Whether you’re a beginner looking for basic training or an experienced rider wanting to improve your skills, it’s important to look for a motorcycle training school that meets the rigorous standards of Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation (MTO). This ensures that you are getting the best and latest information, will be equipped to pass any licensing tests, and will qualify for any insurance discounts that may apply. See a full list of MTO-approved schools below.
Licensing for motorcycles
Ontario has a graduated licensing program for motorcycles that mirrors the one for personal use cars and trucks. All riders must go through the M1 and M2 levels before testing for a full M class licence. For bikes there are also conditional licences as follows:
- M with condition L allows you to ridelimited-speed motorcycles (scooters or mopeds up to 50 ccs)
- M with condition M allows you to ride three-wheeled motorcycles (Spyders)
If you do your riding test with a full-sized bike, you’ll get an unconditional M licence that qualifies you to ride any bike or trike.
Demand for training is up
Canadians love their motorcycles, now more than ever. The pandemic led to a spike in new riders and an increased need for new rider training.
“Since COVID, we’ve definitely seen an increase in demand,” says Stephen Keith, Program Manager and Senior Instructor with Rider Training Institute (RTI). “Lots of people are working at home, looking for recreation, and maybe because of gas prices more people seem to be riding as a mode of transportation.”
Keith has also seen a difference in the make-up of the classes: ”We see more and more women and younger people coming in, especially for the M1 course.”
What kind of courses are available?
Most of the motorcycle training courses offered in Ontario cater to new riders. The two most common are the M1 exit and M2 exit courses. To be MTO-approved, these courses must have certain common elements. Some schools use a standard program developed by the Canada Safety Council, while others like RTI have their own curriculum, but follow ministry guidelines.
“Motorcycle training is part of MTO’s driver certification program (DCP),” says Keith. “The DCP outlines the standard information that needs to be covered, including emergency situations etc., and a set number of hours for theory and for practical instruction.”
All schools have slightly different names for their courses, but these are the standard offerings:
(Note that prices shown below do not include HST. Some schools offer package deals if you take more than one course. Discounts may also be offered for seniors and if you retake the same course. Most classes operate rain or shine, so don’t expect a refund if the weather is lousy.)
Intro to riding
Intro courses are meant to give a sense of what it’s like to ride a motorcycle, so you can decide if it’s for you or not. You don’t need even an M1 licence, and a bike and safety gear will usually be provided. The course usually lasts 3 hours and is in a parking lot. There’s no test at the end and you won’t receive a licence. The cost is between $80 and $200.
M1 exit / Basic
As the name suggests, this is a course for riders who already have their M1 licence and want to graduate to their M2. You will need to show your valid M1 to take the course, which is typically 18-19 hours over 2-4 days, including 3 hours in the classroom, and lots of time on a bike (in a parking lot).
The bike is usually provided, and some schools offer safety gear as well. You won’t be allowed to ride without proper gear, so make sure to ask. At the end of the course, the same instructors will administer your M2 test.
Price ranges from $460 to $900 (most are under $600). A retest for your M2 licence is available if you don’t pass the first time, but an additional fee may apply depending on the school.
This course is for riders who have already accumulated the necessary M2 experience to test for their full M licence (either 18 or 22 months depending on whether you took an M1 exit course). The course is 10-12 hours over 2 days, usually consisting of 3 hours in class and the rest of the time on the road, with the M test at the end.
You’ll need your own bike and safety gear.
The cost ranges from $425 to$500. A retest for your M licence is available if you don’t pass the first time, but an additional fee may apply depending on the school.
Experienced rider / Advanced / Refresher
These courses are refreshers for riders with their M2 or M licence and at least one season of riding experience. M2 riders might want to refresh their skills if they haven’t ridden in a while. Some riders take a refresher after upgrading to a larger bike.
Some experienced rider classes teach more advanced skills, but always with a focus on safety.
Courses usually involve 5-8 hours on the bike. You must have an M2 or M licence and your own bike and safety gear. Cost ranges from $80 to $400 (most are under $250).
Some of the schools listed below also offer training and testing for:
- Three-wheel motorcycles
- Limited-speed motorcycles (scooters/mopeds)
- Motorcycle maintenance and care
Some may also offer women-only classes. Contact a school near you for more information.
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What are the prerequisites to take a class?
To register for any of the above courses, you must be at least 16 years of age. You’ll be required to sign a waiver before the course begins, and if you’re under 18, your parents will have to sign a permission form as well. It’s important to confirm before the course starts if you need to provide your own bike and/or safety gear.
Where can I find an approved course near me?
Below is a list of MTO-accredited motorcycle riding schools across Ontario, sorted by region. Many offer the M1 to M2 and the M2 to M courses. Intro courses and experienced rider training are only offered at a handful of schools.
All of the M1 exit and M2 exit courses listed below include testing for your next licensing level, and a retest if necessary. An additional fee may apply. Note that although the schools administer the tests, you will need to go to an MTO DriveTest centre to update your licence after you pass.
|Region||Schools||Intro||M1 exit||M2 exit||Experienced rider|
|GTA||Aurora, Georgian College||X|
|Bowmanville, Rider Training Institute||X|
|Brampton, Learning Curves||X|
|Brampton, Rider Training Institute||X|
|Markham, Learning Curves||X||X|
|Markham, Rider Training Institute||X|
|Newmarket, Rider Training Institute||X|
|Oakville, Rider Training Institute||X||X|
|Oshawa, Learning Curves||X|
|Oshawa, Rider Training Institute||X|
|Toronto East, Centennial College||X||X||X||X|
|Toronto East, Rider Training Institute||X||X||X|
|Toronto North, Rider Training Institute||X||X|
|Toronto West, Learning Curves||X||X|
|Toronto West, MTOHP||X||X|
|Toronto West, Rider Training Institute||X||X|
|Toronto, Learning Curves||X||X|
|Toronto, Rider Training Institute||X||X|
|Central Ontario||Barrie, Georgian College||X||X||X||X|
|Bracebridge, Georgian College||X||X|
|Collingwood, Georgian College||X|
|Keswick, Learning Curves||X|
|Midland, Georgian College||X|
|Orillia, Georgian College||X||X|
|Orillia, Rider Training Institute||X||X|
|Eastern Ontario||Belleville, MotorcycleCourse.com||X||X||X|
|Ottawa, Ottawa Safety Council||X||X||X||X|
|Ottawa, Rider Training Institute||X||X|
|Shannonville, Learning Curves||X|
|Smiths Falls, Learning Curves||X|
|Northern Ontario||North Bay, Canadore College||X|
|Sault Ste. Marie, Sault College||X|
|Sudbury, College Boreal||X||X|
|Sudbury, Learning Curves||X||X|
|Thunder Bay, MSTONWO||X||X|
|Timmins, College Boreal||X|
|Southwestern Ontario||Cambridge, Rider Training Institute||X|
|Guelph, Rider Training Institute||X||X|
|Hamilton, Canadian Motorcycle Association||X||X|
|Hamilton, Learning Curves||X||X|
|Hamilton, Rider Training Institute||X|
|Kitchener, Learning Curves||X|
|London, Fanshawe College||X||X||X|
|London, Learning Curves||X||X|
|London, Rider Training Institute||X|
|Orangeville, Georgian College||X||X|
|Orangeville, Rider Training Institute||X|
|Owen Sound, Georgian College||X||X|
|Sarnia, Learning Curves||X||X|
|St. Catharines, Learning Curves||X|
|St. Catharines, Rider Training Institute||X||X|
|Waterloo, Rider Training Institute||X|
|Welland, Niagara College||X||X|
|Windsor, Learning Curves||X||X|
|Windsor, St. Clair College||X||X|
Choose the right school
“Ask a few questions before choosing a riding program,” says Keith. “Ask how long they’ve been around, if they offer different types of bikes and what kind of training they offer their instructors.”
Check out some of his other tips and ours for what to look for in a motorcycle school.
Insurance for your bike
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