A driver’s license allows you freedom — to go where you want, when you want. However, as we age the risks involved with driving a motor vehicle increase. Slower response times and a reduced ability to see far-away objects or hear approaching vehicles can make driving more difficult. Many provinces now have enhanced licence-renewal procedures for seniors to ensure everyone’s continued safety.
It is important to note that your physician is required to report certain medical conditions (such as a stroke) that may impair your driving ability. This may result in a temporary suspension of your licence. It is always a good idea to consider taking refresher driving courses as you age to keep your skills sharp and reduce the chances of an accident.
Driver licences fall under provincial and territorial jurisdiction. Here are the specifics or links for each.
In British Columbia, seniors 80 and older are required to submit a medical report from their physician every two years. No driver testing is required.
Alberta drivers 75 and older are required to file a physician’s medical report every time they renew their licence.
For more information, visit Service Alberta.
There are no restrictions based strictly on age. However, the province offers a driving course for people 55+ interested in refreshing or improving their driving skills. See SGI’s website for more information.
There are no restrictions based strictly on age. Visit Manitoba Public Insurance for additional info.
Ontario has a Licence Renewal Program that begins at 80. Approximately 90 days before your licence expires, you will receive a renewal notice and instructions on how to schedule a renewal session.
The renewal session consists of the following components:
- Vision test (can be waived if you provide eye examination results from an eye doctor that is less than 6 months old)
- Multiple choice test on traffic signs and driving rules
- Group education session covering tips on driving laws and safe driving
Prepare for the written test by reviewing the Driver’s Handbook and bringing the following with you to the session:
- Current (or temporary) driver’s license
- License renewal reminder
- Eye glasses (if applicable)
- Hearing aid (if applicable)
- Water and snacks, since it’s a long (3.5 hour) session
A road test is not required as part of the renewal process. However, a road test may be required if you have recent demerit points or difficulty following the group session. The renewal process is repeated every two years.
For more information, visit the Ministry of Transport or call 1-800-387-3445.
Drivers in Quebec must submit a physician’s report when renewing their licence at age 75, age 80 and every two years after that. As well, the licensing office may require eye-exam results beginning at 70. Depending on the results, the office may restrict the ability to drive at night or on freeways, or may require the driver wear corrective lenses.
Visit the Société de l’assurance automobile Quebec for details.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Drivers in Newfoundland and Labrador need to submit a medical report when renewing their licences at age 75, age 80 and every two years following.
The Department of Government Services page offers information on renewals.
There are no restrictions based strictly on age. The New Brunswick Public Safety page provides further details.
There are no restrictions based strictly on age. The province offers a Safe Driving Course discount, where it pays the first $40 of a safe driving course for seniors. Visit Services Nova Scotia for additional information.
Prince Edward Island
There are no restrictions based strictly on age. See the Department of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy for more information.
Yukon, Northwest Territories & Nunavut
There are no restrictions in any of the territories based strictly on age. See also: