What is the legal driving age in Canada?

5 minute read Published on Jan 12, 2022 | Last updated Jan 12, 2022 by BrokerLink Communications

What is the legal driving age in Canada?

Are you a teen, itching to get behind the wheel? Did your parents tell you the legal driving age is 21 because they don’t want you behind the wheel? The truth is, you can get your learner’s permit at age 16 in most Canadian provinces. Each province has its own graduated licensing system and requirements. Keep reading to learn more!

Legal driving age by province in Canada

The age at which you may start the driving process varies from province to province in Canada, and all provinces have a graduated licensing system.

What does this mean? Basically, you must start with a learner’s permit and you can only drive when accompanied by someone with a full license. After the learner’s permit, you graduate to a license with conditions. That means you may drive alone, but there are restrictions, such as where and when you can drive. Finally, you graduate to a full license with no restrictions – full freedom!

Details including eligible age, tests required and length of time in each phase of the graduated licensing system vary across Canada, as outlined in the table below.

Province Age for learner’s permit Length of time to get a full license
Newfoundland 16 24 months (20 if you take a driving course)
PEI 16 12 months
Nova Scotia 16 3 years
New Brunswick 16 12 months (8 if you take a driving course)
Quebec 16 (you can start taking driving lessons at 15) 24 to get probationary license, plus two years of minor restrictions
Ontario 16 20 months
Manitoba 16 (or 15 years and six months, if enrolled through school driving course) 24 months, plus 3 years of additional minor restrictions
Saskatchewan 16 27 months
Alberta 14 3 years
British Columbia 16 25 months

Quick tip: If you’re getting behind the wheel for the first time, check out our ultimate guide for first time drivers!

Legal driving age in Newfoundland

Drivers must wait until they’re 16 years old to drive in Newfoundland and Labrador, and follow these steps:

  • Obtain a learner’s permit and become a Novice Learner. When driving in this stage, you must be accompanied by a fully licensed driver.
  • After 12 months with a learner’s permit and successfully passing a driving test, you graduate to Novice, Licensed Driver, and you can drive alone with restrictions (You can take the test after eight months if you complete a driving course).
  • After 12 months with a novice license, you can take another road test to get a full license.

Legal driving age in PEI

To start driving in PEI, you must be at least 16 years old which has three stages in their graduated licensing program.

  1. Instruction Driver’s Permit
  2. Conditional license
  3. Second stage of conditional license

Legal driving age in Nova Scotia

You can start driving when you’re 16 years old in Nova Scotia, which has three stages in its graduated licensing system:

  • Learner’s license
  • Newly licensed driver’s license
  • Restricted individual phase

After two years in the in the restricted individual phase, the driver is considered a fully experienced driver.

Legal driving age in New Brunswick

In New Brunswick, you can get your learner’s permit at 14 years old – if you are driving a tractor! If you want to drive a passenger vehicle, you must wait until you’re 16.

New Brunswick only has two stages in their graduated licensing system:

  • Learner’s permit
  • Full license

You must have your learner’s permit for 12 months before you take a test to obtain your full license, or eight months if you take a driving course.

Legal driving age in Quebec

The legal driving age in Quebec is 16 and you must register for a driving course before you can get your learner’s permit. There are four stages to getting your license in Quebec:

  • Sign up for a driving course
  • Get your learner’s license
  • Probationary license
  • Full license

Legal driving age in Ontario

Ontario has a graduated licensing system and you can get your learning permit at the age of 16. There are three levels in Ontario:

Level 1: G1 license

You can get your G1 license, which allows you to learn to drive when you’re 16. You must pass a knowledge and vision test.

Level 2: G2

To get your G2, you must have your G1 for at least a year, and you must pass a driving test.

Level 3: G

After 12 months with a G2 license, you are eligible for a G license. You must pass another road test and be comfortable driving on highways with speed limits of at least 80 km/h.

Legal driving age in Manitoba

You must be 16 to start driving in Manitoba. If you are registered in Manitoba’s high school driver program, you can start driving at age 15 and a half. There are three stages in Manitoba’s system:

  • Learner stage
  • Intermediate stage
  • Full stage

Legal driving age in Saskatchewan

You must be 16 to start driving in Saskatchewan. The province has six stages in their graduated licensing program:

  • Get a learner’s license (must be at least 16 years old)
  • Complete driver’s education
  • Get a Novice 1 license
  • Practice as a Novice 1
  • Practice as Novice 2
  • Graduate to experienced Class 5 driver

Legal driving age in Alberta

In Alberta, you must be 14 to get a learner’s driver’s license. It takes a minimum of three years to get your full license and there are three stages:

Stage 1: Learner

To get your learner’s driver’s license, you must be at least 14 years old, and you need the consent of your parent or guardian if you’re under 18. You also need to pass a knowledge and vision test.

Stage 2: Probationary

To get your probationary license in Alberta, you must be at least 16 years old. If you’re under 18, you need parental or guardian consent. Before you can graduate to the probationary phase, you must have your learner’s license for 12 months. You also need to pass a basic driving test.

Stage 3: Full license

To get your full license in Alberta, you must be in the probationary stage for two years. You must have no license suspensions during the last 12 months of the probationary stage. You also have to pass an advanced road test.

Legal driving age in British Columbia

There are three steps you need to take to get your license in British Columbia’s graduated licensing system.

Get your learner’s license

To get this license, you need to take a knowledge and vision test. You must be at least 16 years old, and you’ll need permission from your parent or guardian if you’re under 19.

Get your novice license

Once you’ve had your learner’s license for a year, you can get your novice license by passing a road test.

Get your full license

After you’ve had your novice license for at least 24 months, you can graduate to a full license by passing another road test.

Get the right insurance with BrokerLink

Whether you’re a new or experienced driver, BrokerLink can help you get the right insurance. Contact one of our local branch offices today or get a quote online.

No matter which way you choose to work with us, we’ll help you find the right coverage for your needs.