With an AZ license in Ontario you can work for a trucking company as an employee, or work for yourself as an owner operator.
Lucky for you, the transportation industry in Ontario is booming and truck drivers are in high demand.
But how do you get started?
A career in trucking starts with obtaining either your AZ license or your DZ license.
First you’ll need to know what a Class AZ license is and if you meet the requirements to apply for the license. From there we will take you through the costs and fees, where to take the tests, and even practice tests!
Ready to start?
- What is an Ontario Class AZ License?
- Air Brakes: What is a Z-Endorsement?
- What are the Class AZ Driver Requirements?
- Ontario AZ License Costs and Fees
- 6 Steps To Get Your AZ Drivers License
- Extra Recommended Trucking Documents
- Class AZ License Maintenance
- How To Renew Your Class AZ License
- Contact Information
What is an Ontario Class AZ License?
Most drivers with a Class AZ in Ontario drive tractor trailers, either long distances or locally.
Long distance drivers will haul freight across the country or between provinces. This tends to keep them on the road for days at a time.
Local drivers will usually deliver terminal to terminal usually staying within their province. These drivers usually work a set number of hours per day and are home for rest each day.
With a Class AZ license, a driver will be able to operate any of the following:
- Either a straight (26 foot) truck or a tractor trailer (53 foot)
- A towed vehicle with a total gross weight over 4600kg (10,000lbs)
- A towed vehicle with air brakes
- A tractor pulling a double trailer (B-trains)
If you don’t get the Z-endorsement with your Class A you can drive:
- Any class G vehicle, car or truck
- Heavy trucks in Class D
- Any Class A vehicle that does not have air brakes (including trailers without air brakes)
Your Class AZ license does not allow you to operate a passenger bus. To drive a bus you will need to get your Class B, Class E or Class F license, depending on the passenger capacity of the bus.
Find out how to drive dump trucks, straight trucks, and cement trucks with our DZ license Ontario Guide
Air Brakes: What is a Z-Endorsement?
Drivers with a Z-endorsement can operate vehicles that are equipped with air brakes.
Air brakes are a style of brakes for trucks that use compressed air in a piston to push on the brake pad. This increases the friction and eventually stops the wheels from spinning.
In order to drive a vehicle that uses air brakes you will need to get a Z-endorsement attached to your commercial vehicle license. To do this you must pass both a written and a practical test.
The written test is 20 multiple choice questions on air brakes, which you must pass with at least an 80%. For the practical test, you will meet with a DriveTest examiner to demonstrate your knowledge of the operation of air brakes.
What are the Class AZ Driver Requirements?
To quote the MTO website, to apply for a Class AZ license you must:
- be at least 18 years old
- hold a valid Ontario licence other than G1, G2, M, M1 or M2
- pass an vision test
- submit a valid medical report
- pass a knowledge test about operating large trucks and tractor-trailers
- complete a mandatory entry level training course
- pass a road test using a vehicle that meets the requirements for a full Class A.
If you meet the list of requirements above, you should have no problem beginning your Ontario Class AZ license application.
Ontario AZ License Costs and Fees
In total you should be able to get your AZ license for $10,418.75 at the very most (not including travel if necessary).
Here is the breakdown of those costs:
- Class A knowledge test and road test: $122.75 (includes air brakes practical)
- Air brakes knowledge test: $16.00
- Official MTO Truck Handbook: $20.00
- Official MTO Air Brake Handbook: $20.00
- Medical exam: $50-$150 (depending on your doctor)
- MELT training course: $7000-$10,000 (more on this below)
- Five-year licence: $90.00
How to pay for your tests
There are a few options when it comes to paying for your Ontario Class AZ drivers license.
Drive Test offers a package deal for both the Class A license. This includes the air brakes practical test, the knowledge test is a $16.00 add-on.
- Class A knowledge test + road test: $122.75 (for drivers under 65)
- Class A knowledge test + road test: $37.75 (for drivers over 65)
There is also a package deal for the Z-endorement tests (Air Brakes). If you are an existing commercial driver but just need to get your air brakes endorsement, this is the package for you.
- Z-endorsement knowledge test + practical test: $66.00
Alternatively, you can pay for just the knowledge tests or the practical tests separately.
- Class A knowledge test: $23.75
- Z-endorsement knowledge test: $16.00
Road and Practical Tests
- Class A road test: $99.00 (with or without the Z-endorsement practical)
- Z-endorsement practical test: $50.00
Did you see that? When you take your Class A road test, the air brakes practical is included whether you take it or not. Taking the air brakes practical with your Class A road test will save you $50.00.
6 Steps To Get Your AZ Drivers License
Getting your AZ license in Ontario is not an easy task. Commercial driving in Ontario is serious business and
The licensing process can be broken down into 6 steps:
- Complete your medical examination
- Study for the knowledge test (Take the practice test!)
- Take the knowledge test
- Practice driving
- Take the road test
- Start driving!
1. Complete your medical examination
In Ontario, drivers are required to submit a passing medical exam prior to any testing at a DriveTest centre. This means that you need to pick up a medical exam form from a DriveTest centre (or download one here) and have it completed by a medical professional prior to taking your knowledge test.
There are a few things you need to do to complete this step:
- Book an appointment with a physician or a nurse practitioner
- Complete the medical examination form to hand in with your application
If you are a driver below the age of 46, you are required to produce a medical report every 5 years. A report every three years if you are between 46 and 64 years old. Drivers aged 65 and above are required to hand in a medical report once a year.
Your medical exam appointment should cost you anywhere between $50 and $150 depending on what your practitioner charges.
You will be required to pass a vision test while you are applying for your commercial AZ license. If you do not pass the vision test at the DriveTest centre, you must make an appointment with an optometrist. Your optometrist will test the strength of your eyes as well as the width or your peripheral field.
You can pick up a copy of the vision exam form from a DriveTest centre or online at the MTO website. The vision examination may also cost you anywhere between $50 and $150, call your optometrists office for an accurate fee.
2. Study for the class AZ knowledge test
The Class AZ written test may only be multiple choice, but it costs you every time you have to re-take it. Studying for the test is the best way to ensure you pass it the first time.
The information on the Class AZ knowledge test can be found in the MTO Truck Driver Handbook and the MTO Air Brakes Handbook. Both will cost $20.00 if you buy a hardcopy at the DriveTest centre or $27.78 on the MTO web store.
MTO Truck Driver Handbook
The MTO Truck Driver Handbook contains information on just about everything commercial trucking in Ontario.
Chapter 1 will take you through the legislations, trip inspections, and the requirements for commercial driving. Chapter 2 focuses more on rules of the road, road signs, and driving techniques like backing up or hooking up to a trailer.
Chapters 3 and 4 are all about traffic signs and promoting safe and responsible driving. Finally, the last few chapters take you through license details and what you can expect on the road tests.
MTO Air Brakes Handbook
The MTO Air Brakes Handbook is where you will find all of the information you need to pass your air brakes knowledge test. The chapters cover the following topics:
- Vehicle Braking Systems
- Air Supply Subsystem
- Service Brake Subsystem
- Spring (Parking and Emergency) Brake Subsystem
- Trailer Brake Subsystem
- Foundation Brakes
- Demands on Brakes While Driving
- Air Brake Compliance
- Inspecting Air Brake Components
- Checking Air Brake System Operation
- Inspecting Air Brake Adjustment
- Checklists, Charts and Circuit Diagrams
Once you finish reading both hand books, give our practice test a shot to see how you do. If you do well, Great! If you don’t keep reading and try the test again.
Take the CDHQ Ontario Class AZ practice tests
We’ve put together several quick, no pressure practice test to help get started. The test is 20 questions long with no time limit and covers road signs, regulations, and safe driving practices. While passing our test does not mean that you will pass the real test, it is a good indicator to your level of preparedness.
Are you ready to take the practice test?
Click on the practice test below to get started!
Ontario Class A Practice Tests
- Ontario Class A Practice Test 1
- Ontario Class A Practice Test 2
- Ontario Class A Practice Test 3
- Ontario Class A Practice Test 4
- Ontario Class A Practice Test 5
Air Brakes Practice Tests
- Ontario Air Brakes Test 1
- Ontario Air Brakes Test 2
- Ontario Air Brakes Test 3
- Ontario Air Brakes Test 4
- Ontario Air Brakes Test 5
Ontario Road Signs Test
We do our best to keep the questions current and accurate. The MTO may change the questions on the knowledge tests at any time. Always be prepared for surprises.
Many of the answers to the questions can be found in the MTO Commercial Drivers Handbook. You can buy a physical copy from the MTO website, or you can use the free online handbook.
DISCLAIMER: CDHQ is not affiliated with DriveTest or the MTO. These practice tests should not be considered official tests and you are not granted a license for completing them. Our tests are simply a practice tool to help prepare yourself for the real test.
What Do Your Results Mean?
We designed our Class AZ practice test to mimic the actual knowledge test, but on a smaller scale.
Our free practice test has 30 questions, while the actual knowledge test will have 70 questions. To pass our test you must score at least 80% and to pass the real test you must score at least 80% on all sections.
So if you scored over 80% on our quiz you should be ready to write a successful MTO knowledge test at a DriveTest centre. But why stop at 80%? To be absolutely sure you are ready we recommend aiming for a 90% on the test.
If you scored less than 80% on our AZ practice test you need to do some extra studying. Use the practice tests results to find out which section you need to work on.
Do you need to brush up on your air brakes knowledge? Maybe you missed a few road signs?
Once you have found your weak link, study that topic a little more and come back to take the quiz again.
3. Take the knowledge test
Now that you are well prepared and ready to go write the knowledge test, what is the next step?
The next step is to find the nearest Drive Test centre in your area. There is usually a Drive Test location near you no matter where you are. If you are in a large urban centre, your location may be open on Saturdays as well.
Once you have figured out where to write your test, it is time to figure out when to take the written test. It is best to call your DriveTest centre to either book an appointment or find the best time for a walk-in.
When you arrive at the Drive Test centre, you will need to submit your medical documents and your existing drivers license. The DriveTest staff will test your vision before you write the test, completing your medical/vision exam.
Now that all the pre-requisites are in order, it is time to pay the fee of the knowledge test. The Class AZ drivers license costs a total of $39.75, the Class A written test is $23.75 and the Air Brakes written test is $16.00. (assuming you only pay for the knowledge tests)
About the knowledge test
You’ll want to know what to expect when you go in to take the knowledge test. If you are going for the full AZ license, your test will be 70 questions long. If you are trying to get your Class A restricted license, you will have a test with 50 questions.
All of the questions on the test are multiple choice.
Here is the breakdown of questions on the test:
- 30 Road rules questions
- 20 Road sign questions
- 20 Air brake questions
These questions focus on the rules and regulations of commercial driving. They will ask questions about weight stations, road clearance, drivers logs and HOS (hours of service), as well as a few common sense questions.
Questions about the road signs in Ontario will be on the test as well. Each question will show a road sign and a list of possible meanings for that road sign.
The air brakes questions are all about the mechanics of the braking system. Make sure you study up on air brakes prior to taking the test as this is the most technical part of the test.
You must pass each section of the test with at least an 80% mark to get your learners permit. If you fail any part of the test, you will have to repay the knowledge test fees ($23.75 for Class A, $16.00 for Air Brakes) and take the test again.
The AZ License test is available in 8 different languages including English, French, Hindi and Tamil. Test time generally runs between 20 and 30 minutes to complete.
When you go in to write your knowledge test, it is best to pay for your road tests all at once. There is no discount when you combine them, but paying for your road test in advance is a great way to keep committed to getting your AZ license.
- Commercial license package (knowledge test and road test): $122.75 (if you are over 65 years old: $37.75)
- Air brakes knowledge test: $16.00
4. Practice driving
After your trip to the DriveTest centre you will need to take a training course from an accredited private career college. The province has made it mandatory that all drivers applying for an AZ license must attend a 103.5 hour training program.
Many private trucking schools teach the MELT (Mandatory Entry Level Training) program and the costs for this course are quite expensive and can be between $7,000 and $10,000.
There are government programs available that will help you offset the cost of training. You must apply and be eligible for the program to benefit. The Ontario website has a list of programs you can apply for if you need assistance.
5. Take the road test
Once your training is done you can move on to the last step and take your practical road tests. The road test is where you will put all of your hard work into practice. You will need to prove to your examiner that you know and understand how to drive your vehicle safely.
You will need to bring a few items with you to your road tests. Here is your test day pack list:
- Class AZ vehicle in good working order (insured vehicle required)
- Your current driver’s license
- Paper copy of the road test confirmation email
A few items you will need specifically for the Z-endorsement practical
- Wheel chocks
- Knowledge of the size and type of air brakes on the test vehicle
- A way of holding the break pedal engaged
- Something to mark a measure the pushrod stroke
- Hard hat and safety glasses
- Brake adjustments limit chart
What the test is like
The first part of the test is a pre-trip inspections (this should always be your first step when driving), you will do a circle check and make sure the truck is safe to drive. The examiner will ask you to perform specific tasks during the second half of the test. These tasks will show how experienced and how proficient you are as an AZ truck driver.
If your skills are up to par and the examiner is happy with your performance you will pass the road test. The DriveTest
6. Start driving!
Once you successfully complete your road and practical tests you are officially a Class AZ licensed driver. The next steps from here are learning about insurance, buying a vehicle, and getting a job.
Most importantly, drive safe and have fun!
Tri-County Trucking in Ayar, Ontario has a great video outlining what you need to become an AZ License Driver in Ontario, they even share the one skill they don’t test for at the MTO.
Extra Recommended Trucking Documents
In addition to the requirements above, it is important to have a clean driving record. You can pick up a copy of your driver’s abstract from the MTO for around $12. Employers will want to know your driving history and a clean driving record shows them that you will be a safe choice for their team.
The FAST card, border crossing made easy
A good option for border crossings is the FAST card (Free and Secure Trade program). The FAST card is a commercial clearance program for known low-risk shipments entering the United States from Canada or Mexico. The program allows for quicker processing for carriers with background checks and meet the FAST requirements.
Time to hook up your trailer and hit the road!
The open road is calling and now that you are fully licensed to drive Class AZ vehicles, it is time to start looking for work.
Employers are looking for drivers with a solid training background and a great skill set. Your training as a truck driver will help you stand out when applying for trucking jobs across Ontario.
Stay safe, meet your deadlines, and have fun!
Not ready for a trailer yet? Check out our guide to the DZ license!