Driving is part of our everyday life. However, to take to the wheel legally in Canada, you will need a valid driver's licence. You will have to carry it on you while driving in the Great White North. Licences can only be granted by the government of your province or territory you live in.
Should you have a driver's licence obtained in your country of origin, there's a chance that you may be allowed to use this temporarily upon arrival in Canada. You will, however, first need to check whether your provincial government has any conditions for this.
Note that if you are using a foreign driver's licence in Canada, you must apply for an International Driving Permit (IDP) while still in your home country. This IDP will have your licence translated into French and English.
How to Get a Driver's License in Canada
When it comes to getting a driver's licence in Canada, the process depends on the requirements set by the province or territory you live in - and your driving history. The process could include the following:
- A written driver's exam focusing on Canadian road rules. You'll be able to get a study guide to prepare for this. on the rules of the road (you can get a study guide to help with this)
- One or two driving tests. You can pay for lessons from a driving instructor to prepare.
When you get your Canadian driver's licence, remember that it will be up for renewal from time to time. Check for the expiry date so you know when this will need to happen.
You can find more information on driver's licences, tests and lessons on your provincial transportation department's website.
- British Columbia
- New Brunswick
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- Northwest Territories
- Nova Scotia
- Prince Edward Island
Canadian Car Insurance
Driving in Canada is illegal without Canadian car insurance. So, if you are the owner of any type of vehicle, insurance coverage is non-negotiable. And if the car you drive regularly belongs to one of your relatives or friends, you should make sure you're listed on their vehicle's insurance plan.
There are several kinds of Canadian car insurance plans. These may cover:
- Injuries you may incur
- Vehicle damage
- Costs of damages and injury to the other party, should an accident be your fault
Factors That Influence Your Car Insurance Costs
The amount you'll have to pay for Canadian car insurance will depend on your selected plan, as well as:
- Your age
- Your driving record
- The area you live in
- Your driving experience
- The insurance company you use
- Go through all your options for insurance plans and make sure you understand what they cover
- Get quotes from a few companies to compare prices
Driving Laws in Canada
As with any other country, driving in Canada has its own laws. So before you hit the road, commit to learning about what these laws entail for your province or territory. You'll find a comprehensive guide for these laws at vehicle service centres, online or at various bookstores.
The laws for driving in Canada are enforced to the T, with steep penalties for traffic offences. Take a look at the Great White North's must-know rules below:
If you are involved in an accident, leaving the scene would be a major offense. This applies to vehicle collisions, as well as knocking over a pedestrian.
What to do in the event of an accident:
- Call emergency services for assistance. This would most likely be a 911 call for the police and if required,
- Remain at the accident scene until the authorities and emergency services arrive
- Swap your contact details with the other vehicle's driver. This should include your name, contact number, address, licence plate number, driver's licence details and Insurance details
Purchasing or Leasing a Car in Canada
When looking out for a car in Canada, it's a good idea to find out about car dealerships or rental companies via an internet search or information collected from your province or territory's Transport department.
If your need for a car is temporary, you'll be able to hire one from a rental agency. You'll have to make sure that an insurance agreement covers you, though.
You'll have access to some great car-sharing programs in some parts of Canada. Car-sharing allows you to use a vehicle without having to buy, lease or rent one. If this suits you, do an internet search to find out more about options in your area.
Buying a Car in Canada
In Canada, you'll be able to pick up a brand new or secondhand car from either a car dealer or a person selling their vehicle. However, when it comes to the buying and selling of cars, you must get information about the process from your region's transport department. To learn more about the issues consumers may face when buying a car in Canada, check out the Canadian Consumer Handbook of consumer affairs office in your area.
Leasing a Car in Canada
Rather than fully committing to buying a car, some people in the Great White North prefer to lease one from a car dealership. In the lease agreement between you and the dealership, you would:
- Sign an agreement for a set amount for the duration of usage.
- Agree to return the vehicle in an acceptable condition once the lease ends good condition
Canada's top most popular Car Rental Websites include:
- Discount Car & Truck Rentals
- Routes Car Rental
Road Safety in Canada Safety
Canada takes road safety seriously, so it's important to learn about navigating the Great White North's roads during every season. Driving in Canada in the winter can be especially challenging, with snow and ice all over the place - so you want to be fully-equipped to handle the country's highways and byways. Make sure you look at the Canada Safety Council's website for information on being safe on Canadian roads. The agency's main objectives are:
- Minimizing avoidable death, injuries, and damages through ensuring appropriate safety methods and procedures
- Highlighting the importance of safety on roads
- Encourage the public to adhere to safety measures
- Provide educational programs to keep the public informed
Tips for Driving in Canada in Winter
- Get winter tires for your car
- Try to rent a vehicle that has all-wheel drive
- Monitor road conditions and weather before you leave home
- Make sure your cell phone is charged before you leave home
- Keep emergency numbers at hand
- Do not speed in wet, slippery and icy conditions
- Look out for black ice
- Adopt a flexible approach to life. You never know when your travel route or plans can change
- Wear proper winter clothing. Being stuck in the snow is no joke.
I Don't Drive but Would Like to do so When I Get to Canada. What Are my Options?
To drive in Canada, you will need a driver's licence. Once you get to the Great White North, you'll have to get your Canadian driver's license as soon as possible.
Who Are the Main Car Insurance Companies in Canada?
Canada's main insurance companies are:
- SGI Canada
- TD Insurance
- Aviva Canada Inc.
- Desjardins Insurance
How Old do I Need to be to Rent a Car in Canada?
You have to be 21 years old with 12 months of driving experience before you will be allowed to rent a car in Canada.