Driver licensing in Ontario as a newcomer is a fairly straight forward exercise. You are required to apply for an Ontario driver’s licence within 60 days of taking up residence in the province. After 60 days you must hold an Ontario driver’s licence to be able to continue to drive – an International drivers licence will give you a maximum of 12 months though. You must always carry your driver’s license with you.
Ontario operates a Graduated Licensing Program, this is a program designed to allow new drivers more time to gain experience and skills at driving. The two step process takes a minimum of 20 months before new drivers obtain their full drivers privileges.
Depending on Where You Are From and how much driving experience you have, you may or may not have to take a knowledge and road test. If you are from a country or province that Ontario has an exchange agreement with, you must pass a vision test and show acceptable proof of your previous license status and driving experience. To exchange an out of province license you will need to contact a Drivers Examination Centre. Don’t forget you will need to present your out of country/province driver’s license verifying previous driving experience or written confirmation about your previous driving experience from the licensing authorities and there are Fees applicable to the licensing process.
There are 12 different Classes of license in Ontario. Unless you intend to drive a heavy goods vehicle or large passenger vehicles, then you only need to concentrate on classes G & M. Class G is for cars, with G1 & G2 being the applicable levels of the Graduated Licensing Program and Class M is for Motorcycles, again with M1 & M2 for the Graduated Licensing Program.
All motor vehicles in Ontario must be licensed, insured and maintained, before they are allowed on the road.
To register the vehicle you must buy a vehicle permit and plates and pay an annual vehicle validation fee. The renewal date is based on your birth date; therefore, this will always be the same every year. A renewal form will be mailed to you and you can renew your registration at any Driver & Vehicle Licensing Issuing Office.
If you take your own vehicle to Ontario you have 30 days to register it. If you are looking for a replacement vehicle read the following guide to Buying a Vehicle that provides great information that could save you time, money and trouble!
Another vital service that is available if you are looking to buy a preowned vehicle is to have the vehicle history checked. Several companies can offer this service – more details can be found at the main website linked below in the authors box. For a small fee they will provide a full report on any previous accidents, odometer level, the correct owner/registrant and if there are any other claims against the vehicle ownership. No one needs their vehicle to be repossessed because it has finance against it or find out it has been previously written off!
It is illegal to operate an uninsured vehicle as all motor vehicles in Ontario must be insured with a minimum $200,000 third party liability insurance policy. You will not be able to register your vehicle without proof of your valid insurance. In Ontario, private companies provide Auto Insurance coverage for all drivers. The main website provides exceptional information on Auto Insurance in Canada and each Province’s individual system.
When driving any vehicle you must always carry the pink liability insurance card for that vehicle. Failure to produce it if asked by the police can lead to a fine of up to $400.00. Make sure you get an up to date no claims certificate from your current insurance company before leaving. Some companies may not recognize your previous history depending upon your nationality and the insurance company you were with before but make sure you bring them anyway. Always photocopy all your original driving documents in the case you have to surrender them – that way you will have the copy for future reference should you ever need to prove your previous history or return to your home nation.