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On The Road

Can You Buy a Car With a G1 Licence?

You have your learner's permit – what now? Here's what you need to know to be able to hit the road (safely).

by Team Onlia

The short answer is yes, you can purchase a car anytime and be registered as the owner.

But you won’t be able to legally drive your new car on your own until you have a G2 licence; and even then, you’ll be restricted until you have a full G licence. That’s a longer answer.

Graduated licensing explained

Whether it’s teenagers dreaming of freedom, parents looking for efficiency or seniors looking for independence, becoming a driver for the first time is exciting no matter when it happens.

But the right to drive comes with responsibility, and it isn't only about protecting yourself and your loved ones. As a driver, you have a responsibility to protect the other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians sharing the road with you. To ensure new drivers learn properly, the province introduced graduated licensing in 1994.

At the time, then-Minister-of-Finance Floyd Laughren believed graduated licensing would reduce accident frequency and save $34–$40 million in annual claim costs. Current statistics show that he was right. MADD Canada reports a 25% reduction in the number of grade 11 and grade 12 males who reported driving after drinking since graduated licensing was introduced.

What are the G1 licence requirements?

A G1 licence is like a learner’s permit. To get a G1, you will need:

  • To be at least 16 years old
  • To have ID with your legal name, birthdate and signature (passport, citizenship card, immigration status card, for example)
  • To complete a vision test at your local licensing office
  • To pass a basic test about the rules, signage and principles of the road

Once you get your G1, you can operate a car under these conditions laid out by the province:

  • You can only drive Class G vehicles – most cars would qualify as G vehicles.
  • Your blood alcohol limit must be absolutely zero.
  • A fully licensed driver must be with you in the front passenger seat no matter where you go.
  • A licensed driving instructor must be with you in the car if you’re on any 400-series highways or any road with a speed limit over 80 km/h without a licensed driving instructor.
  • You can’t have more people in the back seat than seatbelts.
  • You can't drive between midnight and 5 am (even accompanied).

You’ll be at this level for a year, but you can reduce the time to eight months by taking an approved driver’s education course. Doing so could also lower your insurance rates when you eventually qualify for insurance.

After the required time, you’ll take a road test and graduate to a G2 licence.

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What is a G2 licence?

A G2 licence is the second step of Ontario’s graduated licence program. It removes all the G1 restrictions except for the G-vehicle limitations, the zero-alcohol rule and the passenger/seatbelt ratio requirement.

The G2 period lasts a full year, after which you’d take another road test to get fully licensed as an Ontario driver.

Can you get car insurance with a G1?

No. As a G1 driver you won’t be able to get your own insurance until you have a full licence. Instead, you’ll be added to the insurance policy of another person like a parent or spouse.

What can you do in the meantime?

As you’re learning to drive, you should also learn the ins and outs of car insurance because it’s mandatory in Ontario. You should know:

  • What car insurance covers.
  • What you can expect to pay.
  • The process of making a claim if you get into an accident.
  • Your obligations if you’re deemed responsible for the accident.

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