Q&A - Summer Student Employed as Driver

Q&A ImageQuestion: We are looking to hire a summer student for a summer delivery position with our company. The candidate has a valid learners Alberta license (equivalent to N driver). In February he had his license suspended for 4 months due to an accident to which he lost his N privileges.

In the meantime he went back to Alberta to obtain a reissue of an Alberta license that can be used once his suspension is lifted in BC in June.

My question is if he is driving a company truck after June 6, will both his insurance and our company insurance cover him as a delivery driver. He has been told during summer (as a student) he is covered with the 90 day period, but I am not completely clear if this is the case.

This job placement can only be filled with valid drivers license.

I'm a bit unclear on a couple of things in your explanation.

Is this person a B.C. resident or an Alberta resident? Reading between the lines it appears that he had a B.C. driver's licence at the time of the collision.

I am also curious about the new Alberta driver's licence. Generally as part of licence transactions such as this you are asked if your licence is suspended in any other jurisdiction. When it is and you answer honestly, you are refused. What am I missing?

There are three exemptions from being required to hold a BC driver's licence:

  1. New resident to BC
  2. Student at a designated institution
  3. Tourist

If this person is not a resident and we know they are not a student as school is out for the summer job, or a tourist as they are working, then a BC driver's licence is required.

I cannot answer insurance questions about policy coverage and would be foolish to try and do so. The consequences of being wrong could be severe. You will have to present a comprehensive explanation to your insurer and ask them. You may even want to receive that answer in written form to hold on to in case confirmation is needed in the future.

BC and Alberta are extremely different when it comes to insurance. In BC, the vehicle carries the insurance, not the driver. (100% sure of that). In most provinces where insurance is private (like alberta), the insurance follows the driver, not the vehicle. Note that that is my understanding on how other provinces work from living in one of those other provinces before and may not be up to date or accurate.

This train of thought is corroborated by the fact that in thoses provinces, should you be getting a few tickets, your insurance goes up. Which is not the case here because it follows the vehicle. If that makes sense.

And it's not just insurance, but even licensing.

Much of my work involves professional training, particularly for Class 4 Unrestricted drivers. Did you know that if a BC driver goes to Alberta with a Class 4 license, under the reciprocity agreement they will cheerfully 'swap' that BC C4 for an Alberta C4.

But if an Alberta driver with a C4 comes here, it won't be recognized as such; the person may well be issued a regular Class 5, but to receive a BC C4 will require them to successfully pass a BC Class 4 test here.

I can't, and don't, speak for the BC licensing authorities; but I think it's fair to say that this is an indication of the validity - for want of a better word - of the Alberta C4, here in this province. So 'equivalent' is a relative term, when it comes to licensing.


My STRONG ADVICE to the prospective employer who initiated this thread would be to simply ask the prospective employee to go into their local ICBC License Office here, and ask for their Alberta license to be exchanged for a BC equivalent license. Fees would be minimal, probably $17 for the new license, maybe some $15 fee or something for the Knowledge Test or equivalent.

If they need to provide a BC address, no problem, they can use their current residence here, even if it's a bunk bed at the employer's address. And so long as those issues over their driving behaviour in Alberta (which must surely be a cause for concern, no?) are now all settled, then none of this should be any big problem. Including ensuring their insurability on the employer's vehicle, which should take care of any issues over liability.

In reply to by CompetentDrivingBC

The candidate has a valid learners Alberta license (equivalent to N driver).

This is, quite simply, oxymoronic (I think that's the term, and as there's no spell check on this I get to use it anyway ha ha!).

Because a valid Learner's License is NOT the same as, or equivalent to, an 'N' driver.

L is for Learner. N is for Novice. The key difference, in the Class 7 category (which is what we're talking about here) is that the L driver, amongst other conditions, must be accompanied by the holder of a valid license.

The N driver has earned the right to drive solo, with fewer other conditions applying. Big difference!