Ontario’s graduated licensing system has three levels, each with specific restrictions designed to prepare drivers for the road. Understanding the process can help prevent you from accidentally breaking the law.
G1, G2, and the full G licence are the three stages of the Ontario graduated licensing program. Every driver must go through the G1 and G2 stages within five years. If you don't get the full G licence after five years, you must start over. Here’s a primer on understanding the system and what each stage means.
The G1 Licence
A G1 licence is Ontario’s learner’s permit, which you receive after passing an eye exam and a written knowledge test.
G1 licence restrictions include:
- You must always drive with a passenger who has been fully licensed for at least four years and who has a blood alcohol level of under .05. If the passenger is 21 or under, their blood-alcohol level must be zero.
- You must have a blood-alcohol level of zero.
- Every passenger must wear a seatbelt.
- You must not drive between midnight and 5 a.m.
- You may not drive on 400-series highways or expressways.
"Failure to follow these rules is serious and can result in licence suspension," notes Anne Marie Thomas of InsuranceHotline.com. To finish the G1 phase and get your G2 licence, you must pass a road test of basic driving skills. You may take your first road test after 12 months of driving with the G1 licence. If you finish a government-approved driving course, you can take the test after just eight months.
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The G2 Probational Licence
Novice drivers hold a G2 licence and are no longer required to have a fully-licensed driver in the car. You are no longer prohibited from driving on highways, and you can drive at all times of the day or night. However, G2 drivers still have the following restrictions:
- The driver must have a blood alcohol level of zero.
- There can never be more passengers than seatbelts.
- For the first six months of having a G2 licence, drivers under 19 may not carry more than one passenger during the hours of midnight to 5 a.m., unless the passengers are family members, or a fully licensed driver is in the passenger seat.
You must drive with the G2 licence for 12 months, after which you can take the final road test required for the full G licence.
The Full G Licence
Once you pass the second road test, you receive a full, restriction-free G licence. The entire process takes an average of two years. The advanced road test for the full G licence tests several skills, requiring the driver to show smooth handling of the vehicle and an understanding of traffic flow, merging, and more. Insurance quotes are typically lower for fully-licensed drivers.
While drivers cannot be sent back through the graduated system, they can still have their licence suspended. Ontario drivers should always follow the rules of the road. Driving safely can prevent accidents and keep your car insurance rates lower.