Guide to oversize/overweight vehicles and loads
Read the guide to learn about the regulations and requirements for oversize/overweight vehicles, what permits you need, where and when you are allowed to travel and more.
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Legislation and Regulation
The sections of the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) and Regulations that prescribe the issuing of Overweight Permits are as follows:
|Highway Traffic Act
|stipulates the size of vehicles, combination of vehicles and loads permitted under the Act;
|provides the authority for permits that may be issued to move heavy vehicles, loads, objects or structures on highways in excess of the limits prescribed by Part VI and Part VII of the Act;
|provides the authority to issue special permits for vehicles or combinations of vehicles that do not comply with dimensional limits set out in section 109 or regulations; or one or more of the weight limits prescribed in Part VIII or regulations;
|sets out requirements for the carrying and production of special permits as well as offences;
|sets out procedures for the suspension of special permits;
|defines additional powers of the Registrar related to special permits;
|prescribes the requirements for flags/markers on overhanging loads;
|defines load security requirements;
|definitions pertaining to weight calculation and allowances;
|restrictions for weight on tires;
|sets the maximum allowable axle unit weights (without a special permit);
|establishes the maximum allowable axle group weights (without a special permit);
|stipulates the maximum allowable gross vehicle weights (without a special permit);
|allows vehicles to operate within permitted weight (Registered Gross Weight) (without a special permit);
|notes the highways that are subject to reduced load restrictions;
|stipulates the security of loads;
|vehicle configurations; and
|prescribes the fees payable for special permits.
The legislation is designed to provide a means by which oversize/overweight vehicles and loads may be moved over the province's highways.
Oversize/Overweight (O/O) vehicles, loads, objects or structures to be moved should be reduced to the minimum practicable size and weight.
Permits issued are subject to enforcement by a police officer or an officer appointed for the purposes of carrying out the provisions of the HTA.
Legislation and regulations are available at: E-laws
Highway Traffic Act (HTA) Weight & Dimension Limitations
An oversize/overweight permit is required when the dimensions or weight of a vehicle(s) exceeds the normal limits permitted by legislation. The following is a breakdown of the weight and dimension limitations. More information may be contained in the appropriate sections of the HTA.
Other modes of transport, such as rail, air or water, should be considered when planning a movement that exceeds the allowable limits set out in the HTA.
Maximum width: Vehicle including load - 2.6 m
- Raw forest products (en route) - 2.8 m
- Road service vehicles as defined in Part X of the HTA and such vehicles while they are travelling to and from a maintenance site or repair centre - no specified limit
- Loose fodder (including rectangular and round bales of hay) - no specified limit
Maximum Length: Single vehicle including load - 12.5 m
- A fire apparatus
- A semi-trailer
- An articulated bus
Maximum Length: Semi-trailer including load – 16.15 m (SPIF) and - 14.65 m (NON-SPIF) (Safe, Productive, Infrastructure-Friendly)
Definition of semi-trailer: A vehicle that is towed by another vehicle and is so designed and used that a substantial part of its weight and load rests on, or is carried by, the other vehicle or a trailer converter dolly through a fifth wheel assembly.
Note: Does not include any extension in length caused by auxiliary equipment or machinery not designed for carrying a load.
Maximum Length (Combination): Combination of vehicles and load - 23 m
Maximum Height: Vehicle and load - 4.15 m
Maximum weight allowances are determined using axle configurations and spacings. A permit is required if the axle and/or gross vehicle weight exceeds the limits set out in the HTA. See e-Laws: Highway Traffic Act Regulation 413/05 - Vehicle Weights and Dimensions — for safe, productive and infrastructure-friendly vehicles.
For technical questions about vehicle weights and dimensions to send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Implements of Husbandry:
Oversize/Overweight farm machinery, farm tractors, self-propelled implements of husbandry (SPIH) carried on a plated motor vehicle or plated trailer drawn by a motor vehicle are subject to the need for an oversize/overweight permit
Oversize loose fodder (hay bale) does not require a permit as per HTA 109(2).
When an Oversize/Overweight Permit is Required
The province of Ontario issues permits for oversize/overweight vehicles and/or loads when the dimensions and/or weight exceed the limits set out in the Highway Traffic Act.
Permits are issued for indivisible vehicles and/or loads when, if separated into smaller loads or vehicles, would:
- Compromise the intended use of the vehicle or load, i.e. make it unable to perform the function for which it was intended,
- Destroy the value of the load or vehicle, i.e. make it unusable for its intended purposes or,
- Require more than 8 (eight) work hours to dismantle using appropriate resources and equipment.
Permit is issued for the movement of overheight however:
The load must not be made up of articles loaded or mounted one on top of the other in a manner that will create additional height.
Permit is issued for the movement of overwidth however:
The load must not be made up of articles loaded or mounted side by side or crosswise in a manner that will create additional width.
Permit is issued for the movement of overlength however:
The load must not be made up of articles loaded or mounted one behind the other that will create additional length, and any overhang to the rear must not exceed 4.65 m from the centre of the rearmost axle.
Permit is issued for the movement of overweight however:
The load must not be made up of more than one article. When crossing bridges, vehicles over 45,000 kg gross weight must be operated at the lowest practicable speed. Bridge postings and load restrictions pursuant to Part VII of the HTA apply.
Note: An exception may be made in the case of bulldozer blades. Permits are issued for the movement of bulldozers with blades attached up to, and including, 4.27 m in width. The blade must be angled to reduce the overall width of the load when attached to the bulldozer. The blade must be removed when the blade is greater than 4.27 m in width. Bulldozers with blades attached that are 4 m to 4.27 m in width require a private escort warning vehicle.
Permit Application Process
Application forms must be completed in full and may be submitted by fax, e-mail (carrier with pre-paid account only) or mail to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) Permit Issuing Office.
Incomplete applications will be returned.
Prior to obtaining an oversize/overdimensional permit, there may be other requirements that must be met in order to travel in Ontario, e.g. CVOR, National Safety Code (NSC), etc. Contact MTO at
It is the operator's responsibility to comply with registration, fuel tax, and other federal and provincial/state regulations and procedures.
To obtain a US DOT (Department of Transportation) operating number, or an operating authority in the USA, call
To obtain municipal oversize/overweight permits, contact each municipality directly.
To register in the International Registration Plan (IRP), contact MTO program offices:
Considerations of a Permit Issuer
A permit issuer must examine many factors before granting an O/O permit:
- Is the application complete and accurate?
- What is the effect of the move on the safety and convenience of other highway users?
- What are the physical characteristics of the proposed route(s)?
- Are there any bridge restrictions?
- What are the traffic conditions likely to be?
- Are there any special events that may affect traffic?
- What time of year is the proposed move?
- What are the potential weather conditions?
- What is the distance to be travelled?
- How long will it take to complete the move?
- Where is the move to take place?
- Can the move be reasonably carried out using alternative means of transportation?
- Can the load be reduced in size or weight?
- Can travel, on roads other than King's highways, be conducted in accordance with the rules of the jurisdiction/municipality?
- Is there a Traffic Management Plan in place for exceptional moves?
The permit issuer may limit the time and particular highway(s) that may be used and may specify certain special conditions or provisions that are considered necessary to protect the safety and integrity of the highways and other road users.
The Ministry may require that a bond, or other security, sufficient to cover the cost of repairing possible damage to the highway be posted before issuing the permit.
A permit grants the movement of overweight loads on highways under provincial jurisdiction. Municipalities may accept ministry permits or issue their own for highways under their jurisdiction. The carrier must contact the appropriate municipality(ies) to ensure compliance with the local by-laws.
Types of Permits
The ministry issues four types of permits: Annual, Project, Single Trip and Special Vehicle Configuration. Each permit will have specific conditions attached and these must be strictly adhered to. The permit may be terminated for breach of any condition and the permit holder may be subject to prosecution. For more information see Permit Conditions.
Permits must be carried and produced on demand by a police officer or an officer appointed for carrying out the provisions of the Highway Traffic Act. Permit holders accept responsibility for any and all damage that may be caused to overhead wires, structures, highways, encroachments or railway right of ways. Permits may be terminated at the discretion of the Registrar of Motor Vehicles for the breach of permit conditions.
If travel on toll highways is planned, you must supply the transponder serial number and plate number(s) of the vehicle(s) planning to travel on toll highways. When applying for a single trip or project permit, you must indicate the specific entry and exit points from each toll highways when specifying your route. Annual permit holders are permitted to travel on toll highways provided that the carrier complies with the requirement for a transponder. For more information on toll highways visit their website at 407ETR.
An annual permit is valid for 12 months from the date of issue on all King's highways. The annual permit also allows travel on toll highways provided that the commercial vehicle has a valid transponder. The maximum dimensions permitted on an annual permit are as follows:
- length 12.50 m, including a maximum rear overhang of 4.65 m
- weight as per the Highway Traffic Act
- length 25 m, including a maximum rear overhang of 4.65 m
- overweight privileges may be granted up to 63,500 kg
Note: Permit requests with a rear overhang greater than 4.65 m must apply for a single trip permit and are subject to private escort warning vehicle requirements.
- 3.70 m on two lane highways and 3.85 m on multi-lane highways (standard for both single and combination vehicles)
- 4.26 m (standard for both single and combination vehicles)
Annual permit applications are normally processed within 10 to 15 business days of receipt. In order to avoid delays in obtaining an annual permit, please ensure the permit request is submitted a minimum of 30 days prior to the requested start date of the permit.
A project permit is issued to allow contractors to move similar loads, objects and structures over the same specified route for a period of up to, and including 6 months, depending on the duration of the contract.
Applicants for project permits must attach a copy of the contract to the application. The letter of contract must be written on company letterhead and include the following information:
- Name and address of the carrier
- Contract number (if available)
- Duration of the contract
- Description of the product being transported
- Origin of load and destination with complete route specified including municipal roads
Once all required documentation has been received, traffic and construction concerns will be assessed prior to the approval and issuance of a permit.
The weights and dimensions provided must be load specific. Therefore, the weights and dimensions specified on the actual permit are those of the load and not the maximum allowable limit. The maximum dimensions permitted on a project permit are as follows:
- length up to 36.75 m including a 4.65 m rear overhang
- no height limit provided that the load is on a float type trailer (heights of 4.30 m or greater require a route clearance), and
- weight up to 70,000 kg
- length 12.50 m, including a 4.65 m rear overhang
- height up to 4.26 m
- and weight as per the Highway Traffic Act
- up to 4.30 m (standard for both single and combination vehicles).
Note: escort vehicles may be required
Single Trip Permits
A single trip permit is issued to facilitate a oversize and/or overweight move for a one way trip along a specified route for a limited time period.
The following dimensions are permitted on single trip permits:
- combination vehicles greater than 23 m
- single vehicle 12.50 m
- greater than 2.60 m
- greater than 4.15 m or greater
- maximum height permitted on a flatbed trailer is 4.26 m
- up to 120,000 kg subject to Weight & Load Engineer's approval
- greater than 120,000 kg also subject to consultant engineering evaluation
- maximum length is 12.50 m, including an overhang up to 4.65 m
- maximum height is 4.26 m
Metric Conversion: Ontario measurement standards are in metric. To convert imperial measurement to metric:
- Convert measurement to inches and multiply by 0.0254, e.g.,
9'6"= (9' x 12) + 6"
= 108" + 6"
114" x 0.0254 = 2.89 metres
- Convert weight from pounds to kilograms, divide pounds by 2.205, e.g., 154,000 lbs ÷ 2.205 = 69,841 kg
Return Empty Permits
- Application for return empty permit will be issued concurrently with the corresponding loaded permit provided the following steps are taken:
- Faxed Applications: Submit loaded and empty applications together. Indicate on loaded application that the return empty application is accompanied and indicate on the empty application the loaded commodity
- PRIO Applications: Provide the return empty application number in the comment field of loaded the application number and conversely, provide the loaded application number in the comment field of the empty application number
When applying for a single trip permit, a carrier must apply at a minimum of 3 business days prior to the proposed move date but MTO suggests applying 5 days prior to the move to allow the Permit Issuing Office sufficient time to process the permit request.
When applying for a permit with exceptional width:
- From 5.0 m to 6.0 m on two lane highways; and
- From 5.0 m to 7.0 m on multi-lane highways
A carrier would require a superload permit when transporting a load with exceptional dimensions and/or weight. Dimensions that are considered a Superload are:
- Loads that are in excess of 120,000 kg, gross vehicle weight, and/or
- 5 metres in width , and/or
- 45.75 metres in length
"Superloads" are not considered to be routine applications and will require additional time for consideration and processing. Applications for "superloads" will require additional documentation and be subject to a thorough review by the Ministry of Transportation's Weight and Load Engineer as well as various senior Ministry management personnel as circumstances may warrant.
A carrier must submit their application a minimum of 5 days prior to the proposed move date due to the complex approval process. The approval process requires a minimum of 3 business days and may take up to 14 days prior to processing.
All documentation will be subjected to review and approval by MTO prior to the issuance of permits. Consideration will only be given to the move if the move can be satisfactorily proven to be absolutely necessary.
Documentation must clearly demonstrate the requirement to make the intended move on the province's highways; this is done through a Project Justification. The Project Justification would normally include, but is not limited to the following:
- Alternate means of transportation (e.g. rail, water, or possibly air) must have been thoroughly investigated and documentation outlining why these methods are not being pursued is to be provided.
- Detailed description of the load including engineering drawing where applicable - illustrating the construction of the item and indicating why the item cannot be reduced in size or weight.
- Detailed description of the project, the item is intended for, including - construction schedule, consequences of late delivery, economic benefits associated with the project.
Based on the Project Justification documents submitted, the ministry will consider the necessity of permitting the move. Upon satisfactory justification of the project, the applicant will need to provide:
For gross vehicle weights in excess of 120,000 kg
The Ministry of Transportation requires the applicant to hire a designated consultant engineer to evaluate the bridges on route and submit the evaluation for approval. A list of approved bridge consulting engineers is available at the following website: Approved bridge consulting engineers with design and evaluation qualifications
A Traffic Management Plan (TMP)
A Traffic Management Plan (TMP), along with the associated permit, is a critical document for the Certified Superload Escort (CSE), load driver, other private escorts and other members of a superload move convoy. The TMP contains essential information and requirements that are important for safe and effective trip planning. Every carrier must develop a TMP that will be reviewed by the Ministry of Transportation (MTO). The approved TMP can be referred to in the permit in special cases.
The movement of a superload imposes additional responsibilities on the carrier(s) in the planning, management and execution of the operations in the field. These requirements are to be documented in the form of a TMP to be prepared by the carrier(s) for each route and load type to be moved under the project.
Prior to the development of the TMPs, it is recommended that the carrier complete a physical route analysis to identify specific locations where the CSE will have to assist with traffic control. During this analysis, the carrier will also select suitable emergency laydown locations in the event of inclement weather or need for overnight parking.
Within these plans, carriers must demonstrate their role as managers of the moves, who are responsible for safe and efficient operations in the field. They must identify their representative who will be responsible for execution of the TMP. This individual shall be responsible for the pre-trip meetings with the convoy team outlining all details of the moves and shall assign a lead to provide all directions and instructions to the CSE in accordance with the plan while on route.
Special Vehicle Configuration
Special Vehicle Configuration permits are issued for vehicles that vary from the requirements of the HTA and regulations. The purpose of Special Vehicle Configuration permits is to harmonize configurations, weights and dimensions applicable to a class of vehicles with those of any other jurisdiction; to allow for a trial of a vehicle; or to allow for a variance from a limit within a specific geographical area.
This guide does not specifically deal with Special Vehicle Configuration permits. For further information contact the Permit Issuing Office.
New fees will apply to any application received on or after July 12, 2019.
Oversize/overweight permit fees
|As of July 12, 2019
|Enhanced Annual Permit
|Enhanced Project Permit
|See Regulation 381/98 (Special Permits) in the Highway Traffic Act
|Single Trip Permit
|Prices vary, see below
|Prices vary, see below
|Overweight up to 120,000 kg and up to 100 km of travel on provincial highways.
|Overweight up to 120,000 kg and between 101 km and 500 km of travel on provincial highways.
|Overweight up to 120,000 kg and over 500 km of travel on provincial highways.
|Overweight greater than 120,000 kg and unlimited travel distance.
|Special Vehicle Configuration Permit
|Refer to Highway Traffic Act s110.1 (10)
|Based on Permit Type Contact permit issuing office
Method of Payment:
- Credit card (VISA or MasterCard)
- All personal cheques must be certified unless payment is sent by mail
- MTO Pre-paid account
Night moves are allowed for all permit types with certain restrictions provided that all conspicuity requirements are met.
Criteria 1: Overlength/Overwidth
Night moves are allowed for vehicles and loads up to, and including, 3.05 m wide and 25 m long.
Night moves are restricted to multi-lane controlled access highways with a median. The lane width on these types of highways is 3.75 m.
Criteria 2: Overheight/Overweight
Night moves are allowed for vehicles and loads up to, and including, 4.26 m high and 63,500 kg.
All King's highways.
Conditions for Both Criteria
Conspicuity requirements must be met during a night move. These requirements consist of the extremities being marked with a solid amber lamp(s) visible in the front and rear, conforming to SAE Code P2 or P3 with markings to appear on the lamp(s), and a retro-reflective "D" sign must be present.
Night moves are restricted when inclement weather conditions prevail. Inclement weather is described as the following:
No travel is allowed when road conditions, weather conditions, or visibility make travelling hazardous to the operator or to the driving public if the roadway is: Partly Snow Covered, Fully Snow Covered, Snow Packed, Icy, or there is a Road Closure or Reduced Visibility (i.e. visibility is 500 m or less) . These conditions align with the Winter Road Conditions posted and defined on the MTO website. Click on the “Travel” tab at: MTO website or callMTO's automated service at
Travel is also not allowed at anytime at night throughout the year if continuous use of windshield wipers is required.
If any of these conditions are encountered en route, the operator must proceed to the nearest rest/emergency stop or point off the travelled portion of the highway considered to be sufficiently removed from traffic so as not to constitute a hazard, or as directed by a police officer or other officer designated under the HTA.
Statutory Holiday Moves
Oversize/overweight moves are allowed for all permit types on statutory holidays, and the preceding day of a statutory holiday, with restrictions.
- New Year's Day
- Family Day
- Good Friday (Easter)
- Victoria Day
- Canada Day
- August Civic Holiday
- Labour Day
- Christmas Day
- Boxing Day
Oversize/overweight moves are allowed between ½ hr before sunrise and noon on a statutory holiday for dimensions that do not exceed:
- width of 3.70 m on two lane highways and 3.85 m on multi-lane highways
- length no greater than 25 m for combination vehicles and 12.50 m for single vehicles
- height maximum of 4.26 m
- weight no greater than 63,500 kg.
Movement of vehicles and/or loads in excess of the dimensions listed above, is not permitted to travel on a statutory holiday.
Preceding day means the day before a statutory holiday restriction.
Oversize/overweight moves are allowed all day on the preceding day of a statutory holiday for dimensions that do not exceed the following dimensions:
- width of 3.70 m on two lane highways and 3.85 m on multi-lane highways
- length no greater than 25 m for combination vehicles and 12.50 m for single vehicles
- height maximum 4.26 m
- weight no greater than 63,500 kg.
Vehicles and/or loads in excess of the dimensions listed above are only allowed to travel between ½ hour before sunrise and noon on the preceding day of a statutory holiday.
Weekend moves are allowed for all permit types with certain restrictions on dimensions. Weekend moves also have restrictions during summer months.
Saturdays and Sundays:
Oversize/overweight moves are allowed all day Saturday and Sunday for dimensions that do not exceed the following dimensions:
- width of 4.99 m
- length no greater than 45.75 m for combination vehicles and 12. 5 m for single vehicles
- weight as required by the weight and load engineer.
Sunday Restrictions in Summer Months
Sunday travel is not permitted between noon and midnight during the restricted summer months of June, July, August (Southern Ontario) and July and August (Northern Ontario) for any overweight vehicles and/or loads.
Oversize/overweight moves are allowed all day for all dimensions except during summer restrictions.
Friday Restrictions in Summer Months
Travel is not permitted between 3:00 pm and midnight during the restricted summers months of June, July, August (Southern Ontario) and July and August (Northern Ontario).
Travel between 3:00 pm and midnight on Fridays during summer restrictions may be permitted for vehicles and/or loads with heights up to, and including, 4.26 m and overall weight not exceeding 63,500 kg.
Long Wheelbase Tractors
Ontario Regulation 413/05 have reaffirmed Ontario’s preference in restricting the wheelbase of tractor units to the 6.20 metre national standard. The wheelbase dimension is measured from the centre of the steer axle to the centre of the drive axle group (typically the middle of the drive axles). Carriers specialized in the transportation of oversize/overweight (O/O) indivisible loads will frequently operate overlength tractors to accommodate additional axles, heavier duty suspensions, and/or sliding fifth wheel assemblies for proper weight distribution. These requirements are generally acknowledged by our Ministry, and these carriers are routinely authorized to operate this fleet of specialized vehicles for routine “permitted” transportation of lighter O/O loads. This accommodation, however, is not intended to inadvertently authorize operation of overlength tractors equipped with large sleeper berths or living quarters, frequently utilized in other jurisdictions.
Permit issuing staff have been instructed to verify tractor wheelbase dimensions and should they suspect that a carrier is unnecessarily utilizing an overlength tractor, they are to ask for clarification and/or support documentation defining the requirements for the overlength tractor. Rationale such as on-board generators are frequently unjustified due to their compact size and abundant availability of portable rental units suitable for most applications. Carriers should expect to provide a photograph of the combination in support of their justification.
Vehicles and/or loads travelling under a single trip or project permit are subject to a congested traffic condition when travelling in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
The condition below applies to all single trip and project permits with dimensions that exceed the following dimensions:
- width of 3.70 m on single highways, 3.85 m on multi-lane highways
- length exceeding 25 m
- height exceeding 4.26 m
- weight in excess of 63,500 kg.
This permit is not valid for vehicles travelling in the directions entering the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) between the hours of 7:00am to 9:30am and vehicles travelling in the directions exiting the GTA between the hours of 3:30pm to 6:30pm in the area described as being west of Thickson Rd (Hwy 401); south of King Road (Hwy 400) or Stouffville Road (Hwy 404); and east of Trafalgar Road (Hwy 401), Hwy 8 (Hwy403) to junction 403/407ETR/QEW (QEW).
This permit is not valid for vehicles travelling in the directions exiting the GTA between the hours of 7:00 to 9:30 am, and vehicles travelling in the directions entering the GTA between the hours of 3:30 to 6:30pm in the area described as being west of Whites Road (Hwy 401); south of King Road (Hwy 400) or Stoufville Road (Hwy 404; and east of Hwy 10 (Hwy 401) or Bronte Road (QEW).
Outlined Area — Inbound A.M. and Outbound P.M.
|King Road (400), Stouffville Road (404)
|Trafalgar Road (Highway 401), Junction of Highway 403 / 407 ETR / QEW (QEW), Highway 8 (Highway 403)
|Highway 2 (Lakeshore Road)
|All travel restricted on:
|Highway's 427, 410, 403 (Mississauga Loop)
Shaded Area — Outbound A.M. and Inbound P.M.
|Whites Road, Rouge River
|King Road (400), Stouffville Road (404)
|Highway 10 (401), Highway 25 Bronte Road (QEW)
|Highway 2 (Lakeshore Road)
|All travel restricted on:
|Highway's 427, 410, 403 (Mississauga Loop)
A.M. time restrictions are 7:00 - 9:30 a.m.
P.M. time restrictions are 3:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Conditions contained on all oversize/overweight permits must be strictly adhered to. The permit may be terminated for breach of any condition and the permit holder may be subject to prosecution.<
Permits issued are not valid in combination with any other permits issued under Section 110.
Security of Loads
Loads being moved under an oversize/overweight permit must be firmly bound, or otherwise secured or loaded, in such a manner that no portion of the load may become dislodged or fall from the motor vehicle or trailer on which they are being transported. Regulation 614 under the HTA governs the security of loads and sets out the requirements for various types of loads.
A carrier may apply for an exemption from Regulation 614 when moving an exceptionally large or heavy piece of equipment.
In order to receive an exemption from Regulation 614, the application form must be completed and submitted along with a letter and diagram indicating in detail why the requirements of Regulation 614 cannot be adhered to. The permit will indicate the exemption if it is granted.
Note: The exemption only applies to the Regulation and not to Section 111(2) of the HTA.
MTO may require that a bond, or other security, sufficient to cover the cost of repairing possible damage to the highway, be posted before issuing a permit.
Any of the following circumstances may be sufficient to warrant a bond being posted:
- where loading on tires must exceed 11 kg per millimetre width,
- where loading on axle must exceed 10,000 kg during reduced load period,
- where total gross vehicle weight exceeds 120,000 kg subject to engineering analysis of bridge structures and geotechnical assessment of roadway structure,
- where overweight vehicles must be routed over substandard bridge structures subject to engineering analysis of bridge structures, or
- deemed to be warranted by the Director of the Carrier Safety and Enforcement Branch.
The value of the bond will be determined by the ministry and is not subject to negotiation. The carrier may be required to pay for the services of ministry approved geotechnical and/or structural consultants to assess conditions and evaluate any damages caused by the move.
Flags, Signs and Lighting
Vehicles and/or loads in excess of HTA legal dimensions require special flags and signs. When travelling at night, conspicuity markings must also be met.
Vehicles and/or loads in excess of dimensions prescribed under Section 109 of the Highway Traffic Act shall be marked with bright red or orange warning flags of not less than 40 cm square and shall be mounted to the extremities of the vehicle or load. The flag(s) must be kept in good and clean condition so as to not diminish their effectiveness.
"D" Sign or "Oversize Load":
In addition to flags described above, vehicles and/or loads must display on the front of the vehicle and the rear of the load, in a clearly visible position, a sign visible for a distance of at least 150 m bearing the words "OVERSIZE LOAD" in black letters at least 200 mm high with lines forming the letters at least 30 mm wide on a yellow background, or a "D" sign as illustrated below. When travelling under night moves, the sign shall be made of Level 1, high intensity retro-reflective material (CGSB 62-GP-11M). The sign shall be positioned as to not obstruct lights and other safety devices and removed or covered when not in use.
The signs must be removed or covered when not required.
Conspicuity requirements must be met during a night move. These requirements are over and above the lighting requirements set out in the HTA and consist of the extremities being marked with a solid amber lamp(s) visible in the front and rear conforming to SAE Code P2 or P3 with markings to appear on lamp(s).
When travelling under a night move, a retro-reflective "D" sign described above must be present.
A permit may be issued on the condition that the permit holder provides an escort vehicle(s) either preceding or following the overweight vehicle or load. A description of when an escort vehicle is required is as follows:
No Escort Required:
- for widths from 2.61 m to 3.99 m
- for lengths from 23.01 m to 36.75 m
- for heights from 4.16 m to 4.86 m
When a Private Escort Warning Vehicle is Required:
- from 4 m to 4.99 m- 1 escort vehicle required on multi-lane highways
- from 4 m to 4.59 m - 1 escort vehicle required on two lane highways
- from 4.6 m to 4.99 m - 2 escort vehicles required on two lane highways
One private escort warning vehicle is required to accompany the movement of the authorized load. The private escort warning vehicle shall be required to precede the load on two lane highways or follow the load on multi-lane highways.
A second private escort warning vehicle is required to follow the load authorized by this permit while travelling on two lane highways.
- from 36.76 m to 45.74 m - 1 escort vehicle required
- rear overhang greater than 4.65 m - 1 escort vehicle required at the rear of load
Exceptions — see Mobile/Modular Homes below.
- 4.87 m and greater - 1 escort vehicle (pole car) required
Permit holder is responsible for all horizontal and vertical clearances along the route and must ensure that proper clearance(s) exist. A pilot escort vehicle equipped with a height pole 8 cm higher than the load must precede the load to ensure proper vertical clearances and communicate any obstructions to the driver of the permitted vehicle.
(This includes office and construction trailers and portable schoolhouse)
Mobile/modular homes greater than 29.25 m in length are not permitted to travel in convoy and require TWO private escort warning vehicles to accompany each load.
Private Escort Warning Vehicle Requirements:
Where a permit is issued on the condition that the permit holder provides a Private Escort Operator, Warning Vehicle and Equipment:
- The escort vehicle shall be operated by a person eighteen years of age or older, with at least two years of driving experience and in possession of a valid driver’s licence equivalent to at least an Ontario Class G2 driver’s licence. The escort vehicle(s) shall not have more than 2 axles and a wheelbase length of not less than 2.65 metres and shall be equipped with flashing amber warning lamp(s) located on the roof of the escort vehicle. Lighting shall consist of either a rectangular amber bar positioned perpendicular to the length of the escort vehicle or at least one amber warning lamp conforming to standard SAE J845 or J1318 Class 1 or 2. All lights shall be visible on a 360 degree basis from the vehicle. The lenses must be kept in good and clean condition, free from the accumulation of dirt, snow or pit markings, as to not diminish the effectiveness of the lamp. All lamps required throughout this condition must be kept in good working order.
- Either a "D" or an "OVERSIZE LOAD" sign shall be used. [See "D" sign (as illustrated in Figure 1) attached. If using an "OVERSIZE LOAD" sign, the letters shall be in black on a yellow background]. The sign shall be mounted on the front and rear, or on the roof, of the escort vehicle. The sign shall not obstruct warning lights and other safety devices. If mounted on the roof, the sign shall be perpendicular to the length of the escort vehicle and shall be made of durable rigid material and must not interfere with the view of the light bar or warning light and the sign must be printed on both sides of the panel. The sign shall be removed or covered when not in use.
The escort vehicle(s) and towing vehicle(s) shall be equipped with a working two way radio communication device permitting direct communication between the vehicles.
The escort vehicle(s) shall be equipped with a fire extinguisher in effective working order, six 45 cm (18") traffic cones and/or portable reflectors approved by the MTO, and extra bulbs to maintain all lights required by this schedule.
All units, including the escort vehicle(s), will be operated with headlights on when travelling on a highway and shall maintain a distance of 60 to 150 metres from the load being escorted.
Caution: Escort vehicles do not have traffic control authority. The escort driver must obey all traffic laws and regulations.
Certified Superload Escorts are Required:
- Width: 5 m and greater
- Length: 45.75 m and greater
- Weight: upon Weight and Load Engineer's request
There may be instances where, due to the parameters of the highway, escort requirements may change. If necessary, the region(s) may require escorts when normally none are required or additional escorts to those already requiring escorts.
Certified Superload Escort Requirements:
Effective July 1, 2018 persons wishing to become certified to direct traffic for movement of superloads will be required to successfully complete anMTO-approved training course before being eligible for appointment.
Information on the changes to the HTA and the new regulation can be found here:
Below is a description of the new regulatory requirements:
The ministry wishes to ensure that Certifed Superload Escorts have a record of compliance with highway traffic laws, including any conditions stated on the permit. To be eligible for appointment as a Certified Superload Escort. The Certified Superload Escort will need to have maintained a valid full driver’s licence for at least four years and must not have accumulated more than six demerit points.
All Certified Escorts must complete Ontario Traffic manual Book 7 prior to attending the MTO approved Certified Superload Escort Program.
Certified Superload Escorts will need to be identifiable; escorts are required to provide proof of their appointment upon request. Escorts from other jurisdictions must be certified in Ontario.
Certified Superload Escort Vehicle Signage and Lighting
Certified Escorts will be required to use a full-size pickup vehicle that are highly visible and easily identifiable.
Certified Superload Escort vehicles are required:
- To display signs with the words “OVERSIZE LOAD” either on the front and the rear or on the roof facing both the front and back of the vehicle
- To display signs with the words “Certified Escort” on the both sides and the rear
- To display blaze orange marker flags on each side
- To have amber lighting on its roof visible on a 360 degree basis consisting of either of a rectangular bar positioned across the width of the vehicle or of two warning lamps, one on each side of the roof, that qualify as Class 1 warning lights, according to Standard J845, published on June 10, 2013 by SAE International, as amended from time to time
Certified Superload Escort Persons Clothing and Signage
For safety purposes in directing traffic, it is important that over-dimensional vehicle escorts be dressed in clothing that makes them visible to motorists and they use signage that conforms to prevailing standards.
A Certified Superload Escort’s garments are required to meet set standards below:
- It covers at least his or her upper body and has the following features
- It is fluorescent blaze or international orange in colour.
- On the front and the back, there are two yellow stripes that are 5 centimetres wide. The yellow area must total at least 500 square centimetres on the front and at least 570 square centimetres on the back.
- On the front, the stripes must be arranged vertically and centred and must be approximately 225 millimetres apart, measured from the centre of each stripe. On the back, they must be arranged in a diagonal “X” pattern.
If a Certified Superload Escort uses a hand-held stop sign to direct traffic, the stop sign will need to meet below requirements:
- The stop sign must be octagonal in shape, measure 450 millimetres between OPP osite sides, and be mounted on a pole that is 1.2 metres long.
- The stop sign must be high-intensity retro-reflective grade red in colour, with the word “STOP” written in legible high-intensity retro-reflective grade white letters 150 millimetres high in a central position on the sign.
- The stop sign must be maintained in a clean and legible condition.
Ontario Regulation 366/09 (Display Screens and Hand-Held Devices) under the Highway Traffic Act contains a number of exemptions from the prohibitions in the Act against display screens and hand-held devices. Specifically, Certified Superload Escorts are exempted and permitted to use two-way radios while engaged in their duties.
In addition to regulatory requirements the ministry will be including the following vehicle specifications under permit conditions for Certified Superload Escort (CSE) Vehicles:
- CSE vehicles shall be marked with two or more orange flags of not less than 40 cm square and shall be mounted to the top of the vehicle angled outwards at approximately a 45 degree angle, extending not more than 15 cm beyond either side of the vehicle. The flag(s) must be kept in good and clean condition so as not to diminish their effectiveness.
- CSE vehicles must be identified with a sign on the driver side, and passenger side, and rear stating ‘CERTIFIED ESCORT’ (see below for minimum sign details) The sign shall be a removable and shall only be displayed when a CSE vehicle is required by permit for an over-dimensional and/or overweight move.
- CSE vehicle shall be a full-size pickup with no significant post factory modifications such as ch OPP ed or elevated suspension, extra-large tires etc. The rear window shall not be blocked by any devices such as a camper or truck cap. The pickup may include a storage box which does not extend more than 12 cm above the pickup box.
In addition to the above, annual and project permit holders must provide a private escort warning vehicle on the following highways when the load measurement meets or exceeds the listed widths:
528A, 538, 546, 564, 566, 580, 586, 587, 670, 671, 801, 802
510, 518, 524,525,528,529, 529A, 553, 556, 560A, 569, 570, 572, 573, 577, 595, 603, 605, 607A, 617, 619, 621, 633, 636, 639, 641, 645, 645, 661, 665, 804, 811, 7036
71, 105,101,125,129,130, 502, 516, 519, 527, 532, 540, 542, 547, 548, 551, 552, 557, 562, 563, 571, 579, 582, 585, 588, 589, 590, 593, 594, 597, 599, 600, 601, 602, 607, 608, 609, 611, 614, 615, 618, 622, 623, 625, 627, 628, 630, 631, 634, 638, 640, 642, 643, 644, 651, 657, 658, 664, 667, 668, 673
From 20 km north of Highway 17 at Whitson Creek (Chelmsford) to the junction of Highway 144 and Highway 101:
- For loads ranging in width between 3.66 and 3.99 metres, two private escort vehicles are required.
- For loads ranging in width between 4.00 and 4.56 metres, one OPP escort at the front of the load and one private escort vehicle at rear of the load.
- For widths greater than 4.57 metres, two OPP escorts are required, one at the front and one at the rear of the load.
Reduced Load Period
Annual and project permits for moving heavy vehicles, loads, objects or structures in excess of legal weight limits are not valid on any King's highway during the months of march and April (Southern Ontario) and march, April and may (Northern Ontario). Weights in excess of legal limits are only allowed when specifically authorized to do so under permit conditions.
For the purposes of this restriction the boundary between Northern and Southern Ontario is considered to be:
- The Severn River to Regional Road 169 (formerly Highway 169)
- Regional Road 169 from Washago to Highway 12
- Highway 12, from Regional Road 169 to Highway 7, north of Sunderland
- Highway 7 from Highway 12 to Regional Road 7B (formerly Highway 7B), at Carleton Place
- Regional Road 7B to Regional Road 29 (formerly Highway 15), and
- Regional Road 29 to Arnprior.
Permits are not valid on designated reduced load highways, which are posted according to Section 122(5) of the HTA, under any circumstances. There are very few reduced load highways under provincial jurisdiction. Schedules detailing highways subject to reduced loads are authorized and issued by the Highway Operations and maintenance Division.
Single trip permits may be issued for movements on highways subject to reduced loading restrictions. However, the Weight and Load Engineer must approve these moves. Annual permits with special weight condition for specific axle weight configurations have an additional condition for reduced load periods.
O/O permits may be issued to Canadian or US carriers for movements within or through the province of Ontario under the following conditions:
- if the move originates and terminates in Ontario;
- if the move originates in Ontario and terminates in another province or territory;
- if the move originates in another Canadian province or territory, or one of the states of the United States of America, and terminates in Ontario;
- if the move originates in another Canadian province or territory and terminates in another/same Canadian province and/or territory, or one of the states of the United States of America, where Ontario is to be used as a corridor.
- if the move originates in one of the states of the United States of America and terminates in another Canadian province or territory, where Ontario is to be used as a corridor.
- if the move is a mobile home that originates and terminates in the United States of America, Ontario may be used as a corridor.
Note: Canadian or US operators, including Ontario operators, are not permitted to use Ontario as a corridor for state-to-state moves, except for mobile homes.
Ontario registration requirements must be met and the operator must be in possession of a valid operating authority.
No Convoy moves
Convoy moves are not permitted. Each load must be separated by at least 45 minutes. When on route, a minimum spacing of 10 km is required.
Clearance in Construction Zones
Permit holders may encounter construction zones where the horizontal and vertical clearance have been reduced. Before traveling through any construction zone, the permit holder is responsible for verifying clearances. Road construction reports can be obtained by visiting Traveller's Information Services on the Ministry of Transportation website. Road information can also be obtained by calling the ministry of Transportation Inquiry Centre at
Permit Issuing Office
301 St. Paul Street, 3rd Floor
St Catharines, Ontario, L2R 7R4
NOTE: To protect financial information, please do not send the Credit Card Authorization Letter electronically.
Glossary of Terms
Terms identified in Section 1 of the application form.
Annual, Special Vehicle Configuration and Project permits have a time sensitive start and end date. Permits are to be renewed prior to the end date as stated on the permit.
Any permit(s) lost or stolen is to be reported directly to the Permit Issuing Office.
Option selected when an amendment is required to an approved permit. The permit number is required in space below selection.
NOTE: To revise an application form that has been submitted, but not processed, please contact the O/O Permit Issuing Office.