One of the big challenges of registering my vehicle in Ontario was to switch my German driving license into a Canadian one. Of course you can argue if that is really necessary for you or not. No doubt your personal situation will decide about it. Anyway, in groups like Work & Travel Canada this point is always an issue of interest and always intensively discussed.
If you own a out of province or foreign driving license you are allowed to drive for three months. With an additional International Driving License it is up to six months, depending on provincial laws.
Because of that ask yourself if it is really necessary for you. Don`t waste money and time!
Exchanging your driving license is especially recommended if you stay for more than 6 months in Canada.In particular Service Ontario recommends to flip your license with every registration of a new car. In contrast most of the insurance companies in Ontario just encourage you to switch your license in between three months after registration.
Nevertheless, I decided to switch my German driving license from the very beginning. Also because there could be some new difficulties if you own a car registered in Ontario and change your driving license in Alberta for instance.
Anyway, before we left Germany I did a certified translation of my license in advance and addtionally I asked my insurance company for confirmation of my claim free years (Letter of Experience).
You will also find addtional information according the documents and the process of switching your foreign license on the website of Service Ontario. Not reading that information became a problem to me because the translation of my license was not accepted by Service Ontario. The officers told me that it has to be a translation of a certified translator located in Ontario. That`s wired because there is no difference. Anyway, I recommend “Docsbase” for a cheap, fast and most important accepted certified translation in Toronto.
In May 2017 there was just one office of Service Ontario in Toronto where they are able to switch your foreign license. You will find it in 777 Bay Street, Downtown Toronto. As I already said, it is mandatory to have all your papers with you. I also recommend an appointment because the office is always busy. Otherwise you should also bring patience with your papers. Last but not least use public transport because you have to be very lucky to find an option for cheap parking Downtown Toronto.
Here the main documents you will need to switch your license:
national driving license
certified translation of your driving license
an address, where Service Ontario is able to mail the permanent license
Letter of Experience (if you could get one)
If your documents are complete and accepted you are encouraged to do a short eye test. They will also take a picture of you. After paying the fees of 90 CAD (May 2017) you will get your temporary license right away which is valid for three months. Your permanent Canadian license which is valid for five years will be mailed to your address in between a few weeks. Be aware of this fact if you plan to leave the city!!! I got my photo card after four weeks...
May be you just get a limited driving license if you are a beginner or you have to do an additional driving test. Foreign motorcycle licenses are not accepted in Canada.
Your German driving license will be mailed back to Flensburg. Back home you are able to apply for an exchange of your Canadian license into your old German one.
Note: Germany has a special partnership with Canada according the exchange of driving licenses. The process of switching your foreign driving license into a Canadian one may differ depending on your country of permanent residence and the province in which you like to exchange your driving license. See also the provincial websites for more information according Canadian driving license.