Graduated Licensing

​​​​​​​​​To become fully licensed, new Alberta drivers must pass all stages of the province’s graduated licensing program. ​​

​​​How Do I Get Insured As a New Driver?

Before you buy auto insurance, you need to apply to complete Alberta’s 2-stage licensing process​ and meet basic qualifications set out by the government. To get started, you must:

  • Be at least 14 years old
  • Pass a vision test
  • Pass a knowledge test about road rules 
  • Have consent from a parent or legal guardian if you are less than 18 years of age
  • Have valid identification.

As a novice driver, it’s also important to understand the unique restrictions that apply to Stage 1 Learner (Class 7) and Stage 2 Probationary (Class 5-GDL) licences.

​How Long Does it Take to Become a Fully Licensed Driver?

It takes a minimum of 3 to 4 years to complete both stages of graduated licensing. 

In Alberta, to move from a Stage 1 to Stage 2 licence, you must be 16 years of age or older and pass the basic Class 5 road test. To graduate as a fully licensed (Class 5) driver you must be suspension free for the last 12 months of the 2-year probationary stage and pass an advanced road test. 

Why Are There So Many Steps to Get Licensed?

Novice drivers cause many traffic-related deaths and injuries. In response to accident statistics and successful licensing systems used in other countries, Canada’s provincial and territorial governments introduced new driver standards in the mid-2000s.  

Graduated licensing is based on research that clearly demonstrates the safety value of this approach over more conventional ones. Most programs include a multi-stage system with mandatory learner and intermediate stages that take place over set time periods before graduation to a full licence. ​

What Happens To My Insurance If My Licence Is Suspended?

You must report your licence suspension to your insurer immediately. 

If you break traffic laws and accumulate 8 demerit points with a Stage 1 or Stage 2 licence, your driver’s licence will be suspended​. If you are convicted of a moving offence or other driving related issues, demerit points will be automatically added to your driving record. ​

IBC and Best Practices for Graduated Licensing in Canada

IBC has a history of advocating for improved road safety across the country. In 2005, with IBC’s support, the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF), an independent charitable road safety institute, created a report about best practices for graduated licensing in Canada​.  

IBC circulated a draft of this report​ to all relevant contacts in driver licensing agencies, or their equivalent, in all jurisdictions across Canada.