If you are looking to drive for commercial purposes in Canada, you need to get yourself a commercial driver’s licence (CDL). Commercial driving includes but is not limited to taxi driving, trucks driving and tractor-trailers driving.
Driving licences are classified according to the level of expertise and training undergone by the drivers. The type of licence you get is dependent on the level of training you undergo and the weight of your vehicle and that of its towed vehicle, if any. The use of air brakes also affects the type of licence required.
Some of the classes of licences that qualify for use in commercial driving are:
• Class G2: drivers that are allowed to operate small trucks and passenger vehicles but not buses or trailers.
• Class F: regular buses with a maximum capacity of 24 passengers and ambulances. A driver with this licence can also operate class ‘G’ vehicles.
• Class E: school activity buses with a passenger capacity not exceeding 24. A class E licence can be used for class ‘F’ and ‘G’ vehicles.
• Class D: trucks or vehicle combinations with weighing more than 11,000 kilograms. The towed vehicle must not exceed 4,600 kilograms. Class D drivers can operate ‘E’ ‘F’ and ‘G’ vehicles.
• Class C: allowed to operate passenger vehicles exceeding a capacity of 24 passengers.
• Class B: allows operation of school activity buses that carry more than 24 passengers.
• Class A with condition R: for combined vehicles with the towed vehicle exceeding 4,600 kilograms. It does not allow the operation of double trailers.
• Class A: drivers are allowed to operate tractor-trailers, double trailers and trailers with air brakes. They can also operate ‘A-R’, ‘D’ and ‘G’ vehicles.
CDL Licencing Requirements
To acquire and maintain a commercial driver’s licence in Ontario, one has to meet the following requirements.
In order to acquire a class ‘G’ licence, one has to be at least 16 years old. To qualify for a class ‘B’ or ‘E’ licence, a candidate must be at least 21 years old. The rest of the classes are accessible to any candidate that is over 18 years old.
Drivers looking for a controlled class or commercial licence are required to pay fees for a knowledge test and a practical test. If they pass, they are required to pay a fee for a five-year licence, which will need to be renewed after the term has ended. If a driver cannot attend the test, cancellation should be done early to avoid being charged a fee.
Commercial drivers must undergo a strict training regimen under the supervision of a government approved instructor. Both practical training and classroom instruction must be done to ensure that the candidate is well-prepared.
All candidates for commercial driver licencing should be in good health. In order to be licenced, a driver has to pass both a hearing test and a vision test. He or she is also required to hand in a medical report before taking the test.
Once a driver has gotten their licence, they are expected to provide reports after a given period of time as follows:
• Drivers below 46 years are expected to hand in reports every five years
• Drivers aged between 46 to 64 years should submit their medical reports one every three years.
• Drivers aged 65 and above must hand in reports on their health annually.
Failure by a driver to hand in medical reports can lead to cancellation of their licence because they are said to be potentially endangering the lives of others
All drivers are expected to undergo a written test on operating the vehicles in the class in which they wish to have a licence. Failing the test twice may cause the driver to be disallowed from taking it again for up to one year.
Every driver must pass a practical driving test in order to get a licence. Failing more than twice may cause you to be barred from retaking it for up to one year. The candidate is allowed to choose their preferred location and the most suitable date and time for them to take the test.
When you are going for a test, you are required to bring any original identification document that shows your legal name, your date of birth and authorised signature. Some of the accepted documents are passports, birth certificates and valid immigration papers.
You may choose to apply for an Enhanced Driver’s Licence, EDL, which can be used in place of a passport to travel between Canada and the United States either by land or by water, enabling you to take your business further.
The tips above should help you acquire your Commercial Driver’s licence in Ontario with the greatest of ease. Remember, when looking for a licence, choose one that fits your purpose.