Types of Driving Licenses in Canada

Obtaining a driver’s licence depends on the province or territory where you live. The types of driver’s licence also differ from province to province. Most provinces in Canada make use of the class licence system, where each class number corresponds to the type or types of vehicle the licence holder is allowed to operate. However, Ontario uses a different classification scheme for different kinds of driver’s licence.

Class Licence System

The Class Licence System is used in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, the Northwestern Territories, Nunavut, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Yukon.

A Class 1 licence allows the holder to drive any type of motor vehicle, including semi-trailer trucks. A Class 2 licence allows you to operate buses as well as vehicles under classes 3, 4, and 5. With a class 3 licence, you can drive trucks with two or more axles (three or more axles in Alberta) and vehicles under class 5. Class 4 gives you licence to drive vehicles such as taxis, ambulances, and certain types of buses as well as Class 5 vehicles. The Class 5 licence allows you to drive a passenger vehicle. This is the kind of licence most non-commercial drivers get once they have passed the initial stages of licensing. Class 6 is a motorcycle cycle licence.

Other particulars and restrictions regarding each class vary from province to province. Check your local licensing office for more details.

The Graduated Driver Licensing Program

Also known as the Graduated Licensing Program, this issues different types of driver’s licence for new drivers, depending on how much experience and knowledge they have of driving. A new driver undergoes the learner (or novice 1) stage before moving on to the novice (also known as novice 2 or probationary) stage. These stages enforce certain restrictions to ensure the safety of the less experienced driver, as well as everyone else on the road.

Ontario Licensing System

In Ontario, a G licence allows you to operate a passenger vehicle with no restrictions. New drivers go through the learner’s permit (G1) and probationary licence (G2) before they can obtain a G licence. Other licence types in Ontario are:

Class A

This allows the driver to operate any tractor trailer combination, as well as Class D and Class G vehicles.

Class B

This is a licence to operate any type of school bus as well as Class C, D, E, F, and G vehicles.

Class C

This allows the driver to operate any regular bus in addition to Class D, F, and G vehicles.

Class D

This allows the holder to drive all trucks or combination as long as the towed vehicle weighs 4,600 kg or less. Vehicles under class G are also allowed.

Class E

This restricts drivers to operating school buses with a maximum of 24 passengers, as well as Class F and Class G vehicles.

Class F

This allows the holder to drive regular buses with a maximum capacity of 24 passengers, as well as ambulances and Class G vehicles.

Class M

This is a motorcycle licence, which can also serve as the equivalent of a G1 licence.

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