Toronto residents can start the process of getting licensed when they turn 16 — an exciting milestone for young people and new residents to the province. However, the process of getting your licence can be confusing. To help you get your licence faster, easier, and smoother, here’s Kruzee’s guide to getting licensed in Toronto:

The licensing system in Toronto – G1, G2, G

As in other cities across Ontario, Toronto follows a graduated licensing system split into three licence classes – the G1, G2, and G. While you can start the process of getting licenced  when you turn 16, it can take up to 4 years to make it through the entire process. Based on our study of students across Toronto, most students take between 4-6 years to complete the entire licensing process. Each step in the licensing process has different requirements, benefits, and costs to secure the licence. Here they are at a glance.

LicenceWhat is it, and when can you get it?What are the restrictions?How much does it cost?
G1
  • First learner’s permit that lets you practice with another driver.
  • You can get your G1 licence when you are at least 16 years of age, and pass a 40-question written test.
As the first step in the journey of new drivers, the G1 licence has the most restrictions out of any licence. They include:
  • Must be accompanied by a person who has had a valid full G licence for a minimum of 4 years and has zero alcohol consumption
  • No driving between midnight to 5 a.m.
  • No driving on 400-series highways, including the Gardiner Expressway, Don Valley Parkway (DVP), and the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW)
  • Seatbelts must be worn by all passengers at all times
  • Permitted to drive G class vehicles only
On the first attempt, a G1 costs $159.75 to write the test and receive the licence. For any subsequent attempts (in case you didn’t pass the first time), you will need to pay a $16.00 fee.
G2
  • Learner’s permit that lets you drive by yourself, with some restrictions.
  • You can get your G2 if you’ve had your G1 for 12 months, or 8 months if you went through a registered driver’s education program like Kruzee.
The G2 licence has many fewer restrictions than the G1 licence. As the first licence that lets you drive by yourself, the G2 does give you more freedom – you can now drive:
  • Without another experienced driver in the car
  • On all Ontario roads
  • At any time of the day, in most cases

However, you must still:

  • Have a zero blood alcohol level
  • Carry only as many passengers as there are working seatbelts
  • Can only drive with one passenger aged 19 and under between the hours of midnight and 5AM, if you are under 19 yourself
A G2 test costs $53.75 on each attempt.
G
  • Full driver’s licence.
  • You can get your G 12 months after getting your G2.
Full privileges and responsibilities associated with having a driver’s licence apply.A G2 test costs $91.25 on each attempt.

Going to driving school in Toronto

Once you’ve completed your G1 test, the next step in moving along your licensing journey is aligning on a strategy for how you learn how to drive. At this point, you have two options – either attending an MTO-approved driving school, or learning to drive on your own. In Toronto, going through driving school tends to be the more popular option – in a 2022 Kruzee study, 82% of individuals reported going to a driving school to learn how to drive, vs. 18% learned by themselves. If you are deciding to go through driving school, here are a few things to keep in mind:

What are the benefits of driving school?

  1. Driving school lets you get your G2 in 8 months instead of 12: The Ministry of Transportation views new drivers that have gone through a BDE course as less risky than drivers that haven’t. As a result, the Ministry of Transportation allows new drivers that have gone through a BDE course to get their G2 in 8 months instead of 12 if they have their G1 licence. For a high school student, this can be the difference between having your licence before you graduate and graduating without being able to use a car.
  2. It can save you 10-20% on auto insurance: Often, driving school can pay for itself, purely through the insurance discounts. Many auto insurers across Ontario offer discounts to students that have gone through a BDE course to recognize their safer driving behaviour. Auto insurance for new drivers can cost between $4,000 – $6,000 per year if you have your own vehicle. At these rates, in your first 3 years of driving, the 10-20% auto insurance discount can represent savings of $1,200 to $1,800 overall, paying for driving school many times over. Savings can vary by insurance provider, though, so make sure to give your insurance company a call to check what your specific discount could be.
  3. It can be the difference between passing and failing your road test: Many driving instructors have been road test examiners in the past. This means that they know the ins and outs of what it takes to pass your road test —  and where most students slip up. While there is no guarantee that driving school will result in you passing your road test, it can go a long way towards improving your chances. For more tips and tricks on how to pass your road test, click here.
  4. It will improve your overall driving record: The certificate you receive from completing an MTO-approved BDE course remains on your driving record for years. Aside from the direct recognition by insurance companies the certificate produces, going through driver’s ed will teach you how to drive more safely, thus improving your driving record. For new drivers, this is critically important, as their time on the road is limited and their driving records are still quite short.
  5. You can learn advanced defensive driving techniques: At the end of the day, learning how to drive safely is the heart and soul of driver’s ed. All of the other benefits — faster licensing time, insurance discounts, etc. — exist because driving schools like Kruzee produce safer drivers. The defensive driving techniques you learn when completing a driver’s ed course can save your life, and the lives of others. At Kruzee, driving instructors focus on instilling safe driving habits for life that will improve your reaction time in dangerous situations and help you assess risky driving situations critically.

How much does driving school cost in Toronto?

For the most common driving school package – an MTO-approved BDE program – the average cost of attending driving school in Toronto is $945 in 2024. This includes 10 hours of in-car instruction, 20 hours of online theory, and 10 hours of online practice tests – completion of all of these are mandatory in order to receive the MTO certificate. At Kruzee, our MTO-approved BDE program costs $795.

How should I evaluate my driving school / instructor?

Unfortunately, not all driving schools and instructors are created equal! You’ll want to make sure that the school you’re selecting is the best driving school in Toronto for your specific needs. Whether you decide to book with Kruzee or a different driving school, here are the questions you should be asking yourself before getting started with a given driving school or instructor:

  1. Is the driving school MTO-certified? Before enrolling in classes, make sure that the driving school you decide to go with is ministry-certified. Only ministry-approved driving schools are allowed to offer lessons to G1-holding students, and only ministry-approved driving schools are able to give you the MTO-certificate that grants you accelerated licensing and the insurance discount.
  2. Is the driving instructor MTO certified? In addition to the driving school being MTO-certified, the driving instructor themselves must be ministry certified. Only MTO-certified driving instructors are allowed to take students on highways, and only in-car hours with certified instructors count towards the MTO certificate.
  3. Does the driving instructor have driving instructor insurance? Driving instructor insurance is different from normal car insurance – due to the higher risk of teaching new students, driving instructors must have special driving instructor insurance. This keeps you safe and protected in case of an accident. Unfortunately, because driving instructor insurance is more expensive than normal insurance, some driving instructors cut corners and don’t get the proper coverage. If you get into an accident with an instructor that isn’t properly insured, there could be serious consequences.

Passing your G2 and G road test in Toronto

What are the DriveTest centres in Toronto?While there are no DriveTest centers in Downtown Toronto, there are two DriveTest centres in the Metro Toronto Area – one near Downsview, at 37 Carl Hall Rd, and a secondary location in Scarborough at 1448 Lawrence Ave East.

What are the average passing rates for the G2 and G tests in Toronto? For the G2 road test, the average passing rate in Toronto is 48%, as of 2024. For the G road test, the passing rate is slightly higher, at 55%.

Top 3 tips & tricks for passing your road test from our Toronto instructor Paul Bumra:

  1. Practice driving in your testing area. Paul recommends doing some practice in the road test area to get comfortable driving there. For example, if your G2 test is at the Metro East DriveTest Centre, practice driving nearby at least once. However, he doesn’t recommend just driving the test route.“Just because you drive the route doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re prepared or that you’re a good driver,” says Paul. “Things might happen on the road, in that area or outside of that area that you might not expect.” Instead, spend a few practice hours with a parent or licensed instructor driving in your test area to get comfortable with the driving conditions.
  2. Be a bobblehead. Awareness of your surroundings is an important skill, but particularly important for your road test. Moving your head constantly makes it clear to your examiner that you’re aware of your surroundings.Paul explains;“Be sure to check intersections before entering, check driveways, and watch for pedestrians. Driving instructors will also watch your head movements to ensure that you’re doing them properly.”
  3. Listen to verbal prompts. Your examiner will always tell you what the next driving manoeuvre is that they want you to make. Careful listening can be the difference between passing and failing.“The driving examiner isn’t trying to trick you. They will explain exactly what they want you to do – make sure you’re listening carefully. If you aren’t 100% sure what the examiner meant, always, always ask for clarification.”