Drivers of cars and light trucks in Ontario fall under the G-class of licensing, a three-step graduated system that progressively allows a driver fewer restrictions. As well, each level of this class has its own impact on car insurance. The levels and accompanying restrictions can sometimes seem confusing, so we will examine each here. Note that the G-class license system is unique to Ontario. For example, a beginning driver in Ontario has a G1 license, while in Manitoba she has a Class 5 license and in British Columbia it’s called a Learner’s Permit. Requirements and qualifications vary by province also.
G1 Class License
The first step in the G-class ladder is obtaining an official Driver’s Handbook from the Ministry of Transportation in Ontario. Printed copies of the handbook can be purchased online through the Service Ontario publications website, a DriveTest centre or some ServiceOntario centres. Some retail stores also carry the handbook. The handbook is also available online at no charge.
The handbook is your study guide for the written test, which you’re required to pass with an 80% score. A vision test is also part of the G1 pre-screening. Once you’ve passed these two tests, you will be issued a G1 license, which is good for up to five years.
- Driver must be accompanied by a full class G license holder, licensed for a minimum of four years, at all times.
- Unless the class G driver is also a licensed driving instructor, a G1 driver cannot use highways with posted speeds over 80 km/h.
- Only the class G driver is allowed in the front seat. Passengers in the back seat cannot exceed the seatbelt count.
Insurance: G1 drivers can’t insure themselves, however, they should be added to the policy of the family car that they’ll be using. There’s usually not a charge to add a G1 driver.
G2 Class License
Once you’ve had a G1 license for a full year (8 months if you took an MTO-approved driver training course), you can book your G2 road test. About 20 minutes long, you will be tested on numerous traffic skills, such as starting, stopping, turns, parking and observing speed limits. Successfully completing the road test earns your class G2 license.
- G2 holders 20 years and older can use any highway at any time. The driver may only operate G-class vehicles and must never have a blood alcohol level exceeding zero-percent.
- G2 drivers under 20 have restrictions on driving between midnight and 5 a.m. and restrictions on passengers under 19.
Insurance: Adding a G2 driver to an insurance policy will add to the cost of the policy. How much it increases depends on a number of factors. Completing an MTO-approved driver training course, maintaining over an 80 percent average in school, usage-based insurance (telematics) and registering as an occasional driver for those who live away from home for school are strategies that may reduce the cost of insuring a new driver.