Ministry of Transportation / Ministère des Transports
Home
Home > Drivers and Vehicles > Driver Licensing > Driver's Handbook
Text size Enlarge Text Shrink Text
Search   |  
Driving efficiently
Choosing a driving school

As a new driver, choosing professional driving instruction may be the best way to put yourself safely in the driver's seat.

A Beginner Driver Education (BDE) course (in a driving school or high school driver education program) which has been approved by the provincial government can teach you the skills and attitudes you need to be a safe and responsible driver. The BDE course may also make you eligible to take your road test sooner and allow you to save money on insurance premiums.

As well as teaching the basics, driver training emphasizes strategic driving techniques, positive driving attitudes and behaviour, avoiding driver distractions, risk perception and management, freeway driving, night driving and driving in adverse conditions. Most programs are designed for new drivers, but many driving schools also provide courses and services to upgrade your skills.

If you graduate from an approved BDE course, the course completion information in your Driver's Licence History will reduce the time you must spend at Level 1 by four months.It may also bring you savings on your car insurance.

All ministry licenced driving schools (private or high school program) offer in-class and in-car training for a fee. All lessons are taught by a ministry-licensed driving instructor.

Ministry approved BDE courses, offered by driving schools and high schools, must last a minimum of 40 hours. This may consist of at least 20 hours in-class, 10 hours in-vehicle and 10 hours of flexible instruction that may include the following:

  • Classroom Driving Instruction.
  • Computer-Based Instruction.
  • In-Vehicle Instruction.
  • Driving Simulator Instruction.
  • Homelinks (homework).

The ministry licences all driving schools offering a BDE course in Ontario. Licences are renewed every three years, if driving schools continue to meet legislative and program requirements. Only licensed instructors working for licensed schools can teach the BDE course.

All ministry-approved driving schools (i.e. schools which are licensed by the ministry) are listed on the ministry's public web-site under http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/driver/gradu/approve.shtml

NOTE: The ministry also lists revoked driving schools that are not on the list of approved schools, http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/driver/gradu/revoked.shtml

Look at the web-site for an active ministry-approved driving school that offers high quality instruction and a comfortable learning environment. Please make sure the school offers a ministry-approved BDE course of a minimum of 40 hours. The school should also be equipped with up-to-date videotapes, DVDs, Blu-Ray discs, projectors, overheads, computers, and other audio-visual aids.

To help you choose the best driving school and course for you, please use the following checklist:

  • Course information package
  • Personalized program
  • Adequacy of classroom facilities and related amenities
  • Low student/teacher ratio
  • Audio-visual equipment
  • In-class topics covered
  • In-vehicle topics covered
  • Flexible instruction covered
  • Instructor qualifications and experience
  • Regular instructor upgrading
  • Student progress and evaluation reports
  • Minimum 20 hours classroom instruction, 10 hours behind-the-wheel instruction and 10 hours flexible instruction
  • Modern training materials
  • Use of vehicle for road test
  • Tuition receipts
  • Clear school contract statements regarding the cost of every aspect of the course including use of vehicle for road test and any subsequent road test
  • Testimonials/References - history of excellent teaching, proper treatment and respect of all students with no discrimination of any type (see the Ontario Human Rights Code)
  • Number of years in business
  • Consumer protection insurance