Question to the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Mr Leo Varadkar, TD)
To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason an Irish driving licence is not accepted in Canada; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Jerry Buttimer.
For WRITTEN answer on Thursday, 11th July, 2013.
Irish driver licensing law operates within the framework of EU law. As a result we have reciprocal relationships for exchange of driving licences with other EU Member States. We also have exchange relationships agreed on a bilateral basis with a number of other jurisdictions. These are reached only after considerable study and comparison of the two licensing regimes shows that they are compatible. On the Irish side, this task is undertaken by the Road Safety Authority (RSA).
We do not currently have such an arrangement with Canada, but I am keen to make progress in this area. Ideally, we prefer to conclude such agreements at a national level. However, Canada issues licences at provincial level. We have decided to prioritise arrangements with provinces with concentrations of Irish emigrants. Following contacts between our Embassy in Ottawa and the provincial authorities in Canada, it was decided to prioritise Ontario as it is now home to a large community of Irish people.
I understand from the RSA that a considerable amount of work has now been done both by them and by the authorities in Ontario, although they have yet to conclude what is a very detailed project of study and comparison of the two licensing systems. In the meantime, the RSA has also begun a similar process with the provinces of Alberta, Newfoundland, Manitoba and Labrador. Although engagement has only recently started with Alberta, the authorities there have allowed a concession by accepting Irish licences and granting holders an exemption against waiting time within their own graduated driving licence (GDL) system.