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Getting a Commercial Driver’s License in Canada

Posted by: Gavin Au-Yeung Date: October 27, 2020 Category: Blog

Are you interested in a career related to driving? Anyone interested in  operating a vehicle for commercial purposes – for example, driving trucks, buses, tractor-trailers, taxis, or even large snow plows – will need to get a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) in Canada. Canada’s National Safety Code provides the rules and regulations for Commercial Drivers. In addition, each province and territory have their own requirements for obtaining a commercial vehicle license. Continue reading to learn more about the process of obtaining a CDL.

Related blog: Why you should consider a transportation career

Minimum requirements for CDL

There are some basic requirements which must be met before you can apply for a Commercial Driver’s License. These include: a standard driver’s license, a clean driving background, and a criminal record check. Depending on your province, the minimum age requirement to drive a commercial vehicle is between 18 or 19. Furthermore, the minimum age is between 19 to 21 for those who want to drive a bus.

In addition, you will need to pass a written test. Test material varies from provinces, and are generally multiple-choice questions. Passing the written test allows you to obtain a learner’s permit where you can practice with a fully-licensed driver. More on this later in the article.


Some medical conditions may prevent you from getting a CDL. It is important to disclose your medical conditions from the start of the process. This way, you won’t waste time in obtaining a license only to be denied driving afterwards. Generally speaking, certain types of epilepsy, psychiatric conditions, neurological conditions, heart conditions, and more can prevent you from getting a CDL. Some provinces may require CDL drivers to submit health checks throughout regular intervals. For example, commercial drivers in Saskatchewan under the age of 46 need to hand in a medical report every five years. It becomes one year for drivers who are 66 or above.

Practicing as a CDL Driver

You can begin practicing with a learner’s permit after completing the written test. It is recommended to find a good trucking school which will teach drivers the important skills. Completing approved courses may be mandatory in some provinces. Driving schools, such as Capilano Truck Driver Training Institute in Edmonton, will equip drivers with everything they need to be safe on the roads. When you are ready, you can book a road test with an examiner. The examiner will ask you to perform various driving maneuvers and you will receive a grade. The CDL is yours once you pass the road test!

Different types of licenses

It’s important to keep in mind the different types of licenses will allow you to drive various vehicles. The name of these licenses will differ from each province, check with your province for more information. For example, a Class 5 license in Alberta is the most standard license and will allow you to drive cars, light trucks, and motorhomes. A Class 4 professional license is required for taxi drivers, ambulances, and small buses. In addition, a Class 1 license will allow you to drive any vehicle.  In Saskatchewan, driver license classes are organized like this (click here). Ontario has a similar licensing scale which uses letters. For example, someone with a Class A license can operate tractor-trailers, double trailers, and trailers with air brakes.


Some special equipment requires additional knowledge and training to operate. Drivers can go through additional testing to add endorsements to their licenses. For example, to drive a school bus in Saskatchewan, an S-endorsement is needed on your license.

Need more help

Truck driving training is not free. Aspiring CDL holders should expect to pay around $10,000 to complete their training. This may be a large sum of money; especially for newcomers in Canada. Fortunately, Career Loans can help internationally trained newcomers in Alberta and Saskatchewan break into a transportation career. Skilled newcomers can receive free career support services over the phone or online. Furthermore, clients can choose to apply for a micro loan of up to $15,000 to help get you back to your desired career.

A truck driving career is waiting for you. Sign up with Career Loans and jumpstart your career today!

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