Navigating the world of licensing, insurance, and driver training in Manitoba can be tough for a seasoned veteran behind the wheel. As a new Canadian or a new driver, understanding the steps that need to be taken to start driving can feel, at times, insurmountable. Part of being a Canadian, no matter how long you have been in this country, is having the privilege to learn how to drive; you just need to go through the necessary stages to get there.
With the help of the resources offered by Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI), we’ve assembled a guide to help you with all your new-driver needs.
New to Manitoba – Manitoba Driver License
Welcome! Being a new resident to Manitoba, you can drive a passenger vehicle as usual with your valid license for three months before you must take action. This also includes switching up your plates and insurance.
Following those initial three months, there are a few steps you need to take to ensure you are driving legally and with the proper plates and insurance.
- Visit an Autopac Agent or MPI Service centre with the following information:
- Valid ID
- Out of province license
- $65 License fee
2. Exchange your out of province license for a valid Manitoba license. This will just be temporary to allow time for the production and mailing of your photo license.
Just like that! Driving in Manitoba with your flashy new Manitoba license.
New Drivers: How to Get a Manitoba Driver License?
First things first, you need to figure out if you are qualified to be driving in Manitoba. Some of the most basic requirements include passing a vision test and being at least 16 years of age. If you meet those credentials, then it is time to start studying.
You will need to pick up a Manitoba Drivers Handbook and begin reading up on the general information about safe and legal driving practices for driving in Manitoba. You can study with online versions or pick up a physical copy of the handbook.
The third step, while optional, will definitely be helpful in the immediate and long-term future. Seek out a driver’s training course. These courses offer in-class and driving experience to help you learn the rules of the road and get comfortable while operating a vehicle. This training will not only help you get your license, but it will also make you a more defensive and safer driver.
Manitoba Driver License Test
If you are a new driver that has never had a license before, you are going to need to put your book learning and driver’s training course to use when you take Manitoba’s Graduated Driver License (GDL) program. First you will need to visit an Autopac and register for MPI. You’ll need specific documentation proving your name, birth date, signature, photograph, address, and right to reside in Canada.
Once you have passed the knowledge test as well as the vision test that are part of the program – and held your learner’s permit for at least nine months – you can book a road test to obtain your graduated driver license or GDL.
While with the learner’s permit, a licensed driver must always be in the vehicle with you. This will allow you to master your skills in an environment that is controlled and supervised. You will have restrictions on the number of passengers you can have in the vehicle, towing capabilities, and there is zero tolerance for any alcohol in the bloodstream whatsoever.
Taking the Road test
After nine months of driving alongside a licensed driver and completing the GDL program as well as any driver’s training courses you enrolled in, it is finally time to take your Manitoba road test. The road test will just be you and an examiner. You will be required to complete maneuvers such as starting and stopping the vehicle, lane changes, and parallel parking.
Passing your road test will grant you an intermediate license for 15 months. With the intermediate license you will have additional freedoms compared to the learners permit but some restrictions still apply. You can not drink alcohol before operating a vehicle under any circumstance and from midnight to 5 a.m. you can only have one passenger unless a supervising driver is present.
After your 15 months with the intermediate license you will be granted your full license and you will be permitted to drive in Manitoba with minimal restrictions.
Cost of a license
There will be a few fees you will be required to pay throughout this process of obtaining your license. The following payments are required:
- Initial knowledge test: $10
- Road test: $30
- First license fee: $20
- Driver Premium: $45
The driver premium can reduce with time if you, as the driver, keep a clean driving record. This means minimal to no driving infractions such as speeding, alcohol consumption, road violations, etc.
New to Canada Drivers
Whether your family has been in Canada or Manitoba for generations or you arrived yesterday, if you have the proper identification and meet the requirements every new driver must meet, you deserve the right to drive throughout this beautiful province and country. In fact, there are several countries that have a driver license exchange agreement with Canada. This means that your license may be exchanged for a full, Manitoba license without going through the steps a new driver would.
Of course, proper documentation is necessary for an exchange. Even if your country is not part of the exchange agreement you can still use your years of driving experience to get credit towards reducing the requirements for your driver’s license testing.
The list of countries with license exchange opportunities include:
USA: Class 5 and 6 as well as Class 1-4 (if exchanged licence indicates Commercial Driver’s Licence). This also includes American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands.
Australia: Class 5 and 6. You must pass a vision test and a driver licence report dated within 90 days.
Austria: Class 5
Germany: Class 5
Switzerland: Class 5 and 6
Belgium: Class 5
France: Class 5
United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, North Ireland, Isle of Man): Class 5 and 6
Ireland: Class 5 and 6
Japan: Class 5
Korea: Class 5. You will also need a Certificate of Driver’s Licence issued by the National Police
Agency in South Korea.
New Zealand: Class 5 and 6
Taiwan: Class 5 and 6. As well as translation of the Taiwanese licence prepared by Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Toronto and a Verification Certificate of Driver’s Licence (VCDL), Republic of China.
If your out-of-country licence is expired, you can talk to an Autopac agent or Service Centre representative for more information.
Additionally, if you require any translation services, the following is acceptable and available:
- Any translation service listed in the Yellow Pages or Yellow Pages Web Site under Translation and Interpreters
- Any translator registered with the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Manitoba (ATIM) (www.atim.mb.ca); or
- An Embassy or Consulate, on official letterhead or in the form of an International Permit issued in the home country, if applicable
Driving in Manitoba’s prairie landscape is beautiful and scenic. However, as so many of us have experienced, the process of getting there can sometimes be difficult without a little help and guidance. For more information on driving in Manitoba, please visit the Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) website and browse through their excellent resources.