To legally drive a car in Canada, you will need a driver’s licence.
If you have a valid licence from your home country, you will probably be able to use it to drive in Canada for a short period after you arrive. If you plan to use a foreign driver’s licence in Canada, you should get an International Driving Permit (IDP) in your home country. An IDP will give you a translation of your licence into French and English.
The process for getting a driver’s licence in Canada depends on the province or territory in which you live and on your driving background. Provincial and territorial departments that issue driver’s licences:
You may need to pass a written examination (study guides are available) and one or two driving tests. You may choose to pay for driving lessons to prepare for the driving tests (you can search online for companies offering these types of services).
Once you have a licence, it will have to be renewed periodically (see the expiry date on your licence).
You must obey speed limits and other laws governing your driving. These law guides are usually available at service centres, online and in stores.
Penalties for exceeding a speed limit, for talking on the phone while driving, for running a stop sign and for failing to use seat belts are generally heavy. Impaired or careless driving may result in a suspension of your license.
If you are involved in a car accident with another vehicle or hit a pedestrian, it may be a serious crime to leave the scene of the accident. Use the emergency number (911) to call the police and an ambulance (if necessary). Wait until the emergency services you called arrive. If the accident involves another vehicle, you should exchange the following information with the other driver:
- telephone number;
- licence plate;
- driver’s licence numbers;
- insurance company name; and
- insurance plan number.