Safety Corner

Ontario Announces Temporary Options for Provincial Trucking Companies

On March 30, 2020, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) announced temporary options for provincially regulated trucking companies that operate in Ontario only, including hours of service (HOS).

This HOS exemption applies to all intra-provincial carriers employed or otherwise engaged in the transport of essential supplies and equipment to directly assist the emergency relief efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak in Ontario.

This announcement follows the Ontario’s declared a state of emergency on March 17, 2020, which enacted emergency provisions of the Highway Traffic Act. The exemptions for commercial drivers relate to trip inspection, HOS and speed limiters, when responding to or in support of a declared emergency. These provisions are automatically triggered when a state of emergency is declared in Ontario.

These provisions are automatically triggered when a state of emergency is declared in Ontario, however it is up to individual carriers to decide if they choose to use the exemptions – it is not a requirement they be used.

The exemption described is solely to support relief efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak and keep essential goods moving.

An Ontario domiciled carrier can decide individually if they choose to use the exemptions, and this is not a mandatory requirement they must follow.

Carriers utilizing this exemption are required to maintain suitable records for the purposes of confirming compliance. They may be required to provide these records on demand for Ministry review. Failure to maintain appropriate records may result in action by MTO.

MTO expects all carriers considering the use of these exemptions to utilise these best practices in making operational decisions.

In addition, Ontario carriers operating under Transport Canada’s Federal exemption that want to submit the required information, as described in the Essential Freight Transport Exemption, may provide information by email to

A list of commodities applicable to this exemption, along with conditions that are in effect until April 30, 2020 are included below in English and French for your convenience.  

Signed – EN Essential Freight Transport Exemption_public

Signed – FR Essential Freight Transport Exemption_public

I have also included the specific details of the MTO announcement that provides guidance for both provincially and federally regulated carriers: 

200330-COVID-19 Stakeholders Update-Federal Hours of Service Exemption-Other Provincial Legislative Exemptions for COVID-19_public


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