McGuinty Government proposes new rules for novice drivers

TORONTO, Nov. 25, 2008 – Ontario is proposing tough new legislation that would, if passed, make the province’s roads safer for all drivers.

Proposed changes to Ontario’s Graduated Licensing System would mean it would take a new driver up to 36 months to get a driver’s licence, giving them better skills and experience to drive safely.

The proposed changes also include:

  • a zero blood alcohol concentration level for all drivers 21 years of age and younger
  • tougher penalties for novice drivers that increase with each violation of graduated licensing restrictions, with convictions that result in demerit points or with court-ordered suspensions
  • tighter restrictions on the number of young passengers teen drivers can carry.

Other changes proposed in the bill would help keep suspended drivers off Ontario’s roads by giving police the power to immediately impound their vehicles for seven days — at the roadside.

Convicted drunk drivers and those who continue to drive without a court-ordered ignition lock would also be subject to an immediate seven-day roadside impoundment.

“Teenaged drivers are about 3.5 times more likely to be involved in a fatal collision,” says Transportation Minister Jim Bradley. “Lengthening their training period will give young and novice drivers more time to develop a lifetime of safe driving habits.”

“We support Ontario’s proposed legislation and regulations — a longer graduated licensing period for new drivers and a no-drinking policy for all drivers 21 years of age and under would help keep young drivers from drinking and driving, and give new drivers the experience they need,” says Andrew Murie, Chief Executive Officer of Mothers Against Drunk Driving Canada.

“CAA is pleased to support these measures that will strengthen Ontario’s graduated licensing system, crack down on suspended drivers, and that will help keep impaired drivers off our roadways,” says Faye Lyons, Government Relations Specialist, CAA South Central Ontario.


  • Motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of hospital admissions among youth aged 15 to 24.
  • Ontario was the first jurisdiction in North America to introduce a comprehensive graduated licensing program, in April 1994.


Download a copy of the latest Ontario Road Safety Annual Report

Giving young and novice drivers the right start

Ontario’s Graduated Licensing System (GLS) works: only 14 years after this program began, fatalities and injuries among teen drivers have declined by almost 25 per cent. Now the Ontario government is moving to make GLS even more effective.

To give new drivers the right start, Ontario plans to improve its GLS with new driving restrictions and a longer learning time period. This will help new drivers develop the right skills and experience they need for a lifetime of safe driving. These improvements include:

  • Increasing the length of time drivers spend at the G1 ( and G2 ( levels. Currently, novice drivers can obtain a full G license in as little as 20 months. Under the proposed legislation, the minimum would be 30 months.
  • Replacing the current night-time restriction on the number of young passengers a teen G2 driver can carry with an all-day restriction.
  • Introducing sanctions that get tougher each time a novice driver violates graduated licensing restrictions, receives a conviction that results in demerit points or a receives a court-ordered suspension. These drivers would receive, upon conviction:
  • First instance – 30-day licence suspension;
  • Second instance – 90-day licence suspension;
  • Third instance – the driver must return to the start of the graduated licensing program (G1).

Graduated licensing requirements: current and proposed

G1 Requirements           Current                       Proposed
G1 Length          1 year, reducible to          One and a half years
				   8 months if the driver        (18 months), reducible
				   completes an approved         to 12 months if the
				   driver education course and   driver completes an
				   presents the certificate to   approved driver
				   the Ministry.                 education course.
G1 Passengers      Accompanied by a fully        Same
				   licensed driver, who has been
				   licensed for four years, and
				   a blood alcohol concentration
				   of less than 0.05, in case
				   he/she needs to drive the
				   Ensure the accompanying       Same
				   driver is the only other
				   person in the front seat.
G1 Road            Cannot drive on Ontario's     Same
Restrictions       "400-series" highways or
				   on high-speed expressways
				   such as the Queen Elizabeth
				   Way, Don Valley Parkway,
				   Gardiner Expressway, E.C.
				   Row Expressway and the
				   Conestoga Parkway. May drive
				   on these roads if
				   accompanied by a qualified
				   driving instructor.
G1 Nighttime       Cannot drive between          Same
Restriction        midnight and 5:00 a.m.
Requirements for          Current                       Proposed
Both G1 and G2
G1 and G2          G1 and G2 drivers must        Zero BAC for all drivers
BAC Level          drive with zero BAC.          up to and including
												 age 21.
Sanctions For      For each conviction for       Introduce escalating
Violating GLS      violating a G1 or G2          sanctions for any
Restrictions       restriction a novice driver   combination of repeat
				   receives a 30-day licence     violations of G1/G2/M1/
				   suspension. There are no      M2 restrictions or
				   repeat offender provisions.   convictions for
												 pointable HTA offences
												 within a 5-year period.
												 Novice driver receives a
												 30-day licence
												 suspension for the first
												 conviction, 90-day
												 suspension for the
												 second conviction and
												 would have their licence
												 cancelled for the 3rd
												 conviction. The person
												 would lose all credit
												 for any time spent in
												 GLS including any time
												 discount and would have
												 to re-apply to enter G1.
												 Once they enter G1 again
												 they would complete all
												 program requirements as
												 if they were a new,
												 never-licensed driver.
G2 Requirements           Current                       Proposed
G2 Length          Minimum of 12 months.         Minimum of 18 months.
G2 Passengers      Teen G2 drivers can carry     Prohibit teen G2 drivers
				   passengers from midnight      from carrying more than
				   to 5 a.m. as follows:         one passenger aged 19
												 and under all day during
				   First six months: G2          the first year of G2;
				   drivers 19 or under can
				   carry only one passenger      There would be
				   aged 19 or under.             exemptions for family
												 members or an
				   After the first six months,   accompanying driver who
				   and until the G2 driver       meets the requirements
				   earns a full G licence or     of an accompanying
				   turns 20, three passengers    driver in G1.
				   aged 19 or under.

				   There are exemptions for
				   family members or an
				   accompanying driver who
				   meets the requirements of
				   an accompanying driver
				   in G1.

Enforcing zero tolerance for young drinking drivers

Drivers aged 19 to 21 are over-represented in drinking and driving collisions. Ontario wants to put a stop to this trend by making it illegal for any person aged 21 or under to drive after drinking any alcohol. Young drivers in all licence classes will be required to have a zero blood alcohol concentration (BAC) whenever they are behind the wheel.