Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act regulates everything from vehicle licensing and classifications to load restrictions and transportation issues. There are many regulations within the Highway Traffic Act that can affect the business of farming as they relate to traveling roadways with tractors, equipment and trucks. It’s the farm owner and equipment operator’s responsibility to know the rules of the road that apply to farm equipment, self-propelled vehicles, load restrictions, licensing and towing requirements.
Farm Licence Plate Requirements
Farm designated licence plates are reduced fee commercial plates for farm trucks with a registered gross weight over 3,000 kg (6,613 lbs.), used for personal transportation or to haul farm products, equipment or supplies. Paid hauling on farm plates is only permitted during September, October or November.
Effective January 1, 2015, vehicle owners wishing to purchase or attach farm plates to a new commercial vehicle over 3,000 kg will need to provide documentation to demonstrate that they have a farm business.
Only those clients purchasing or attaching new farm plates to a vehicle will be required to show proof of farm business as of January 1, 2015. The new requirements will not affect any current farm plate owners who are renewing their farm plates.
What are the benefits of farm plates?
For farmers, there are four benefits to use farm license plates on farm trucks:
- Lower annual plate cost
- Limited dangerous goods exemptions
- Option to drive a D truck with a Class G Driver’s License
- Exemption from the Light Duty DRIVE CLEAN program
Documentation required for farm licence plates to prove farm business
A Farm Business Registration (FBR) number is proof that you run a farm business and any one of the following documents will prove that you have an FBR or are exempt:
- A farm organization membership card
- A Gross Farm Income Exemption Certificate
- A letter from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal indicating religious exemption
- A letter from Agricorp with your FBR number
- A letter from the Indian Agriculture Program of Ontario confirming that the producer has met the FBR eligibility requirements
These new requirements were implemented by the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) to ensure that only qualified farmers obtain farm plates and receive the benefits associated with having a farm plate.
Find out what you need to obtain farm plates from Service Ontario using OFA’s reference tool Click here to use the reference tool.
Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act and regulations guide the operation of farm vehicles (tractors, combines, self-propelled sprayers, and towed implements) when operated on Ontario’s roads. Many of the rules governing the use of cars and trucks also apply to farm vehicles on the roads, including the use of head and tail lights, signaling turns, distracted driving and cell phone use and impaired driving.
For more information:
Farm ATV/ORV Use on Roadways
Off-road vehicle (ORV) describes a range of vehicle configurations including all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) designed for off-road use.
Regulatory amendments effective July 1, 2015 have expanded the definition of an ATV, to a “multi-purpose off-road vehicle”. Some of these provisions affect farm ATV/ORV use.
Farmers, operating an ATV/ORV on the road for agricultural purposes must comply with all of the following requirements;
- The ATV/ORV is insured under an auto policy and the driver must carry proof of insurance [ORVA, section 15]
- The driver is licensed (minimum G2/M2) and the driver must carry their Driver’s License [ORVA, section 2]
- The ATV/ORV is registered, for example, it has an ORV plate [ORVA, section 3]
- The driver and any passengers must wear an approved helmet [ORVA, section 19 and O.Reg 316/03, section 19]
- A Slow Moving Vehicle (SMV) sign must be on the rear of the vehicle, or on the rear of any towed implement or trailer [ORVA, section 2]
- For vehicles equipped with seatbelts, the driver and passengers must wear them [O.Reg 316/03, sections 19.1, 19.2 and 19.3]
For more information:
Read OFA’s Farm ATV/ORV Use fact sheet for more information
Driver Trip Inspections
All vehicles with a gross weight or registered gross weight over 4,500 kg (9,920 lbs.) will be required to complete a daily trip inspection report. The report is commonly referred to as a ‘pre-trip inspection’ or ‘circle check’. A daily trip inspection report is valid for 24 hours from the time it was first completed.
After the 24-hour period has passed, a new report is required. There is no exemption for distance. The following EXEMPTION does apply: a 2 or 3-axle truck, not towing a trailer, and carrying or being used to carry primary farm products, is exempt from carrying a written copy of the report; but not exempt from completing the inspection itself.
Annual Truck/Trailer Safety Inspections
Annual truck/trailer safety inspections are mandatory for the following:
- Any truck, which does not tow a trailer, where the truck’s actual weight, registered gross weight or manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating exceeds 4,500 kg (9,920 lbs.)
- Both the truck and trailer if their combined weight exceeds 4,500 kg
There is NO exemption for farm-plated trucks.
Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration (CVOR):
A Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration (CVOR) is required for all trucks, including farm-plated trucks, with an actual or registered gross weight over 4,500 kg (9,920 lbs.). If you do not have a CVOR, you must pass a written test; the test fee is $250. CVOR’s renew annually at a fee of $50.
There is NO exemption for farm-plated trucks.
Hours of Work
Hours of Work regulation, found under Ontario Regulation 4/93 of the Highway Traffic Act, establishes the hours of work requirements that a driver cannot exceed, and exemptions to these requirements. Drivers of trucks with an actual or registered gross weight over 4,500 kg (9,920 lbs.) are limited in their time “behind the wheel”.
The driver of a commercial vehicle is not required to keep a log if the driver operates within a 160 km (100 mi.) radius of their “home base”, returns to that home base at the end of their day, and only works for one operator that day. If a driver is not required to keep a daily log of their hours, the truck operator (owner) must record the date, driver’s name and location where the driver starts and ends the day as well as their duty cycle. The following EXEMPTION does apply to the driver of a 2 or 3-axle truck, or a 2-axle truck towing a single-axle trailer, and carrying or was being used to carry primary farm products.
Oversize/Overweight (O/O) Permits
Truckers carrying oversize loads that exceed the registered gross weight of their truck or the width limits of the Highway Traffic Act must obtain a permit from each municipality they travel through, as well as a provincial permit for any provincial highways. The Ministry of Transportation (MTO) has a single-window office for obtaining an O/O permit.
Oversize farm equipment driven on the roads does not require an O/O permit. Oversize farm equipment carried on a truck or trailer does require an O/O permit.
There is NO exemption for trucks with farm licence plates.
Ontario Tire Stewardship Fees
Ontario Tire Stewardship (OTS) has revised its fee schedule for agricultural tires, retroactive to April 1, 2013. Tire stewardship fees for selected tire sizes were reduced. Tire stewardship fees are charged not only on the purchase of replacement tires, but also on new farm equipment purchases.
The introduction of the amended Regulation 84/03 in early 2013 required OTS to change its approach to fee-setting. The new Tire Stewardship Fee (TSF) rates will be implemented effective May 1, 2014. Note that the Tire Classifications are unchanged from those currently in use. Any tires supplied into the Ontario market as of May 1, 2014 must be reported by Stewards according to the Tire Categories and TSF rates outlined in the table, which is available on the TSF website. The chart shows the different classifications of tires and their corresponding TSF under the Used Tire Program for tires supplied on or after May 1, 2014.
OFA continues to help members with information and advice on farm vehicle licensing and classifications, load restrictions and transportation issues.