How To Get A Commercial Driver’s Licence in Nova Scotia

Overview: Driving in Nova Scotia

Driver's Licence in Nova ScotiaNova Scotia offers residents the opportunity to qualify for the privilege of driving a vehicle, under certain conditions. In order to meet all the requirements necessary to obtain permission to operate a commercial vehicle, applicants need to demonstrate driving proficiency. This article will discuss these steps briefly.

Licensing Categories

Essentially, the Canadian Province of Nova Scotia offers eight different types of drivers licenses. The category of license you will seek as a commercial driver depends on the type of machine you plan on operating.

For instance, most non-commercial automobile, van and SUV drivers in Nova Scotia possess at least a Class 5 license. The level of training required increases as the license class category number decreases. Motorcycles require only a Class 6 license. The Class 7 license represents a learner’s license for people training to drive automobiles. A Class 8 license applies to anyone planning on operating a small farming tractor.

Carrying passengers for money in a taxi or small bus requires a Class 4 license. Vehicles weighing more than 14,000 kg (or vehicle trailer combinations weighing at least that amount) necessitate a Class 3 license. Class 2 license holders operate large buses, which carry more than 24 passengers at a time. The highest level of licensing applies to semi-trailer and tractor trailer drivers; driving big, long, heavy trucks requires a Class 1 license.

Commercial Drivers License Requirements

Nova Scotia enforces some very basic requirements for obtaining a commercial driver’s licence in Nova Scotia. It defines a CDL as any license falling within Classes 4 through 1. The Province maintains a graduated licensing structure. New drivers gradually gain greater driving privileges and responsibilities as they acquire more driving skills.

This regulatory structure means that any class of license proves valid for learning to drive at a higher classification level, provided someone holding a current license to operate the training vehicle accompanies the student driver. New commercial driving license applicants can simply upgrade their existing license by (1) undertaking training and practice from an approved school, (2) submitting a complete application with necessary medical and vision approvals, (3) passing the required driving tests and (4) paying the designated fees.

Age Restrictions

Some age restrictions apply to commercial drivers license applicants. Anyone seeking a Class 3 or Class 4 license must be at least 18 years old. The minimum age for obtaining a Class 2 or Class 1 license is 19.


Licensing fees also vary according to the license category. A Class 4 license required to carry passengers for money in a taxi or small bus costs $86.55. A Class 3 license is $92.40, a Class 2 license costs $98.85 and a Class 1 license remains the most expensive: $105.20. New regulations sometimes change fees.

Additionally, drivers seeking to upgrade to a higher license level pay a standard upgrade fee of $11.90. They must also pay a $53 nonrefundable test site/road test fee every time they request a road test. (So drivers who pass the test on the first attempt save money.)


Applicants generally train to drive different classes of commercial vehicles at approved driving schools. (At least a year of driving experience at at least a Class 5 level is required in order to seek a commercial drivers license.)

Commercial driving license road tests occur in the types of vehicles covered by the class of license being sought. It remains very important for prospective commercial drivers to practice operating a taxi, small bus, heavy truck, ambulance, large bus or tractor-trailer and to study safety rules.

When a driver feels ready to apply for a commercial license, a drivers license application is filed at the testing center supplying requested information. The applicant must submit medical and vision test results, and disclose any condition that might impact driving ability, such as the need to wear corrective lenses.

Written Test

Obtaining each category of commercial license requires passing a Class-specific written examination covering applicable highway laws and safety rules. Drivers upgrading to a commercial level Class 4 license from a regular Class 5 automobile license must pass a new written Class 4 test. Upgrading to a Class 3 level requires passing the Class 3 written test, and so forth.

Road Test

An applicant must also pass a road test to demonstrate proficiency in driving the type of vehicle covered by the desired class of Commercial Driver’s Licence in Nova Scotia. For example, anyone seeking a Class 1 license would need to demonstrate parallel parking and highway driving in a tractor-trailer rig in order to pass the test. Licenses issue only after an applicant obtains a passing score.


Nova Scotia offers a drivers handbook containing detailed information about roadway and safety regulations and commercial driving licenses. The Province furnishes information about scheduling testing at 1-800-898-7668.

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