MTO redefines tow trucks in Highway Traffic Act

By Mike Pickford

Toronto, Ontario — September 20, 2016 — The Ontario Ministry of Transportation has pressed forward with its plans to redefine tow trucks as ‘commercial motor vehicles’ in the Highway Traffic Act in a move that is likely to affect all those in the towing industry over the coming months.

Announcing the change on Sept. 12, Assistant Deputy Minister Heidi Francis revealed all tow truck operators will be required to hold a valid Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration (CVOR) certificate by the new year. According to a letter distributed to towers across the province, one CVOR certificate will be required for all tow trucks within an operator’s fleet, with a copy of the permit to be carried in the vehicle at all times.

“I encourage operators that do not already hold a valid CVOR certificate to apply as soon as possible to allow sufficient time to complete the required steps to ensure they are in compliance by Jan. 1, 2017,” Francis wrote.

The new certificate doesn’t come cheap. Operators are required to pay a $250 registration fee when submitting their CVOR application. Once the application has been received, the MTO will send out a letter of acknowledgement informing operators on how they should proceed.

Ontario-based operators will be required to pass a CVOR written test in person at a DriveTest centre prior to the certificate being issued.

According to Francis, the MTO will consult with industry stakeholders during the development of additional regulations detailing the specific requirements for tow trucks and operators.

For more information about CVOR, applying for a CVOR certificate and the CVOR written test, visit

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