Some people believe that as we age we are more likely to develop health issues that can impact our ability to drive safely, like vision problems. However, not all seniors have conditions affecting their ability to drive.
For this reason, most provinces require additional medical information and more frequent license renewal requirements from seniors to determine whether they are healthy and able to drive safely.
Driving Requirements for Seniors in Canada
Every province has different requirements and expectations for seniors and the rules governing driving can frequently change.
The chart below provides basic information about driver’s license renewal age and frequency requirements by province in 2015:
Age of Renewal
|Alberta||80||Every 2 years||A medical report form signed by a doctor is required at age 75; 80; and every two years after. There is no charge for the road test if your doctor or Alberta Transportation has requested the test.|
|British Columbia||80||Every 2 years|
|Manitoba||Based on fitness to drive||Every 5 years|
|New Brunswick||65||Every 2 years|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||65||Annually||Medical required every year.|
|Northwest Territories||65||Annually||Submit an NWT Driver’s Medical Examination Report at age 75; 80 and after age 80, every two years.|
|Nova Scotia||64||Annually||Medical required every year.|
|Nunavut||Based on fitness to drive||Every 5 years||Reduced fees to renew after age 60.|
|Ontario||80||Every 2 years||You need to book an appointment and attend a renewal session which may require additional testing or medical information before a license is renewed.|
|Prince Edward Island||Based on fitness to drive||5 months before the license expiry date printed on the license.|
|Quebec||80||Every 2 years||A physician must complete a medical examination report and eye examination report six months before turning age 75 and 80, then every two years after that. In some instances the province may also require a medical report when you turn 70.|
|Saskatchewan||Based on fitness to drive||Every 5 years|
|Yukon||65||Annually||A driver medical report is required at age 70; 75 and 80; then every 2 years thereafter or as required.|
What Canadian Seniors Should Expect When Renewing their License
Depending on the province you live in, you may be asked to:
- Complete a driver medical examination report
- Complete a group education course
- Pass a written knowledge test
- Pass a vision test
- Pass a road test
- Undergo a driving record review
- Follow up with your family physician and submit additional medical information.
How You Can Prepare to Renew Your License
Ask your provincial motor vehicle office if they offer a fitness to drive handbook, or other handbook for seniors to help you prepare. These guide books will go over the information you need to successfully complete the license renewal process in your province or territory.
If you need to go to the motor vehicle office in person to renew your license remember to bring reading glasses or hearing aids that you may use on a daily basis. As well, ensure you have gathered all the supplementary documentation that you need to submit.
Be prepared to wait and bring along water and a snack in case there are long line ups.
Options for Seniors No Longer Able to Drive
Depending on your health and fitness level you may be able to drive with restrictions. These restrictions often have nothing to do with age.
For example, many Canadians of all ages must wear glasses while driving. Another common driving restriction is being able to drive in the day, but not at night.
Seniors who experience health issues like serious vision problems or cognitive decline may no longer be able to drive. If this is the case for you or a loved one there are a number of options that will help you maintain your independence. Consider looking into:
- Ride sharing programs
- Specialized transportation services for seniors
- Local groups that provide transportation services for seniors, including: home care programs, cancer societies, legion, Lion’s Club, Senior’s Club, Rotary Club, churches
What questions do you have about driving requirements for seniors? How do you or your senior loved ones get around? Share your comments with us below.