Ministry of Transportation of Ontario

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Ministry of Transportation of Ontario
Ministère des transports  (French)
Ministry of Transportation of Ontario.png
Agency overview
Formed 1916
Preceding agencies
  • Ministry of Transportation and Communications
  • Ministry of Highways
  • Department of Highways
  • Department of Public Highways
Jurisdiction Government of Ontario
Headquarters 301 St. Paul Street
St. Catharines
1201 Wilson Avenue
77 Wellesley Street West
Agency executives
  • John Yakabuski, Minister of Transportation
  • Stephen Rhodes, Deputy Minister of Transportation
  • Kinga Surma, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Transportation
Parent agency Government of Ontario

The Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) is the provincial ministry of the government of Ontario which is responsible for transport infrastructure and related law in Ontario. The ministry traces its roots back over a century to the 1890s, when the province began training Provincial Road Building Instructors. In 1916, the Department of Public Highways of Ontario (DPHO) was formed and tasked with establishing a network of provincial highways. The first was designated on 1918, and by the summer of 1925, sixteen highways were numbered. In the mid-1920s, a new Department of Northern Development (DND) was created to manage infrastructure improvements in northern Ontario; it merged with the Department of Highway of Ontario DHO on April 1, 1937. In 1971, the Department of Highways took on responsibilities for Communication and in 1972 was reorganized as the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MTC), which then became the Ministry of Transportation in 1987.

The ministry is in charge of various aspects of transportation in Ontario, including the establishment and maintenance of the provincial highway system, the licensing and training of vehicles and drivers, and the policing of provincial roads, enforced by the Ontario Provincial Police.

The MTO is responsible for:

  • 10.4 million registered vehicles
  • 8.5 million drivers
  • 55 driver examination centres & 37 travel points (both operated by Plenary Serco (PS) DES, as DriveTest Centres)
  • 281 privately owned Driver and Vehicle Licence Issuing Offices across the province
  • Metrolinx (responsible for GO Transit, Union Pearson Express, and Presto card)
  • 16525 kilometres of provincial highway
  • ServiceOntario kiosks


The province began training Provincial Road Building Instructors in 1896. These instructors worked to establish specifications for the almost 90,000 kilometres (56,000 mi) of county- and township- maintained roads. That same year, the Ontario Good Roads Association was formed. Under considerable pressure from the Good Roads Association and the ever-increasing number of drivers, which the province itself licensed at that time, the Department of Public Highways Ontario (DPHO) was formed on January 17, 1916 with the goal of creating a provincial highway network[1]. The DPHO assumed its first highway, the Provincial Highway on August 21, 1917.[2] On February 20, 1920, the DPHO assumed several hundred kilometres of new highways, formally establishing the Provincial Highway System.

The organization's name has changed several times since 1919:[3][4]

Period Name Minister
1916–1930 Department of Public Highways (DPHO)
1930–1971 Department of Highways (DHO)
1971–1972 Department of Transportation and Communications (DTC)
1972–1987 Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MTC)
1987 to present Ministry of Transportation (MTO)

Road maintenance[edit]

The Parclo interchange was invented by the Ministry of Transportation

Maintenance work is performed in two different ways:

  1. In Maintenance Outsource areas, where MTO staff monitor the road conditions and hire contractors on an as-need basis.
  2. In Area Maintenance Contract areas, where one contractor is awarded a contract area and performs all maintenance work except for rehabilitation and new construction.

A list of Area Maintenance contractors currently under contract with the MTO include:[citation needed]

  • TWD Roads Management
  • Transfield Services
  • IMOS (Maintenance performed by Miller Maintenance)
  • Belanger Contracting
  • Pioneer Construction
  • Steed and Evans
  • Cruickshank Construction Limited
  • The 407 ETR Concession Company operates and maintains the stretch of Highway 407 from Burlington to Brougham under a lease from the Government of Ontario until the year 2098

Area term contracts (ATCs) are the latest maintenance and construction alternative being reviewed by the MTO. ATCs, if they are approved for tender, will cover all maintenance operations now performed by AMC contractors, but will also include annual pavement maintenance and replacement work, bridge rehabilitation, minor capital construction programs and corridor management.

Highway Carrier Safety and Enforcement[edit]

While policing on most MTO-managed roads is provided by the Ontario Provincial Police, certain law enforcement functions are provided by MTO Transportation Enforcement Officers and Ministry of Environment Emissions Enforcement Officers.

Ministry of Transportation Enforcement Officers (TEOs) enforce a variety of provincial highway safety legislation specific to operators of commercial vehicles. Driver hours of service, cargo securement, dangerous goods transportation, weights and dimensions, and vehicle maintenance and roadworthiness are the predominant focus of TEO inspection activities. Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act, its regulations, the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act, and the Dangerous Goods Transportation Act are core pieces of legislation from which TEOs derive their enforcement authorities. TEOs conduct commercial vehicle inspections using a standardized procedure established by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA).

Transportation Enforcement Officers inspect commercial vehicles, their loads, and driver’s qualifications and documentation. They collect evidence, issue provincial offence notices or summons to court for violations, and testify in court.

Transportation Enforcement Officer deployment ranges from highway patrol and Truck Inspection Station (TIS) duties, audits of commercial vehicle operators, inspection and monitoring of bus and motor-coach operators, and the licensing and monitoring of Motor Vehicle Inspection Stations. Blitz-style joint force operations are periodically conducted in concert with provincial and municipal police.

Although many Transportation Enforcement Officers are licensed vehicle mechanics, most are not. TEOs hail from various backgrounds including driver licensing examination, automobile repair, commercial truck driving and other law enforcement agencies.


Ministry of Transportation Headquarters in St. Catharines

MTO's headquarters are located on three campuses:

There are five regional offices:

Area offices are located in:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Ministry of Transportation 1916-2016: A history". Archived from the original on 2017-10-05. 
  2. ^ Shragge & Bagnato 1984, p. 73.
  3. ^ "Map changes". Archived from the original on 2013-10-20. 
  4. ^ "The Ministry of Transportation 1916-2016: A history". Archived from the original on 2017-10-05. 
  5. ^ "Ontario's Ministry of Transportation turns 100". Archived from the original on 2017-10-05. 


  • Shragge, John; Bagnato, Sharon (1984). From Footpaths to Freeways. Ontario Ministry of Transportation and Communications, Historical Committee. ISBN 0-7743-9388-2. 

External links[edit]