Driving License In Canada allows you to legally drive a car. This must be issued by the government of your province or territory. It must always be with you whenever you’re driving. With it, you can drive anywhere in Canada.
Having a valid license from your home country allows you to drive in Canada for a short time after you arrive. For more information, please check with the government of your province or territory.
If you plan to use a foreign driver’s licence in Canada, you should get an International Driving Permit (IDP) in your home country. An IDP will help you to translate your licence into French and English.
The process to request for a driver’s licence in Canada depends on the province or territory where you reside and on your driving background. This may require you to:
- Write an exam on the rules and regulations of the road (you can get a study guide to help with this)
- Take one or two driving tests
It is your choice if you wish to pay for driving lessons to get ready for the driving tests.
Once you have a licence, you will have to renew it occasionally. The expiry date will be printed on the licence.
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In Canada, it is illegal to drive without car insurance. You must get insurance coverage if you own a car. If you drive a car that belongs to a relative or friend regularly, you should ensure you’re listed on their car insurance plan.
You can get different types of car insurance plans, including coverage for either or both:
- injuries to yourself and damage to your car or
- the costs of damages and injury to others if you’re at fault in an accident
Your car insurance cost depends on the plan you choose and your:
- driving record
- living location
- driving experience
The cost also varies between insurance companies. For this reason, you should:
- make sure you understand what each plan covers
- contact a few companies for details about the price of their insurance plans
Driving laws and rules
Canada has its own driving laws which you must follow. Take time to learn the laws in your province or territory before you even start driving.
To get a full list of laws and rules about driving, get a copy of the driving guide issued by the department that regulates cars and driving in your province or territory. Usually, you can get these guides at service centres, online and in stores.
In Canada, driving laws are strictly enforced for safety purposes. Consequences for breaking the laws are generally severe.
If you’re in an accident
There is a penalty for leaving the scene of an accident. It is a crime in Canada. This accidents includes, colliding with another vehicle or hitting a pedestrian. If you’re involve in an accident:
- call the emergency number (911) for police and an ambulance (if you need one)
- wait at the scene until the emergency services you called arrive
- exchange information with the other driver (if the accident involves another vehicle), including:
- telephone number
- licence plate
- driver’s licence numbers
- insurance company name
- insurance plan number
Buying or leasing a car
To find out about car dealers or car rental agencies, you can search the Internet or call the local transportation ministry in your province or territory.
If you need a car for short periods, you can rent a car from a car rental agency. Try as much as possible to make sure car insurance is included in your car rental agreement if you need it.
In some cities, there are car-sharing programs that enables you use a car without buying, leasing or renting one. You may want to research this option to see if it meets your needs.
Buying a car
You can buy a new or used car from a:
- car dealer
- person who is selling their car
Leasing a car
Instead of buying a car, many people in Canada lease a car from a car dealer. This is a legal agreement between you and the dealer in which you:
- Agree to pay a fee to use the car for a specific period of time (usually several years)
- Return the car to the dealer in good condition after the time ends
Since a lease is a legal agreement, make sure you understand the terms and conditions of the lease before you sign it.
Be familiar with safety issues especially during the winter season. Snow and ice are a major problem when driving in parts of Canada. Drive slowly in snowy and icy conditions. It’s also a good idea to buy special winter tires for your car (this is mandatory in some provinces or territories).
You can also see how you can buy a car in Ontario and using foreign drivers license.