Driving in Canada

Driving in Canada

To legally drive a car in Canada, you’ll need a driver’s license issued by the government of your province or territory. You must have it with you whenever you’re driving. With it, you can drive anywhere in Canada.

If you have a valid license from your home country, you’ll probably be able to use this to drive in Canada for a short time after you arrive. Check with the government of your province or territory for details.

If you plan to use a foreign driver’s license in Canada, you should get an International Driving Permit (IDP) in your home country. An IDP will give you a translation of your license into French and English.

The process to get a driver’s license in Canada depends on the province or territory where you live and on your driving background. It may include:

  • a written exam on the rules of the road (you can get a study guide to help with this)
  • one or two driving tests

You may choose to pay for driving lessons to get ready for the driving tests. Search online for lessons.

Once you have a license, you will have to renew it every so often. The expiry date will be printed on your license.

See the transportation department in your province or territory to find out more about driver’s licenses, exams, and driving lessons.

Driving laws and rules

You must follow Canada’s driving laws. Before you start driving, take time to learn the laws in your province or territory.

For a full list of laws and rules about driving, get a copy of the driving guide issued by the department that regulates cars and driving in your province or territory. You can usually get these guides at service centres, online and in stores.

Driving laws are strictly enforced in Canada. Penalties for breaking the law are generally severe. Read about some of the most important laws to know.

If you’re in an accident

It’s a serious crime to leave the scene of the accident. This includes accidents with another vehicle or hitting a pedestrian. If you’re in an accident:

  • call the emergency number (911) for police and an ambulance (if you need one)
  • wait at the scene until the emergency services you called arrive
  • exchange information with the other driver (if the accident involves another vehicle), including:
    • name
    • address
    • telephone number
    • licence plate
    • driver’s licence numbers
    • insurance company name
    • insurance plan number

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