee you paid will remain on file for when you rebook; you will not have to pay this fee again. Lastly, and unfortunately, if your road test was cancelled due to the stay-at-home order, DriveTest says they’re unable to provide you with priority rebooking access due to “the uncertainty of the current situation and the high demand for road test appointments”.

That last one hurts, especially if you’ve already been waiting a while to get your test or were previously affected by the two earlier stay-at-home orders.

How could this affect your Ontario auto insurance?

Your Ontario auto insurance is determined, in part, by the type of driver’s licence you hold.

For drivers who hold their G1 licence, very little will change from an auto insurance standpoint. A new driver with a G1 licence does not need to be listed on an insurance policy because they must always have a fully licensed driver with them when driving. As a result, there are no premium ramifications for a G1 driver having to stay a G1 driver for a little while longer.

The same is not true for a G2 driver.

A person’s successful progression through the graduated licensing system demonstrates the driver has the skills and experience needed to be a safe driver and passing that final in-person road test is proof of that. Without it, the driver is stuck in G2 auto insurance limbo. Meaning, until they’re able to pass their final road test, the driver will have to continue to pay premiums based on having a G2 licence, which, when all else is equal, is usually more than if they have their full G licence.

It’s an unfortunate reality of the COVID-19 times in which we find ourselves.