Graduated Driver’s Licence

Information on this page was written by Barry McCashin.  The Department of Earth &      Atmospheric Sciences would like to thank Barry for allowing us to post this information on our web-site.

Obtaining an Albert­a Class 5 Driver’s License:

March 16, 2006

To drive a University of Alberta vehicle, you must have a full (non-probationary) class 5 license issued in Canada or the USA. You cannot drive with a Learner’s Permit (class 7) or a probationary license (Class 5-GDL). This can have an impact on new University Personnel’s access to vehicles if:

  • a person has not obtained a driver’s license until recently and needs a vehicle for field research.
  • visiting scientists who have licenses from outside of North America (however, if they have driven for more than 2 years and they establish residency in Alberta, they can qualify to get an AB license)

In 2003, Alberta instituted a Graduated Driver License (GDL) system that applies to all persons who are new to driving irrespective of age. The purpose of this system is to ensure that people have the time to develop the skills needed to drive safely before they are given a full, non-probationary, Class 5 license without restrictions. There are two stages in the GDL system: a learners stage and a Probationary stage that you must pass through before you can take the advanced driving road test to qualify for the non-probationary license.
If you have not had a drivers license before; then the sequence is:

  1. Learners Stage (Class 7 license):
    • To get a Learners Permit you must:
      • be at least 14 years old
      • pass a vision test
      • pass a driving knowledge test
    • You must stay at this stage for at least 1 year and follow several driving restrictions.
  2. Probationary Stage (Class 5-GDL license):
    • To qualify for this stage, you must
      • have had a learners permit for at least 1 year
      • be at least 16 years old
      • pass a Standard (Basic) Road test
    • You must spend at least 2 years at this stage and follow several driving restrictions
  3. Non-Probationary Stage:
    • To qualify for a full Class 5 license, after driving for at least 2 years as a Probationary driver, you must pass an Advanced Road test.

Note: It will take at least 3 years to go from a Learners permit to a full Class 5 license.

If you have had a license from another jurisdiction and want to transfer to an Alberta license, then you must:

  • if licensed for less than 2 years:
    1. do the vision test, the knowledge test and the Basic road test to get a Probationary license.
    2. after you have driven a total of at least 2 years, you can take the Advanced Road test to get a full Class 5 license
  • if licensed for at least 2 years:
    1. do the vision test and the knowledge test
    2. do the Advanced road test to qualify for a full Class 5 licence.

Note: if your driving license is from anywhere else in Canada or from a country having a reciprocal agreement with Alberta (Austria, Belgium, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, Republic of Korea, United Kingdom, United States of America), you may simply transfer your current licence to an Alberta license without doing any testing.

To get an Alberta license, you must be a resident of the province so collaborators who are only here on a temporary basis will not be able to do this. The University of Alberta does not require you to transfer to an Alberta license if you have a license from anywhere else in Canada or the USA but provincial regulations requires that within 90 days of establishing residency in a province, that you must obtain a license from that jurisdiction (exception: students enrolled in a post secondary program).

Further information is available at: