Driving in Toronto, Ontario

If you plan to drive while you’re here and don’t have an International Driver’s Permit, you must apply for an Ontario driver’s license. Anyone 16 years and older can apply for a driver’s license in Ontario.

Novice drivers, or anyone who has never driven before, will need to take a driving test and gain experience before they receive a full license. There are several types of licenses in Ontario, but you need a G license to drive a car, minivan or small pick-up truck.

To learn the rules of the road in Canada, you’ll need to enroll in a driver-training program or review Ontario’s official road safety book. You can buy a copy of this book through Service Ontario. After studying it thoroughly, you can take the knowledge test.

Proof of driving experience

You can self-declare one year of driving experience, by showing a valid, original foreign driver’s licence. If you want to earn credit for more than one year of driving experience, you’ll also need an official letter from the foreign government or agency that issued the driver’s licence, confirming that the licence is authentic. This letter needs to be written in English or French.

Driving in Vancouver, BC

If you are a full-time student, you may use an International Driving Permit (IDP)  from your home country or you home driver’s license with an official English translation. You should also carry your passport, your study permit, and your Husky card.

Other new residents who plan to drive have 90 days after they move to British Columbia to get a BC driver’s license. If you wish to get a B.C. driver’s license, you may visit Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) website for more information.

Other Information

Seatbelts: Everyone in the car is required to wear a seatbelt, regardless of age, and car seats are required for children under 40 pounds.

Learn the signs: Signs, signals and road markings can be very different in Canada from your home country. Get familiar with them before you drive.

Follow the rules: Be aware of the speed limits and parking rules. The overall speed limit in Vancouver is 50 km/hr, and 30 km/hr in School/Park zones. Do not block a fire hydrangea, bus stop, driveway, or sidewalk.

Share the road: Yield to pedestrians and cyclists. Slow down, signal and pull over when you hear emergency vehicles (ambulance, firetrucks, and police cars) approaching.

Wild Animals: Human life comes first. Make your judgement based on the traffic condition and the size of the animals.

Cell phone use: Cellular devices must be used “hands-free” when driving.

Alcohol: Driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) is a serious offense in Canada and can result in a driving suspension, vehicle impounding, or arrest. For international students, serious offenses may lead to deportation.

Car-share: There are various car-share options such as Evo and Modo available in Vancouver. These car-sharing initiatives allow you to rent a car whenever you want.