Graduated Licensing

​​​​​To become fully licensed, new British Columbia drivers must pass all steps 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 British Columbia’s 3-step licensing process and meet basic qualifications set out by the government. To get started, you must:

  • Be at least 16 years old
  • Get a parent or legal guardian to sign a consent form if you are less than 19 years of age
  • Pass a knowledge test at an ICBC driver licensing office
  • Pass a vision test.

​If you are using your parent or legal guardian’s car to learn, the person who owns the car should talk to a broker about Autoplan insurance coverage​. Optional coverage is also available from private insurers.  

As you learn to drive, it’s important to understand the specific restrictions that apply to Learner (L)​ and Novice (N) drivers.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Fully Licensed Driver?

It takes approximately 3 years to pass the 3 tests (1 multiple-choice test and 2 road tests) and complete all steps of graduated licensing.

Why Are There So Many Steps to Get Licensed?

New 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.  

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 immediately to your ICBC Autoplan broker. If you commit a criminal infraction while driving, your driver’s licence can be suspended for 1 year, 3 years or indefinitely. 

If your licence is suspended, you must surrender it to ICBC until your suspension ends. Traffic violations are counted as penalty points on 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.​