Due to the high volume of traffic on provincial highways, we encourage you to first work with municipal officials to identify municipal roadways that can support your event.

You can apply for an Encroachment Permit for special events on some parts of provincial highways. If you provide an adequate detour for traffic, the highway can be closed for up to 72 hours.

Closure of active freeways, expressways, toll highways is not permitted as these are strategic links and any closure would cause serious disruption.

Your application for the permit must be submitted three months before your event.

The permit fee is $520.00. Requests for special events on a highway need to be reviewed by a number of ministry staff. This fee offsets the cost of our review.

Your application should include:

  • A completed Encroachment Permit application form with required fee
  • An agreement for any cost-recovery if MTO or its service providers needs to be involved in any manufacturing or installation of road signs, or providing traffic control
  • Terms and amount of liability insurance
  • Written confirmation of support from emergency services (fire, ambulance, police)
  • Written confirmation of support from affected municipalities and First Nations with explicit mention of all affected roadways
  • Traffic impact study

Special events such as Royal Tours, Presidential or Papal visits, or athletic games would need much broader organization and co-ordination and would be considered on a case by case basis. Typically there's an umbrella organization to help co-ordinate any necessary road closures.

Questions and answers

  1. Why does the ministry charge a fee?
    MTO has always charged a permit fee for special events. The fee helps to offset the costs of reviewing the application and issuing a permit.
  2. Why has the ministry recently increased the fee?
    Recent fee increases are more in line with the cost of reviewing the application and issuing a permit.
  3. Does the ministry permit the closure of freeways such as Highway 401?
    No, the ministry does not allow road closures on active freeways, expressways or toll highways. Under the Highway Traffic Act, pedestrians/cyclists are not allowed on these types of highways. Any road closures or even partial closures would have a significant impact on all road users if you consider the high traffic volumes, commercial trucks and emergency services having to detour onto other roads. We work with municipalities and various groups to help identify alternate routes, generally on less travelled roads where events can be held safely with less impact on travelers.
  4. What is a traffic impact study and why is it required?
    A traffic study, depending on the type of event and location, would address various issues including:
    • Detour routes, potential delays, signing plans, public consultations, policing requirements, any changes to traffic signals, co-ordination of any active construction projects.
    • MTO may, at its discretion, waive the requirements to complete a traffic study if the anticipated impacts are minimal, or it is a recurring or annual event that we have already approved in the past as long as there are no significant changes to the event or highway traffic volumes.
  5. How can I get a copy of the complete policy or who can I contact if I require more information?
    Please send an email to traffic.office@ontario.ca or contact your regional MTO Highway Corridor Management Office.