Youth FAQs – Questions about Activities

How old do I have to be to drive a car?

You can start to drive at as early as age 14, but with restrictions, as per the requirements of Alberta’s Graduated Driver’s Licensing Program (GDLP).

Under the GDLP, to get a driver’s licence for a car (also known as Class 5 licence), the following rules apply.

1. You must first get a Learner’s Permit (also known as a “Class 7” licence).

  • This can be done as early as age 14.
  • But if you are under age 18, you must have parental consent.
  • You must first pass a vision screening and a knowledge test.
  • You must hold this licence for at least one year before moving to the next stage.
  • While you have this licence you:
    • must be accompanied by a fully licensed (non-probationary) driver who is 18 years of age or older and is seated next to you;
    • are not permitted to drive between midnight and 5 a.m.;
    • may not have more passengers than the number of seat belts in the vehicle;
    • will have your licence suspended at 8 demerits; and
    • are not allowed to have any alcohol in your blood when driving.

2. You can then become a “Probationary Driver” (also knnown as a “Class 5-GDL Licence”)

  • This can be done as early as age 16.
  • But if you are under age 18, you must have parental consent.
  • You must have had a Learner’s Permit (Class 7 licence) for at least a year.
  • You must first pass a vision screening and the basic Alberta road test.
  • You must hold this licence for at least two years before moving to the next stage.
  • While you have this licence you:
    • may not have more passengers than the number of seat belts in the vehicle;
    • will have your operator’s licence suspended at 8 demerits;
    • are not allowed to have any alcohol in your blood when driving;
    • may not re-class to a commercial operator’s licence; and
    • may not serve as an accompanying driver to a learner.

3. You can then become a “fully licenced” driver. To do this, you must:

  • not have had your operator’s licence suspended or cancelled for the last 12 months of the two year probationary stage; and
  • pass an advanced road test

For more information, see: Alberta Office of Traffic Safety > Graduated Driver Licensing from the list of links below.

Last Reviewed: November 2010

How old do I have to be drive a snowmobile?

It depends on whether you are on public land or private land. Private land means land that you own or for you which you have received permission to access.

On public land, you must be at least 14 years of age to operate a snowmobile independently, and a person younger than 14 must be either accompanied by an adult, or supervised closely.

On private land, there is no minimum age requirement. You should know, however, that entering someone else’s land without permission makes you a trespasser under Alberta’s Petty Trespass Act. You should not enter private land without permission.

Also:

  • on public land, a snowmobile rider must have a properly registered and insured snowmobile;
  • on private land you do not need a driver’s licence, registration or insurance; and
  • the minimum age required to register a snowmobile is 18 years.

For more information on the rules and regulations about snowmobiles see the fact sheet from Alberta Transportation called Owning and Operating a Small Vehicle in Alberta (PDF – 2 p.) from the list of links below.

Last Reviewed: November 2010

How old do I have to be drive an all-terrain vehicle (ATV)?

It depends on whether you are on public land or private land. Private land means land that you own or for you which you have received permission to access.

On public land, you must be at least 14 years of age to operate an ATV independently, and a person younger than 14 must be either accompanied by an adult, or supervised closely.

On private land, there is no minimum age requirement. Entering onto someone else’s land without permission may make you a trespasser under Alberta’s Petty Trespass Act and you may be apprehended and fined if you are trespassing. You should never enter private land without permission.

Also:

  • on public land, an ATV rider must have a properly registered and insured ATV;
  • on private land you do not need a driver’s licence, registration or insurance; and
  • the minimum age required to register an ATV is 18 years.

However, the position of Alberta Health Services is that youth under 16 years of age “don’t have the strength, skills or judgment to ride an ATV”.

For more information see: Alberta Health Services > Off Road Vehicles & Children & Youth from the list of links below.

Also, for information on the rules and regulations about driving ATVs, see the fact sheet from Alberta Transportation called Owning and Operating a Small Vehicle in Alberta (PDF – 2 p.) from the list of links below.

Last Reviewed: November 2010

How old do I have to be drive a power bicycle?

You must be at least 12. In addition, you must have the written consent of a parent or legal guardian.

If you are under 16, then you cannot have a passenger.

For more information on the changes made in 2009 to the rules and regulations about riding power bicycles, see: Alberta Transportation > Owning and Operating a Power Bicycle in Alberta (PDF – 1 p.) from the list of links below.

For more information on the rules and regulations about riding power bicycles, see: Alberta Transportation > Owning and Operating a Small Vehicle in Alberta (PDF – 2 p.) from the list of links below.

Last Reviewed: November 2010

How old do I have to be drive a moped?

You must be at least 14.

If you are under 16, you cannot have any passengers on the moped.

There are also helmet, insurance and registration requirements.

For more information on the changes made in 2009 to the rules and regulations about riding mopeds, see: Alberta Transportation > Owning and Operating a Power Bicycle in Alberta (PDF – 1 p.) from the list of links below.

For more information on the rules and regulations about riding mopeds, see: Alberta Transportation > Owning and Operating a Small Vehicle in Alberta (PDF – 2 p.) from the list of links below.

Last Reviewed: November 2010

How old do I have to be drive a trail-bike?

It depends on whether you are on public land or private land. Private land means land that you own or for you which you have received permission to access.

On public land, you must be at least 14 years of age to operate a trail bike independently, and a person younger than 14 must be either accompanied by an adult, or supervised closely.

On private land, there is no minimum age requirement. You should know, however, that entering someone else’s land without permission may make you a trespasser under Alberta’s Petty Trespass Act. You should never enter private land without permission.

Also:

  • on public land, a trail-bike rider must have a properly registered and insured trail-bike;
  • on private land you do not need a driver’s licence, registration or insurance; and
  • the minimum age required to register a trail bike is 18 years.

For more information on the rules and regulations about riding trail bikes, see: Alberta Transportation > Owning and Operating a Small Vehicle in Alberta (PDF – 2 p.) from the list of links below.

Last Reviewed: November 2010

How old do I have to be drive a motorcycle?

You must be at least 16.

You must also have a Class 6 Licence, which requires that you have at least a Class 7 (Probationary) Licence. If you have a Class 7 licence, there are special rules. You have to have someone who is over 18 with you either on the motorbike, or following on their own motorbike or in a motor vehicle. You cannot ride your motorcycle at night, which is defined as being an hour from sunset, or midnight, whichever is earlier, until an hour before sunrise, or 5:00 a.m., whichever is later.

There are also helmet, insurance and registration requirements.

For more information on the rules and regulations about driving motorcycles, see the list of links below for the following documents from Alberta Transportation:

  • Operator’s Licence Information for Motorcycles, Mopeds and Power Bicycles (PDF – 90 p.) and
  •  Owning and Operating a Small Vehicle in Alberta (PDF – 2 p.)

Last Reviewed: November 2010

How old do I have to be drive a sea-doo?

You must be at least 16 years of age.

Watercraft operators may also require a competency certificate. For more information, see: Transport Canada > National Pleasure Craft Operator Competency Program from the list of links below.

A sea-doo is defined as a “personal watercraft” and is governed by federal law, most importantly the Canada Shipping Act and its Vessel Operation Restriction Regulations.

A licence or registration is mandatory for all pleasure craft equipped with motors of 10 horsepower (7.5 kilowatts) or more, including personal watercraft.

Last Reviewed: November 2010

How old do I have to be drive a motor boat?

It depends on horse-power (“hp”) of the motor. The rules can be summarized as follows:

  • If the motor boat is under 10hp
    • there is no minimum age requirement.
  • If the motor boat is between 10hp and 40hp (inclusive)
    • you must be at least 12 years of age to drive it on your own;
    • however, if you are under 12, you can operate the vessel as long as you are accompanied by someone who is aged 16 and over.
  • If the motor boat is 40hp or more
    • you must be at least 16 years of age to drive it on your own;
    • however, if you are under 16, you can operate the vessel as long as you are accompanied by someone who is aged 16 and over

A licence or registration is mandatory for all pleasure craft equipped with motors of 10 horsepower (7.5 kilowatts) or more, including personal watercraft.

Boat operators may also require a competency certificate. For more information, see: Transport Canada > National Pleasure Craft Operator Competency Program from the list of links below.

A boat is defined as a pleasure craft and is governed by federal law, most importantly the Canada Shipping Act and its Vessel Operation Restriction Regulations.

Last Reviewed: November 2010

How old do I have to be to get a sport fishing licence?

You must be at least 16 years of age. If you are younger than 16 years of age or older than 65, then you do not need a licence, but you must follow the regulations. You also do not need a licence if you are an “Indian”, as defined by the Indian Act and its regulations (See: Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada – Indian Status) in links listed below. There are also certain days across the province when licences are not mandatory.

For more information about additional requirements, see: My Wild Alberta > Fishing – Licences and Fees from the links listed below.

Last Reviewed: November 2010

How old do I have to be to get a hunting licence?

It depends. The rules can be summarized as follows:

1. A youth must be at least 12 years old to hunt under the authority of any hunting licence.

  • Hunters who are 11 years old may apply in the draws for licences if they meet the above criteria but they must be 12 years old anytime before or during the open season for that draw. They may not hunt until they are 12 years old.

2. Youth first-time hunters who are 12 to 17 years of age have to complete the Alberta Conservation and Hunter Education course. Please note that while in the past first-time hunters had the option of taking an exam instead of the course; as of 2010, the Alberta Hunter Competency Exam is no longer offered, and all first-time hunters are now required to take the Alberta Conservation and Hunter Education course.

3. All hunters under the age of 16 years must have written permission from a parent or guardian to purchase hunting licences.

4. To hunt with a firearm, hunters under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a parent, a legal guardian or by a person 18 years of age or older who has the written permission of the parent or legal guardian.

For more information about additional requirements, see: Sports Scene Publications > Alberta Guide to Hunting Regulations in links listed below.

For more information about the Alberta Conservation and Hunter Education course, see: The Alberta Hunter Education Instructors Association in links listed below.

All hunters in Alberta should also be aware of federal regulations pertaining to possession and use of firearms. For more information about federal firearms regulation, please see the Royal Canadian Mounted Police > Canadian Firearms Program in links listed below.

Last Reviewed: November 2010

How old do I have to be to gamble?

Gambling is the act of risking money, property or something else of value on an activity with an unknown outcome.

Gambling can, and does, take many legal forms. For example: lottery tickets, raffle tickets or scratch-and-win tickets, Sport Select tickets, casinos, racetracks, video lottery terminals (VLTs), and even bingo. Gambling is legal when it is managed by laws set out by the government.

In Alberta, in order to take part in legal gambling, you must be at least 18 years old. This includes purchasing lottery tickets.

Gambling can, and does, also take many illegal forms. Illegal gambling is gambling that happens outside of government regulations. For example: placing a bet with a bookie on a professional sporting event. This gambling is illegal at any age.

For more information, see: Alberta Liquor and Gaming Commission > Minors Awareness Campaign for Lottery Tickets from the list of links below.

Last Reviewed: November 2010

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