How to Get your Driver’s License in Ottawa

This post explains the step by step  process for acquiring a license for a car/automobile. For a step by step guide on how to get a motorcycle license in Ottawa, please click here.

A driver’s license is more than a piece of plastic, it represents one’s ability to drive a car legally. As the process in Canada is determined by each Province, the rules and regulations that are required to be followed in Ottawa are the same as those of Ontario.

Ontario Graduated Licensing  System (GLS) has to be entered into for drivers wishing to take their license from the 1st of April 1944 .

New drivers earn their full driver privileges in two learner stages (known as G1 and G2) and have five years to complete the full program to graduate to a full license (G).

If you are an individual with a license from another province or country, you will be required to show proof of that license as well as a list your driving experience. You must also have proof of identification, pass a vision and health test and finally pay the required fees.




  • 1

    G1 License

    First and foremost, one must verify that they meet the qualifications for a driver's license. To be eligible to apply for a G1 license, a person must be 16 years of age. You must also be able to show proof of your legal name, date of birth (day, month and year) as well as your signature. All documents must be originals. A list of documents that can be accepted can be found here.

    You are also required to pass a vision test and answer a few health questions to determine that your eyesight and health are at a level that allows you to drive safely.

    In order to earn a G1 license, a person must successfully complete a multiple choice exam that covers rules of the road, driving technique, safe practices as well as road signs. This exam is based on the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) Driver's Handbook. Information on the handbook and where you can obtain one for $16.00 can be found here.

    Your written exam will be taken at one of the locations indicated in the introduction. Once you have cleared all the requirements (exam included) you will have a valid G1 license. This license is valid for 5 years and costs $125.00 CAD.

    A driver must remain at the G1 level for 1 year. It is possible to reduce this time period to 8 months if you complete a ministry approved driver education course. A list of  ministry approved courses can be found here.

    As a G1 driver, you will be able to drive cars, SUV's, vans and small trucks however there are certain restrictions that you must be aware of including:

    a. you must be accompanied by someone who has 4 years driving experience;

    b. you must have a blood alcohol content of 0.00%;

    c.  you cannot drive between midnight and 5 am; and

    d.  you cannot drive on the 400 series highways

  • 2

    G2 License

    When the 8-12 month period has passed, you are required to take a road test to test your driving in order to qualify for a G2 license. The driving test will usually be held at the same location that you took your written G1 test. This exam costs $75.00. Your road test can be booked here.

    G2 drivers stay at this level for 12 months before they are able to take a road test to qualify for a full G license. It is often suggested that you take driving lessons with a licensed professional as this should improve your chances of passing as well as given you a strong idea of what to expect. A good one can be recommended to you by the provider of your G1 in class course. A list of  ministry approved courses can be found here.

    A G2 license gives you  freedom including:

    a.  you are now able to drive alone;

    b.  you can now drive on the 400 series highways

    The test to qualify for a G1 involves driving, parking and a display of proper technique.

  • 3

    Full G License

    The last step required to qualify for a full license is the G2 road exam. This can be taken 12 months after the G1 road test. This test involves showing driving proficiency on highways as well as re-testing of other basic skills that were tested in the G1 exam.

    The G2 exam can usually be taken at the same location as the other driving exam. This exam once again costs $75.00. The road test can be booked here. Once again, hiring a driving instructor could be of use to you to refresh your skills and have an idea of what to expect.

    Once you have passed this exam you have a full license as per the province of Ontario.

  • 4

    Best of luck to all of you who are looking to get their license in Ottawa!

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