Ministry of Transportation of Ontario

The Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) is the provincial ministry of the Government of Ontario that 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 in 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 Highways of Ontario (DHO) on April 1, 1937. In 1971, the Department of Highways took on responsibility for Communications and in 1972 was reorganized as the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MTC), which then became the Ministry of Transportation in 1987.

Ministry of Transportation
Ministère des transports  (French)
Mto crest
Mto ontario logo
Ministry overview
Preceding Ministry
  • Ministry of Transportation and Communications
JurisdictionGovernment of Ontario
Headquarters77 Wellesley Street West
Toronto, Ontario
Ministers responsible
  • Jeff Yurek, Minister of Transportation
  • Kinga Surma, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Transportation
Deputy Minister responsible
  • Scott Thompson, Deputy Minister of Transportation


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

The MTO is responsible for:


The earliest Ontario government office responsible for roads and transportation was the position of the Provincial Instructor in Road-Making, first appointed in 1896 and attached to the Ontario Department of Agriculture. A.W. Campbell held the position of Provincial Instructor in Road-Making and later Commissioner of Highways from 1896 until 1910. He was tasked with training Provincial Road Building Instructors. These instructors worked to establish specifications for the almost 90,000 kilometres (56,000 mi) of county- and township- maintained roads.

The name of the office was changed to the Commissioner of Highways and transferred to the Ontario Department of Public Works in 1900. By 1910, the office was generally referred to as the Highways Branch. In 1910, W.A. McLean, Provincial Engineer of Highways, succeeded A.W. Campbell as the director of the Highways Branch.

Under considerable pressure from the Ontario Good Roads Association and the ever-increasing number of drivers, which the province itself licensed at that time, the Department of Public Highways was formed in 1916 with the goal of creating a provincial highway network.[1] The department assumed all the functions of the Highways Branch. The department assumed its first highway, the Provincial Highway, on August 21, 1917.[2] On February 20, 1920, the department assumed several hundred kilometres of new highways, formally establishing the provincial highway system. Although established as a separate department, the Department of Public Highways shared ministers with the Department of Public Works prior to 1931 and seems to have been in a quasi-subordinate relationship with this department.

In 1916, the Motor Vehicles Branch was established within the Ontario Department of Public Highways. Prior to this, responsibility for the registering and licensing of motor vehicles rested with the Provincial Secretary (a responsibility it held since 1903). Although there are references to motor vehicle licensing and registration between 1916 and 1918, there is no mention in the Annual Reports of what agency actually performed this function; it is, however, likely that it was a form of, or precursor to, the Motor Vehicles Branch. In 1919, a Registrar of Motor Vehicles, as head of the Motor Vehicles Branch, is clearly identified.

In 1917, the Provincial Highway Act was passed, giving the department authority to maintain and construct leading roads throughout the province as provincial highways (designated King's highways in 1930). The Department of Public Highways was renamed the Department of Highways in 1931 and was assigned its own minister, Leopold Macaulay, though Macaulay later held both portfolios in 1934.

In 1937, the Department of Northern Development, previously responsible for highways in the northern parts of the province, was merged into the Department of Highways, thus bringing all highway work in the province under one administration.

On July 1, 1957, legislation was passed which established a separate Department of Transport, and the Motor Vehicles Branch was transferred to this new department. The new department assumed responsibilities for vehicle licensing, vehicle inspection, driver examination, driver licensing and improvement, traffic engineering, accident claims, and highway safety. In addition, it was responsible for the Ontario Highway Transport Board.

In May 1971, the Department of Transport and the Department of Highways were amalgamated to form the Department of Transportation and Communications. The new department was presided over by the Charles MacNaughton, who had been both the Minister of Highways and the Minister of Transport prior to the amalgamation. The department was renamed the Ministry of Transportation and Communications in 1972 as part of a government wide reorganization.

In September 1987, the responsibilities for communications were transferred to the Ministry of Culture and Communications, and the ministry was renamed the Ministry of Transportation.

List of Ministers

Name Term of office Tenure Political party
Minister of Public Works and Highways
Findlay G. MacDiarmid April 8, 1915 November 14, 1919 4 years, 220 days Conservative
Frank Campbell Biggs November 14, 1919 July 16, 1923 3 years, 244 days United Farmers
George Stewart Henry July 16, 1923 September 16, 1930 8 years, 15 days Conservative
Minister of Highways
George Stewart Henry September 16, 1930 December 15, 1930
December 15, 1930 July 31, 1931 Conservative
While Premier
Leopold Macaulay July 31, 1931 July 10, 1934 2 years, 344 days Concurrently Minister of Public Works (January 12, 1934 – July 10, 1934)
Thomas McQuesten July 10, 1934 October 21, 1942 9 years, 38 days Liberal
Concurrently Minister of Public Works, Minister of Northern Development (from October 12, 1937)
October 21, 1942 May 18, 1943 Liberal
May 18, 1943 August 17, 1943 Liberal
George Doucett August 17, 1943 October 19, 1948 11 years, 141 days PC
Concurrently Minister of Public Works (August 17, 1943 – October 2, 1951)
October 19, 1948 May 4, 1949 PC
May 4, 1949 January 5, 1955 PC
James N. Allan January 5, 1955 April 28, 1958 3 years, 113 days Named Minister of Transport, a new position, on June 26, 1957.
Fred Cass April 28, 1958 November 8, 1961 3 years, 194 days Separate Ministers of Transport held office during this time:
Matthew Dymond (April 28 to December 22, 1958)
John Yaremko (December 22, 1958 to November 21, 1960)
Leslie Rowntree (November 21, 1960 to October 25, 1962)
James Auld (October 25, 1962 to August 14, 1963)
Irwin Haskett (August 14, 1963 to March 1, 1971)
William Arthur Goodfellow November 8, 1961 October 25, 1962 351 days PC
Charles MacNaughton October 25, 1962 November 24, 1966 4 years, 30 days
(first instance)
George Gomme November 24, 1966 March 1, 1971 4 years, 97 days
Charles MacNaughton March 1, 1971 May 28, 1971 338 days
(second instance)
5 years, 3 days in totoal
Concurrently Minister of Transport
Minister of Transportation and Communications
Charles MacNaughton May 28, 1971 February 2, 1972
Gordon Carton February 2, 1972 February 26, 1974 2 years, 24 days
John Rhodes February 26, 1974 October 7, 1975 1 year, 223 days
James W. Snow October 7, 1975 February 8, 1985 9 years, 124 days
George McCague February 8, 1985 June 26, 1985 138 days PC
Ed Fulton June 26, 1985 September 29, 1987 4 years, 37 days Liberal
Minister of Transportation
Ed Fulton September 29, 1987 August 2, 1989
Bill Wrye August 2, 1989 October 1, 1990 1 year, 60 days
Ed Philip October 1, 1990 July 31, 1991 303 days NDP
Gilles Pouliot July 31, 1991 October 21, 1994 3 years, 82 days
Mike Farnan October 21, 1994 June 26, 1995 248 days
Al Palladini June 26, 1995 October 10, 1997 2 years, 106 days PC
Tony Clement October 10, 1997 June 17, 1999 1 year, 250 days
David Turnbull June 17, 1999 February 7, 2001 1 year, 235 days
Brad Clark February 8, 2001 April 14, 2002 1 year, 65 days
Norm Sterling April 15, 2002 February 25, 2003 316 days PC
Frank Klees February 25, 2003 October 22, 2003 239 days
Harinder Takhar October 23, 2003 May 23, 2006 2 years, 212 days Liberal
Donna Cansfield May 23, 2006 October 30, 2007 1 year, 160 days
Jim Bradley October 30, 2007 January 18, 2010 2 years, 80 days
Kathleen Wynne January 18, 2010 October 20, 2011 1 year, 275 days
Bob Chiarelli October 20, 2011 February 11, 2013 1 year, 114 days Concurrently Minister of Infrastructure
Glen Murray February 11, 2013 June 24, 2014 1 year, 133 days Liberal
Concurrently Minister of Infrastructure
Steven Del Duca June 24, 2014 January 17, 2018 3 years, 207 days
Kathryn McGarry January 17, 2018 June 29, 2018 163 days
John Yakabuski June 29, 2018 November 5, 2018 129 days PC
Jeff Yurek November 5, 2018 incumbent 169 days

Road maintenance

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:

  • 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

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.


St. Catharines Ministry of Transportation of Ontario
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


  1. ^ "The Ministry of Transportation 1916-2016: A history". Archived from the original on 2017-10-05.
  2. ^ Shragge & Bagnato 1984, p. 73.


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

External links

400-series highways

The 400-series highways are a network of controlled-access highways throughout the southern portion of the Canadian province of Ontario, forming a special subset of the provincial highway system. They are analogous to the Interstate Highway System in the United States or the Autoroute system of neighbouring Quebec, but under provincial jurisdiction and regulated by the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO). Although Ontario had been constructing divided highways for two decades prior, 400-series designations were introduced in 1952. Initially only Highways 400, 401 and 402 were numbered; other designations followed in the subsequent decades.

Modern 400-series highways have high design standards, speed limits of 100 kilometres per hour (62 mph), and various collision avoidance and traffic management systems. The design of 400-series highways has set the precedent for a number of innovations used throughout North America, including the parclo interchange and a modified Jersey barrier design known as the Ontario Tall Wall. As a result, they currently experience the lowest accident and fatality rate comparative to traffic volume in North America.

List of secondary highways in Algoma District

This is a list of secondary highways in Algoma District, most of which serve as logging roads or provide access to isolated and sparsely populated areas in the Algoma District of northeastern Ontario. Some of the shorter ones are also access routes for communities with moderate amounts of tourism, most famously St. Joseph Island's highway 548

List of secondary highways in Nipissing District

This is a list of secondary highways in Nipissing District, many of which serve as logging roads or provide access to Algonquin Park and sparsely populated areas in the Nipissing District of northeastern Ontario.

List of secondary highways in Parry Sound District

This is a list of secondary highways in Parry Sound District, many of which provide access to isolated settlements and recreational properties within the Parry Sound District of Ontario.

List of secondary highways in Timiskaming District

This is a list of secondary highways in Timiskaming District, most of which serve as logging roads or provide access to the isolated and sparsely populated areas in the Timiskaming District of northeastern Ontario.

Ontario Highway 117

King's Highway 117, commonly referred to as Highway 117, was a provincially maintained highway in the Canadian province of Ontario. Two routes have been given the designation over the years, both of which have since been decommissioned. The first iteration existed in Vaughan Township between 1961 and 1970, following Bathurst Street between Steeles Avenue and Highway 7. In 1974, a second iteration of Highway 117 was assumed through Muskoka, connecting Highway 11 near Bracebridge with Highway 35 in Dorset. This route existed until 1997, when it was transferred to the District Municipality of Muskoka.

Ontario Highway 17A

King's Highway 17A, commonly referred to as Highway 17A or as the Kenora By-Pass, is an alternate route of Highway 17 around the city of Kenora, in the Canadian province of Ontario. It was built along a former Canadian Pacific Railway right-of-way, and has two westbound passing lanes in separate parts, and one eastbound passing lane.

Ontario Highway 400

King's Highway 400, commonly referred to as Highway 400, historically as the Toronto–Barrie Highway, and colloquially as the 400, is a 400-series highway in the Canadian province of Ontario linking the city of Toronto in the urban and agricultural south of the province with the scenic and sparsely populated central and northern regions. The portion of the highway between Toronto and Lake Simcoe roughly traces the route of the Toronto Carrying-Place Trail, a historic trail between the Lower and Upper Great Lakes. North of Highway 12, in combination with Highway 69, it forms a branch of the Trans-Canada Highway, the Georgian Bay Route, and is part of the highest-capacity route from southern Ontario to the Canadian West, via a connection with the mainline of the TCH in Sudbury. The highway also serves as the primary route from Toronto to southern Georgian Bay and Muskoka, areas collectively known as cottage country. The highway is patrolled by the Ontario Provincial Police and has a speed limit of 100 km/h (62 mph), except for the section south of the 401, where the speed limit is 80 km/h (50 mph).

Highway 400 is the second longest freeway in the province, the trans-provincial Highway 401 being the longest. It was the first fully controlled-access highway in Ontario when it was opened between North York and Barrie on July 1, 1952. On that date, it was also the first highway to be designated as a 400-series. The freeway was extended in both directions; north of Barrie to Coldwater in 1958, and south of Highway 401 to Jane Street in 1966. It was widened between North York and Barrie in the 1970s. Since 1977, construction on the freeway has been snaking north along Highway 69 towards Parry Sound and Sudbury.

As of 2011, a four lane freeway is opened as far north as Carling; at that point, the four lanes narrow into two and continue northerly to Sudbury as Highway 69. At the north end of Highway 69, a segment of freeway is in operation between north of the French River and Sudbury; while this section will be part of the completed Highway 400 route, at present it remains signed as Highway 69. The remaining gap between Carling and north of the French River will be opened in stages and is expected to be completed by 2021.

Ontario Highway 404

King's Highway 404 (pronounced "four-oh-four"), also known as Highway 404 and colloquially as the 404, is a 400-series highway in the Canadian province of Ontario connecting Highway 401 and the Don Valley Parkway (DVP) in Toronto with East Gwillimbury. The 50.1-kilometre (31.1 mi) controlled-access highway also connects with Highway 407 in Markham. Highway 404 provides access to the eastern edge of Richmond Hill, Aurora and Newmarket and the western edge of Whitchurch-Stouffville, in addition to the southern edge of Keswick.

Construction on the freeway began soon after the completion of the Don Valley Parkway, with the first section south of Steeles Avenue opening in 1977. Over the next twelve years, the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) undertook a continuous construction program to build the freeway to Davis Drive in Newmarket. This was completed on 24 October 1989. The route has undergone a periodic series of smaller extensions and widening in the years since, now travelling a further 15.5 km (9.6 mi) north to Woodbine Avenue near Ravenshoe Road in the town of East Gwillimbury. Future proposals may one day result in an extension to southeast of Beaverton.

Highway 404 is one of several freeways in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) with High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes; the southbound lane was one of the initial projects in the province and opened on 13 December 2005. The northbound lane opened on 23 July 2007.

Ontario Highway 416

King's Highway 416, commonly referred to as Highway 416 and as the Veterans Memorial Highway, is a 400-series highway in the Canadian province of Ontario that connects the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 417) in Ottawa with Highway 401 between Brockville and Cornwall. The 76.4-kilometre-long (47.5 mi) freeway acts as an important trade corridor from Interstate 81 between New York and Eastern Ontario via Highway 401, as well as the fastest link between Ottawa and Toronto. Highway 416 passes through a largely rural area, except near its northern terminus where it enters the suburbs of Ottawa. The freeway also serves several communities along its length, notably Spencerville and Kemptville.

Highway 416 had two distinct construction phases. Highway 416 "North" was the 21-kilometre (13 mi) segment starting from an interchange at Highway 417 and bypassing the original route of Highway 16 into Ottawa (now Prince of Wales Drive) along a new right-of-way. Highway 416 "South" was the twinning of 57 kilometres (35 mi) of Highway 16 New—a two-lane expressway constructed throughout the 1970s and finished in 1983 that bypassed the original highway—and the construction of a new interchange with Highway 401. Sections of both opened throughout the late 1990s. Highway 416 was commemorated as the Veterans Memorial Highway on the 54th anniversary of D-Day in 1998. The final link was officially opened by a World War I veteran and local officials on September 23, 1999.

Ontario Highway 49

King's Highway 49, commonly referred to as Highway 49, is a provincially maintained highway in the Canadian province of Ontario. The 5.8-kilometre (3.6 mi) highway travels from the Quinte Skyway to the northern boundary of the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory south of Marysville. Most of the highway is situated within the Tyendinaga reserve.

Ontario Highway 58

King's Highway 58, commonly referred to as Highway 58, is a provincially maintained highway in the Canadian province of Ontario. The route is divided into two segments with a combined length of 15.5 km (9.6 mi). The southern segment travels from Niagara Regional Road 3, formerly Highway 3, in Port Colborne, to the Highway 58A junction in the southern end of Welland, a distance of 7.2 km (4.5 mi). The northern segment begins at Highway 20 near Allanburg and travels north and west to a large junction with Highway 406 at the St. Catharines – Thorold boundary, a distance of 8.3 km (5.2 mi). An 18.1 km (11.2 mi) gap separates the two segments within Welland and Pelham. The entire route is located within the Regional Municipality of Niagara.

The history of Highway 58 is tumultuous due to various relocation projects resulting from the construction of the fourth Welland Canal and Highway 406. Prior to 1997, Highway 58 was continuous and travelled through the west side of Welland, maintained under a Connecting Link agreement. The route was first established in 1935, though it remained unnumbered on the 1935 and 1936 official road maps. By 1937 it extended from Port Colborne to St. Catharines, though the route it travelled between those places shifted several times over the following 30 years. In the late 1990s, the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) transferred several highways or portions of highways throughout the province to lower levels of government. Highway 58 was decommissioned through Welland on April 1, 1997.

Ontario Highway 618

Secondary Highway 618, commonly referred to as Highway 618, is a provincially maintained secondary highway in the Canadian province of Ontario. It connects Olsen Mine and Madsen with the northern terminus of Highway 105 in the town of Red Lake. The 11.7-kilometre (7.3 mi) route was established in 1956, and has remained the same since then. It passes through a remote forested area, and encounters no communities of any significance outside of Red Lake. The route was assumed by the Department of Highways, predecessor to today's Ministry of Transportation of Ontario, in 1956, along with many other secondary highways in Ontario. The route has remained unchanged since then.

Ontario Highway 672

Secondary Highway 672, commonly referred to as Highway 672, is a provincially maintained secondary highway in the Canadian province of Ontario. The 47.6-kilometre (29.6 mi) route lies within Timiskaming and Cochrane district, connecting Highway 66 — part of the Trans-Canada Highway — in the south with Highway 101 in the north. It is the only highway to provide access to Esker Lakes Provincial Park. Though the highway was first assumed by the province in 1990, the existing road had been built north from Highway 66 to the provincial park in 1977 and extended to Highway 101 in the late 1980s.

Ontario Highway 73

King's Highway 73, commonly referred to as Highway 73, was a provincially maintained highway in the Canadian province of Ontario. The route began in Port Bruce and progressed north through Aylmer, encountering Highway 401 immediately before terminating east of Dorchester. The route was established in mid-1937, remaining unchanged for nearly six decades before being transferred to Elgin County and Middlesex County in 1997 and 1998. Today the route is known as Elgin County Road 73 and Middlesex County Road 73.

Ontario Highway 802

Tertiary Highway 802, commonly referred to as Highway 802, is a provincially maintained access road in the Canadian province of Ontario, located in Thunder Bay District.

Ontario Highway 805

Tertiary Highway 805, commonly referred to as Highway 805, is a provincially maintained access road, located within the Nipissing District. A northerly extension of Highway 539A, the road extends for approximately 40 kilometres (25 mi) to Obabika Lake, providing road access to the Chiniguchi Waterway, Obabika River and Sturgeon River provincial parks.

Ontario Highway 95

King's Highway 95, commonly referred to as Highway 95, was a provincially maintained highway in the Canadian province of Ontario on Wolfe Island. Together with Highway 96, the highways were the only King's Highways not connected to the rest of the network by a fixed link. At its southern end, the route connected to New York State Route 12E via the private and seasonal Horne's Ferry. At its northern end, the route connected with Highway 96 in Marysville a short distance west of the Wolfe Islander III ferry to Kingston. Today, it is known as Frontenac County Road 95.

Ontario Highway 96

King's Highway 96, commonly referred to as Highway 96, was a provincially maintained highway in the Canadian province of Ontario on Wolfe Island and the main street of Marysville, the island's main village. Together with Highway 95, the routes were the only King's Highway not connected to the rest of the network by a fixed link. Today it is known as Frontenac County Road 96.

Ontario Government of Ontario departments and agencies
Boards and commissions
Other Crown agencies
and corporations
Provincial services
Offices of the Legislature
Provincial and Territorial ministries of transport in Canada

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