Driving in Canada can be a great way to get to know a new country. After all, there’s plenty of beautiful scenery to take in, from coast-to-coast. In order to legally drive in Canada, you’ll need a driver’s licence that is authorized by your local province or territory. For newcomers looking to settle in Saskatchewan, here’s everything you need to know about obtaining your driver’s licence and some of the specific rules to keep in mind when you’re behind the wheel. 

In this article:

Looking for more information on driving in Canada?
See Getting around in Canada: How to get a driver’s licence for licencing and driving rules in Canada, and whether to rent, buy, or lease a car.

An overview of licencing rules in Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan operates a Graduated Driver Licencing (GDL) program, as it helps to reduce the risks that new drivers face, especially driving in a province with ice and snow. There are three levels to the GDL program: Learner, Novice 1, and Novice 2. Your status is indicated on your driver’s licence. You’ll need to pass a knowledge test, sign test, driving program, and one road test. This system is designed to give novice drivers plenty of hands-on experience before they drive independently with little-to-no restrictions. 

Here are the three levels of driver’s license in Saskatchewan: 

1. Learner’s licence

A Class 7 learner licence is the first stage in becoming a driver in Saskatchewan. You can be 15-years-old to apply, if you enroll in a High School Driver Education Program. Otherwise, you need to be 16-years-old to apply and anyone under the age of 18 must have parental or guardian consent. You also have to pass a knowledge test, sign exam, and vision test. You must hold a learner’s licence for a minimum of nine months and complete driver education before graduating to the next level. 

This type of licence has the most restrictions, including: 

  • Drive with a supervised driver with a full Class 5 licence for at least 12 months 
  • Zero alcohol consumption and zero drugs in their system 
  • No hand-held or hands-free cell phone use 
  • No driving between midnight to 5 a.m., unless driving with a family member
  • Each passenger must have a working seat belt 
  • Mandatory driving education training either in high school or six hours in-class and six hours in-car commercial training. 

2. Class 5 Novice 1 licence

The next stage is obtaining a Class 5 Novice 1 licence. In order to qualify, you must be at least 16-years-old with parent approval, have held a Class 7 learner’s permit for at least nine months and have completed the mandatory driver education requirement. You’ll also have to pass a 20-minute road test that assesses skills such as starting, stopping, turning, proper lane changes, parking and safe driving practices. You will be required to hold a Class 5 Novice 1 licence for at least six months.

There are restrictions that apply, including: 

  • Zero alcohol consumption and zero drugs in their system 
  • No hand-held or hands-free cell phone use 
  • Only one passenger can be someone other than an immediate family member
  • Each passenger must have a working seat belt 
  • You cannot be a supervising driver for a learner

3. Class 5 Novice 2 driver 

After practicing as a Class 1 Novice driver for six months you will receive a valid Class 5 Novice 2 licence. You will be expected to continue practicing driving for 12 months. 

There are restrictions that apply, including: 

  • Zero alcohol consumption and zero drugs in their system 
  • No hand-held or hands-free cell phone use 
  • Each passenger must have a working seat belt 
  • You cannot be a supervising driver for a learner

4. Class 5 licence

A full Class 5 driver’s licence is the final step in Saskatchewan’s GDL program.  To successfully receive a full driver’s licence, you’ll need to show you have driven for 12-months incident-free. This means no collisions that are your fault, no licence suspensions and no traffic convictions.

Restrictions that apply include:

  • Every car you drive must have auto insurance
  • Cannot have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of more than 0.08 per cent or a BDC of five nanograms or more of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) per millilitre of blood

How to get your driver’s licence in Saskatchewan 

If you are a visitor, and have a valid full driver’s licence from another province or country, you can legally use it while driving in Saskatchewan. If your foreign licence is not in English or French, it is recommended you carry an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) from your home country. New residents to Saskatchewan may use their current foreign driver’s license for up to 90 days after settling in the province. 

Applying for a driver’s licence in Saskatchewan from scratch as a novice

If you don’t have an existing licence and would like to get a Saskatchewan driver’s licence, you have to be at least 15-years-old and registered in a High School Driver Education program. Otherwise, you’ll need to be 16-years-old to apply. Anyone under the age of 18-year-old must have parental or guardian consent. In order to obtain a learner’s licence, you’ll need to pass a basic knowledge exam and signs exam.

Steps involved:

  1. Prepare for the basic knowledge exam and signs exam by studying the Saskatchewan Driver’s Handbook and take their online practice quiz.
  2. Schedule an appointment at a driver exam office to take the exam, or book and prepay online with MySGI
  3. Pay the fee of $25 CAD to take the exam.
  4. Pass a vision test. 
  5. Show two pieces of valid ID that proves your identity and residency in Saskatchewan. 
  6. One you pass the knowledge exam, you will receive your learner’s licence and are considered a learner with a Class 7 licence. 
  7. Pay the fee for a driver’s licence of either five annual payments of $25 CAD, totalling $125, or one upfront payment of $100 CAD. 
  8. You then need to wait a minimum of nine months before applying for a Novice 1 licence.

Tips Icon  Tip:
Most auto insurance companies offer a discount or reduced premium for new drivers who have completed a recognized driver training program. Some insurers also provide discounts for drivers who have taken a defensive driving course.

Applying for a new driver’s licence in Saskatchewan based on previous driving experience in your home country

If you have previous driving experience and a valid licence in your home country, you may belong to one of the following categories:

  1. You’re moving from a country where Saskatchewan has a reciprocal arrangement for driver’s licence 
  2. You’re moving from a country where Saskatchewan does not have a reciprocal arrangement for driver’s licence: 

1. Moving from a country with a reciprocal arrangement for driver’s licence

Eligible countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Isle of Man, Japan, Jersey, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom (including England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland), United States. 

Process to get a local driving licence in Saskatchewan: Exchange your existing licence from your home country at a motor licence issuer. 

Key eligibility criteria: Proof of previous driving experience of at least two years on a full licence that is equivalent or higher than a Class 5 licence. 

Steps involved: Visit a motor licence issuer and bring:

  1. Your valid foreign driver’s licence.
  2. If your licence is not in French or English, it’s recommended you get an official translation of your licence. 
  3. Proof of two or more years of driving experience.
  4. Proof of claims history in the form of a letter from your previous auto insurer. 
  5. Proof of identity and residency status.
  6. Pay the fee: The cost of a five-year licence in Saskatchewan is $100 CAD or $25 CAD per year for five years.

Tips Icon  Tip:
Bringing proof of your previous insurance claims history may qualify you for a discount on your vehicle insurance under the Safe Driver Recognition (SDR) program.

If you have less than two years of driving experience in a reciprocal country:

If you have less than two-years driving experience on a full licence, you are considered a new driver. You’ll need to apply to enter the GDL program and will be assessed on the appropriate stage of the program based on how long you have been driving in your last jurisdiction. You will not be required to take a test. 

2. Moving from a country with no reciprocal arrangement for driver’s licence

Less than two-years driving experienceProof of two-years or more driving experience
Is a knowledge test required?YesNo
Is a basic road test required?YesYes
Is an approved driver training program required?YesDepends on the outcome of the basic road test.

If you are moving from a country that does not have a reciprocal agreement with Saskatchewan, you cannot exchange your driving licence. You will be classified as a new driver and must apply to the GDL program. However, if you can prove more than two years as an experienced driver, the GDL learning period and/or education may be waived. 

Steps involved: 

  1. Visit a motor licence issuer and apply for the GDL program.
  2. Provide proof of two more more years as an experienced driver.
  3. Bring your current foreign driver’s licence. 
  4. If the licence is not in English, provide a certified translation of the document. 
  5. The driver development team will assess your experience.
  6. If your driving experience cannot be verified, the government may request a license confirmation or driving extract. 
  7. You will be required to take a road test, which costs $55 CAD.
  8. Depending on the road test, you may be required to practice as a learner and complete an approved driver training program, or may be issued with a novice licence. 
  9. Pay the driver’s licence fee of $100 CAD or $25 CAD per year for five years.

If you have less than two years of driving experience in country without a reciprocal agreement:

  • You cannot swap it for a Saskatchewan driver’s licence. 
  • Visit a motor licence issuer and apply for the GDL program
  • You will be considered a learner driver once you take a knowledge exam, vision test and pay the appropriate fees.

What should a driving extract include

A driving extract, sometimes called a Letter of Experience, must:

  • Show the date you were licenced to drive
  • Declare your licence is valid
  • Dated within 30 days of arriving in Canada 
  • Show a complete record of any collisions or convictions

What is the fee structure for a driver’s licence in Saskatchewan

As of 2017, the fee structure for an Saskatchewan driver’s licence is as follows:

Written exam$25 CAD
Class 5 road test$55 CAD
Five-year licence renewal$100 CAD
Or five annual payments of $25 CAD
Replace licence with existing photo$15 CAD
Replace licence with new photo$30 CAD

What you need to know about driving in Saskatchewan 

Even if you’ve been driving for over 20 years, it’s probably a good idea to familiarize yourself with the rules of the road in Saskatchewan before getting behind the wheel of a car. The reason why is there are some rules that you may not be familiar with in your home country. 

Here are some common road rules for Saskatchewan:

  1. As a driver, you must wear a sweat belt and are responsible for making sure all passengers under the age of 16-years-old properly wear a seatbelt or child car seat. You may be fined if caught. 
  2. Speed is measured in kilometres per hour. Where there are no speed limits posted, the maximum speed is 50 km/hour in urban areas, 80 km/hour on provincial highways located inside a city limit and on rural roads, and 110 km/hour on provincial highways. 
  3. Cyclists must also follow the rules of the road, but drivers must be aware of them. 
  4. It is legal to turn right at a red light, as long as you come to a complete stop first and wait until the way is clear and give way for pedestrians. At some intersections, there may be a sign prohibiting a right hand turn on a red light. 
  5. Come to a complete stop at a four-way stop and drivers take turns driving through in order of arrival at the stop. If two vehicles arrive at the same time, courtesy allows that the vehicle on the right goes first. However, you must not proceed unless it’s safe to do so. 
  6. Drivers are required to stop no closer than five metres from a stopped school bus with its red light flashing and/or stop sign activated. This includes if the driver is behind the bus, or the bus is oncoming. When you see a bus with flashing amber lights, slow down and prepare to stop. Stay stopped until the bus moves on or the bus driver signals it is safe for you to proceed. If you are driving on a divided highway with a median, you only need to stop if you are behind the school bus. Passing a stopped school bus is a serious offence and you may be fined. 
  7. At a pedestrian crossing, you must come to a complete stop and allow pedestrians to cross safely to the other side of the road before proceeding. 
  8. You are required to safely move over and stop for emergency vehicles, such as police, ambulance or fire trucks with their flashing lights and siren on. Once the emergency vehicle has safely passed, you can resume travel. 
  9. Distracted driving is not permitted, this includes hand-held use of mobile phones, reading printed materials, personal grooming, or entering information into a GPS unit. Failure to obey this rule can result in heavy fines and demerit points.
  10. Driving while intoxicated is punishable by law. In Saskatchewan, the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 per cent. However, there are consequences for drivers with a BAC of 0.04 per cent or higher. 
  11. It is legal to pass on the right or the left, but passing on the left is generally more common and predictable, making it a safer choice for passing.
  12. It is illegal to drive a car in Saskatchewan without valid car insurance.

Tips Icon  Tip:
Another major difference you may encounter when driving in Saskatchewan is snow and ice. If you are not experienced with winter driving, getting behind the wheel of a car during a snowstorm may feel like a scary experience. Depending on your comfort level, consider investing in some driving lessons with a professional instructor on winter driving. They can take you through common scenarios you may face in winter such as skid control, collision avoidance, rear crash avoidance, and braking on slippery surfaces.

The Canada Safety Council has some winter driving tips. Some important things to remember are:

  1. Make sure that your vehicle is prepared for winter driving.
  2. Consider investing in winter tires, which provide better traction under ice and snow.
  3. Drive smoothly and slowly.
  4. Don’t tailgate – this will make it harder to stop safely.
  5. Brake before you make a turn.
  6. Keep your lights on during snow to increase visibility.

Be sure to familiarize yourself with the process of obtaining a local driver’s license. Brush up on your road rules ahead of time and stay safe. Having a provincial driver’s licence will give you the freedom to commute to work, explore your new neighbourhood, even take a road-trip and see more of Saskatchewan!

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