Getting a driver’s licence is a liberating experience for many and a rite of passage for everyone. Thankfully, Ontario’s Graduated Licensing System makes the process pretty straightforward while also ensuring that our roads are safe. New drivers in Ontario that are looking to get behind the wheel (or the handle – if you’re getting a motorcycle licence) will need to get plenty of practical experience before they drive independently with minimal restrictions. 

The entire process takes at least 24 months to complete (two 12 month practice periods); however, new drivers could shave 4 months off of that timeline by completing a Beginner Driver Education (BDE) course

Snapshot: 

Graduated Licensing Fee Structure:

SERVICEFEE (not incl. tax)
G1 knowledge test       $16.00
Class G2 road test$53.75
Five-year licence$90.00
Class G road test $91.25
Total $251.00

Note: When you first apply, you may need to pay for the G1 knowledge test, G2 road test, and five-year license all at once ($159.75). 

G1 Licence

In Ontario, the G1 license is the equivalent of getting a learner’s permit. This class is the first of three to complete the Graduated Licensing System. 

To obtain a G1 licence, novice drivers must: 

The G1 knowledge test 

The G1 test includes 40 multiple choice questions that are split equally between two sections – Rules of the Road and Traffic Signs. You need to get at least an 80% (16/20) on each section to pass the G1 knowledge test. This test takes about 20 to 30 minutes to complete. 

The test is available in many languages, including English and French. If you aren’t able to take the written exam in one of these languages, you can schedule an appointment, bring an interpreter, and take an oral exam at the office.

Many DriveTest Centres also have audio versions of the test. If you have difficulty with reading or writing, this may be a better option. You also have the choice of scheduling an appointment to take the test verbally with an employee at the DriveTest Centre.

What should I bring to the G1 knowledge test? 

What happens if I fail the G1 knowledge test?

If you fail your first attempt, you can retake the test as many times as you need to. However, the cost of retaking the test is $16.00 for each additional attempt. 

How can I practice for the G1 knowledge test?

To practice for the G1 knowledge test, you can use one of three resources:

  1. The MTO Handbook
  2. Free online resources
  3. A thorough prep course

While we hate to be self-promotional, we’ve built a G1 test prep course with 300+ questions and 10 mock exams that closely mirrors the real G1 exam. If you’re looking to get a bit more practice in before the test, you can learn more about our course here.

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G1 Licence – Rules and Restrictions 

As a G1 licence holder, you’ll face the most restrictions on the road as you learn to drive. This includes the following:  

How long do I need to wait before getting my G2 license? 

G1 license holders must wait 12 months before taking their G2 road test (also known as the G1 exit test). However, new drivers are highly encouraged to go through a Beginner Driver Education (BDE) course at an MTO-approved driving school, which also reduces the wait time to 8 months instead of 12. 

BDE courses are important for teaching new drivers about the rules of the road and how to navigate complex situations they may encounter. Plus, most auto insurance companies offer discounts or reduced premiums to new drivers that successfully complete the BDE course! 

The BDE course includes:

 

G2 Licence

As a G2 licenceholder, you’ll be allowed to drive on your own for the first time!

To obtain a G2 licence, new drivers must pass the G1 exit test. You could book a G2 road test via phone, online, or at a local DriveTest Centre. 

The G2 road test 

This road test is approximately 20 minutes long and is designed to test your basic driving abilities on city streets (does not include any 400-series highways). During the road test, the examiner will give you directions and assess your ability to complete them. There are no set number of mistakes allowed on this test – it’s up to the discretion of the examiner to pass or fail the student based on the severity and volume of errors. Some of the maneuvers that an examiner could test include:

What should I bring to the G2 road test? 

What if I fail the G2 road test?

If you fail the G2 road test on your first attempt, you may retake the road test as many times as needed as long as your G1 licence has not expired. The fee to retake the G2 road test is $53.75 for each additional attempt. 

G2 Licence – Rules & Restrictions

As a G2 license holder, you are given more freedom on the road due to your driving experience. However, you are still under the following restrictions while you prepare for your Full G license: 

Note that the passenger restrictions no longer apply if you’re accompanied by a Full G license holder in the front passenger seat, or if your passengers are members of your immediate family. 

How long do I need to wait before getting my Full G license? 

G2 licence holders will need to wait at least 12 months before taking their Full G road test (also known as the G2 exit test). During this time, they’re encouraged to practice driving as much as possible and (ideally) in different weather conditions. 

They must also get experience driving on highways with speed limits of at least 80km/h. Not only will they need to drive on a highway for the Full G road test, but they will also need to sign a Declaration of Highway Driving Experience form before taking the test. This form will outline the highway driving experience they’ve amassed over the 12+ months as a G2 license holder. In order to take the G road test, G2 license holders must have driven on the highway at least 5 times within the last 3 months. 

Full G Licence

The G licence is the last stage of Ontario’s Graduated Licensing System. With a Full G license, you face even fewer restrictions as a driver in Ontario. You can obtain your Full G licence by passing the G road test. Before you can take the G road test, you must have had your G2 license for at least 12 months.

The G road test 

This road test is approximately 30-40 minutes long and is designed to test advanced driving abilities on city streets and highways. Similar to the G2 road test, the examiner will give you directions and assess your ability to complete them. Remember, it’s up to the discretion of the examiner to pass or fail the student based on the severity and volume of errors. Some maneuvers that an examiner could test include:

What should I bring to the G road test? 

Full G licence – Rules & Restrictions 

A Full G licence removes the majority of driving restrictions faced by G1 and G2 license holders. However, Full G license holders should be aware of the following restrictions:

What if you fail the Full G Road Test?

If you fail your Full G road test you can retake it as many times as needed, as long as your G2 license has not expired. You must wait 10 days between attempts and pay $91.25 for each additional attempt. 

 

Exchanging a Foreign Driver’s License 

If you’re new to Ontario and have a valid driver’s license from another province or country, you’ll be able to drive stress-free with that license for 60 days. However, if you want to continue driving after 60 days, you’ll need to get an Ontario driver’s license. 

Jurisdictions with a reciprocal arrangement 

The province of Ontario allows drivers from the following jurisdictions to exchange their foreign license for a Full G driver’s license (as long as the foreign license is of an equivalent class): 

However, if you’re a newcomer with fewer than 2 years of driving experience, you may instead receive a G2 license. Once you have at least 2 years of driving experience, you can take the G road test for full license privileges. 

Checklist to exchange your foreign license: 

Jurisdictions without a reciprocal arrangement 

If you’re new to Ontario and your jurisdiction does not have a license-exchange agreement with Ontario, you may still be able to expedite the process to obtain an Ontario driver’s license. Although you would still need to complete all three steps of the Ontario graduated licensing system, your driving experience could reduce your waiting time. 

Less than 12 months of foreign driving experience:

12 months of foreign driving experience: 

More than 12 months’ of foreign driving experience: 

You can visit any DriveTest centre or the ServiceOntario at Bay and College in downtown Toronto to get the process started.

Note: Only driving experience within the past three years will be credited.

Passing your licensing tests in the first try 

Although pass rates for Ontario’s G2 and G tests vary significantly based on the DriveTest centre, your best bet is to go through driving school and learn with a certified instructor. Driving instructors are very familiar with the structure and topics covered in both the G2 and G road tests. However, instructors alone won’t get you the pass; remember, practice makes perfect – so be sure to practice as much as you can before booking your tests! 

For your G1 knowledge test, investing in a thorough, exam-like prep course is the best way to go.