What’s the difference between the G2 and G test in Ontario?

By Arthur Dubois | Published on 02 Sep 2023

If you plan to get your driver’s license in Ontario, you’ve probably come across terms like G1, G2 and the G test. It can be confusing to understand the differences between these tests and the levels of licensing. In this article, we’ll break down the Ontario Graduated Licensing System and explain what sets the G2 test apart from the G test.

Understanding the Graduated Licensing System in Ontario

Before we dive into the specifics of the G2 and G tests, let’s first understand why Ontario has a Graduated Licensing System (GLS) in the first place. This system began in 1994 so new drivers gain experience and gradually develop their driving skills over time.

Ontario, like many other jurisdictions, recognizes that driving requires a combination of knowledge, skills and experience. Therefore, novices cannot master these complex tasks overnight. Graduated licensing addresses this by providing new drivers with a structured learning process.

Statistics show that inexperienced drivers are more likely to be involved in accidents due to their limited driving skills and lack of experience in handling different road situations. With a phased approach, the system allows new drivers to gain experience under the supervision of more experienced drivers.

This helps them develop the necessary skills to navigate various driving scenarios, such as driving at night, in adverse weather conditions or on highways. Moreover, the GLS also aims to promote responsible driving behavior among new drivers. The phased approach allows them to gradually assume more driving responsibilities as they demonstrate their ability to handle different situations. 

The Three Levels of the Graduated Licensing System

Ontario’s system consists of three levels: G1, G2 and the full G license. Each level has its own set of requirements, as new drivers progressively develop their skills and knowledge.

The first level, G1, provides a learner’s permit. First, you must be at least 16 years old and pass a vision test. To obtain a G1 license, individuals must also pass a written knowledge test. Afterward, G1 drivers must always be accompanied by a fully licensed driver with at least four years of driving experience. 

After holding a G1 license for at least a year, individuals can take the G2 road test. The G2 license allows drivers to drive without a fully licensed driver present. However, some restrictions still apply, such as a zero blood-alcohol level. 

Finally, after holding a G2 license for another year, individuals can take the final road test to obtain a full G license. With this status, drivers have no restrictions and can drive independently.

Clearly, new drivers must understand the requirements and restrictions at each level to legally comply and to maximize their learning.

An In-depth Look at the G1 Level

The G1 level applies to new drivers who have little to no driving experience. Let’s explore what the G1 test entails and the limitations and restrictions of a G1 license.

The G1 Test: What to Expect

Passing the G1 test marks the first milestone in the licensing process. It assesses your knowledge of road signs, traffic rules and safe driving practices. The written exam covers a wide range of topics, including traffic laws, defensive driving techniques and emergency procedures. 

During the G1 test, you will be required to answer multiple-choice questions and demonstrate your understanding of various driving scenarios. All the answers appear in the official Ontario Driver’s Handbook, which sells for $16. 

Ideally, rookies can take practice tests to increase your chances of passing the test with a mark of 80 percent or higher. Expect the test to take 20 to 30 minutes. If you don’t pass, you can take the test again for $16 each time.

Upon passing the G1 test, you will receive a G1 license. This allows you to begin practicing your driving skills. At this point, you may wish to sign up for driving lessons. If you want this type of training, courses typically cost $600, with fees ranging from $575 to $800.

After completing your course, your driving record gets updated with the Ministry of Transportation in Ontario to show your certificate. When insurance companies see this proof, they can upgrade your status from one star to three. This can lower your car insurance rates by 10 to 20 percent, resulting in savings that cover the initial investment.

After you earn your G1 license status, you will need car insurance coverage in case you get into a collision. In most cases, a parent will add their teenager to their policy for a family vehicle. Having this coverage will protect you from liability if someone gets badly injured or a collision causes extensive damage. 

The Limitations and Restrictions of a G1 License

With a G1 license, several limitations and restrictions ensure the safety of new drivers and other road users. For example, they may not drive between midnight and 5 a.m.

Mainly, G1 drivers must always drive with a fully licensed driver with at least four years of driving experience. This licensed driver must occupy the front passenger seat, prepared to take control of the vehicle if necessary. They can have demerit points on their driving record, but no suspension

This requirement allows new drivers to learn from an experienced driver while minimizing the risks associated with driving without supervision.

Further, G1 drivers must maintain a zero blood-alcohol concentration while driving. This means that G1 drivers must not consume any alcohol before getting behind the wheel. This restriction emphasizes the importance of responsible and sober driving.

Additionally, G1 drivers cannot drive on 400-series highways or high-speed expressways. This prevents new drivers from exposure to high-speed and complex driving conditions until they have more confidence on the road. This condition gets waived if a driving instructor from a government-approved driving school travels with them during lessons. 

It is crucial for G1 drivers to adhere to these limitations and restrictions to avoid penalties and ensure their safety. By following these rules, new drivers can gradually develop their skills and knowledge. This can prepare them for the next stage of the Graduated Licensing System.

Exploring the G2 Level

The G2 level grants you more independence, with fewer restrictions in your journey towards becoming a fully licensed driver. It signifies that you have gained enough experience and knowledge to handle more challenging driving situations. Let’s delve deeper into what the G2 test entails and the privileges and limitations that come with a G2 license.

The G2 Test: What it Involves

The G2 road test assesses your driving skills with a practical driving exam at an Ontario DriveTest location. It evaluates your ability to handle various traffic situations and demonstrates your understanding of road-safety rules.

For this stage, test fees cost $91.25. However, Ontario residents can buy a Class G1 license package for $159.75 for a knowledge test, a Class G2 road test and a five-year license.

If you had a driver’s license from jurisdictions beyond Ontario exchange agreements, you must pay $106 for a knowledge test and a five-year license. Bring along an authenticity letter to prove you have more than two years of driving experience in your originating country. When you take your G2 test, you will pay a further $91.25.

During the practical driving exam, an examiner tests your ability to perform maneuvers such as parallel parking, three-point turns and lane changes. They will also assess your observation skills, signaling techniques and overall control of the vehicle. As a result, those who demonstrate confidence and competence behind the wheel pass this test.

The Privileges and Limitations of a G2 License

With a G2 license, you can drive without a fully licensed driver, but still have some restrictions. For instance, you must have a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.05 or less while operating a vehicle. 

If you’re younger than 19, after six months, you can boost your number of passengers from one to three. Further, you cannot drive on certain high-speed roads, such as expressways or highways with posted speed limits over 80 km/h. 

However, a G2 license serves as an intermediate stage towards obtaining a full G license. To progress to the final stage, you must hold your G2 license for a minimum of one year then pass a final road test.

During the G2 stage, continue practicing safe driving habits, honing your skills and gaining more experience on the road. Embrace the opportunities the G2 license offers, but always prioritize safety and follow the rules of the road.

The Final Stage: The G Test

The Ontario G License denotes the final stage in the Ontario licensing process. This test evaluates your advanced driving skills and your ability to handle various traffic situations independently.

The G Test: The Final Challenge

This comprehensive road test assesses your driving skills and ability to make safe decisions on the road. It covers a wide range of driving scenarios, including freeway driving, lane changes and parking maneuvers.

Did you know that some parts of Ontario have higher success rates for driving tests than others? Where you do your G or G2 drive test may affect your result. Before you go, follow these 10 tips to increase your chances of passing your G license test.

The Full Privileges of a G License

Once you successfully complete the G test, you obtain your full G license. This grants you the highest level of driving privileges in Ontario. With a G license, you can drive without any restrictions and can even become a driving instructor or examiner.

Comparing the G2 and G Tests

Now that we’ve covered the G2 and G tests individually, let’s compare them and identify the key differences and similarities.

Similarities Between the G2 and G Tests

Both the G2 and G tests assess your driving skills and knowledge of road safety rules. They both involve a practical driving exam to evaluate your ability to handle real-world driving situations.

Key Differences Between the G2 and G Tests

While the G2 and G tests share similarities, they have some notable differences. The G2 test is less comprehensive than the G test with fewer driving scenarios. Additionally, the G test demands more skills and requires a higher level of driving competence.

In conclusion, the G2 and G tests mark crucial steps in obtaining your driver’s license in Ontario. Understanding the differences between these tests and the levels of licensing will help you navigate the licensing process with confidence. Good luck on your journey to becoming a fully licensed driver!

Arthur Dubois is a personal finance writer at Hardbacon. Since relocating to Canada, he has successfully built his credit score from scratch and begun investing in the stock market. In addition to his work at Hardbacon, Arthur has contributed to Metro newspaper and several other publications