Highway Corridor Management

The Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) is responsible for managing the provincial highway corridor network. Through the application of legislation, policies, and guidelines, the ministry supports economic growth while ensuring the safe and efficient movement of people and goods across the province, which is instrumental in connecting communities and improving quality of life for all Ontario residents.

Responsible growth is supported by the two primary functions of Highway Corridor Management:

  • Land Development Review (municipal land use planning matters, development applications to municipality)
  • Highway Corridor Management Permits (application review and administration)

Go to Highway Corridor Management - on-line Services

Table of Contents

Land Development Review

The Ministry of Transportation’s Role in Municipal Planning

The Planning Act controls land use planning throughout Ontario and is administered by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH). The MTO is a commenting agency for land use planning applications under the Planning Act, providing recommendations to the planning approval authority (MMAH or municipality, as applicable). The MTO does not have approval authority for applications under the Planning Act (but does under the Public Transportation and Highway Improvement Act).

Where a municipality or site is within the MTO Controlled Areas, the MTO reviews municipal planning applications throughout the municipal land use planning process. Feedback to land use planning authorities and land developers is intended to serve the transportation / land use interests of the public, preserve the function, safety and operation of the provincial highway network, and contribute to the objectives of the Provincial Policy Statement, provincial transportation and land use studies, and growth plans such as “A Place to Grow - Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe”.

Some examples of applications that are reviewed by MTO are Official Plans, Official Plan Amendments, Transportation Master Plans, Secondary Plans, Zoning By-Law Amendments, Subdivisions, Consents, and Site Plan Applications.

A number of resources and tools are available through this website which aim to improve understanding of the MTO Land Development Review process for external stakeholders, including municipalities, the land development industry and the public. In addition, via the on-line services portal, a pre-consultation can be arranged regarding a full spectrum of topics related to land development, construction and activities in the vicinity of provincial highways.

Pre-Consultation

The MTO strongly encourages early consultation so that stakeholders can grasp a clear picture of the MTO review process, requirements, personnel to engage, and timelines; as well as the expectations regarding associated planning, design and construction including engineering consultant qualifications.

There are a couple of key benefits to early and continued consultation by municipalities, land developers and other stakeholders. When expectations are clearly understood at the beginning of a project:

  1. The proponent is in a better position to prepare financial planning for the project and avoid unforeseen costs in the latter stages.
  2. Concerns regarding impacts of a proposal on provincial highway operations and safety can be addressed and resolved before plans are carried forward, streamlining the latter stages of review, and saving the proponent time and money.

In many cases, where a municipality / area requires a Site Plan Application or Zoning By-Law Amendment application to the planning authority for a land development, a pre-consultation meeting is arranged between the proponent and the planning authority. If the site is within an MTO Controlled Area, the municipality will likely engage MTO to provide initial input. Proponents of land development proposals within the MTO Controlled Area may also arrange a pre-consultation meeting with MTO separately. The key is not so much how you consult with MTO, but that you do so as early as possible and throughout the review process.

MTO’s Role in the MMAH One Window Provincial Planning Service

MTO offers policy direction, guidance and technical advice to municipalities though its One Window (OW) Provincial Planning Service and by providing input to technical advisory committees. Through the One Window process, MTO provides comments on Official Plans, Official Plan Amendments, etc. to ensure that proposed transportation policies are consistent with current legislation, provincial plans and guidelines, where applicable.

Through the One Window process, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) notifies its partner ministries, including MTO, of a municipality's intent to begin the official planning process. MTO then advises the municipality of its interests that need to be addressed in the plan, and to suggest necessary studies at the very early stage of the official plan development (i.e. Traffic Impact Studies, Drainage and Storm-water Management Reports).  MTO will provide written comments and may also plan in-person meetings with municipal staff and or partner ministries to help clearly identify issues.

MTO’s interest in municipal official plans is focused on general transportation policies and planning as well as more specific technical and operational issues. Where delegation of authority is assigned to an upper-tier municipality on a lower-tier official plan, the involved municipalities are responsible under the Municipal Plan Review process, for ensuring the plans are consistent with provincial legislation, policies and practices. MTO is interested in reviewing lower-tier official plans if there are potential impacts on the provincial transportation system. Again, municipalities are encouraged to contact MTO early in their official planning process to ensure that proposed plans align with MTO’s permit controls.

Highway Access Management

Highway Access Management is the process that manages entrances onto provincial highways, at highway interchanges and intersections, and onto municipal roads in the vicinity of a provincial highway within an MTO Controlled Area.  It is an important tool for balancing the need for highway safety and mobility with appropriate access for land development, through a coordinated transportation and land use planning approach.

Highway Access is often a vital component in the MTO land development review process. When feasible access is secured for a property early in the planning process, it paves the way for other design work which is inherently more flexible. Through MTO Highway Access Management policies, there are a number of ways to engage MTO.

Highway Access Management Plans (HAMPs) and Interchange Highway Access Management Plans (I-HAMPs) are two options which promote open dialogue between land developers and involved review agencies, for various levels of project complexity. They offer a means to collaboratively develop creative and sustainable transportation strategies and solutions to support economic development, aiming to achieve the optimum balance between transportation and planning objectives, and preserve the current and future function of the highway. Clients are encouraged to make use of the pre-consultation feature from the on-line services portal to initiate discussions regarding HAMPs / I-HAMPs.

Highway Access Management policies, standards and best practices can largely be found in Chapter 4 of the MTO Highway Corridor Management Manual (HCMM) from the Resources section of this website.

Traffic Impacts

A Traffic Impact Study (TIS) is a study intended to assess the impact of a proposed development on the existing transportation network infrastructure. It identifies the on-site and off-site measures to be undertaken in order to maintain or enhance the transportation system’s performance after the development is built and operational.

The ministry’s TIS Guidelines provide proponents and their consultants with a set of parameters for the preparation of a TIS submission.  The TIS Guidelines outline to land developers and other stakeholders what the Ministry requires of them in terms of transportation review for their development application.  The TIS Guidelines support existing legal, technical, policy and procedural frameworks for the approval of proposed developments by identifying:

  • The triggers for conducting TISs, the scope of TISs in different circumstances, and the appropriate structure, content and format of TISs submitted to the Ministry;
  • Policies, guidelines and practices for the planning and design of a development’s transportation features;
  • Policies, guidelines and practices for the planning and design of transportation networks; and
  • Parameters, assumptions, methods and performance targets for transportation analyses.

Compliance with these guidelines and discussions with appropriate Ministry staff in the preliminary stages of the development planning process will provide for a more consistent and efficient review process.

The latest version of the ministry’s TIS Guidelines is available from the Resources section of this website.

Storm Water Management

MTO reviews Storm Water Management for land development proposals and other works that may have an impact on a provincial highway. A separate Drainage Management website has been established to outline the mandate of the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) related to stormwater management for land development and provide a comprehensive set of resources and submission requirements to developers, municipalities, consultants, and other stakeholders.

Storm Water Management is often a key component of the MTO development review process, helping to strengthen the management of highway drainage works and preserve the integrity of highway infrastructure. Refer to the MTO Drainage Management Website listed in the Resources section of this website for further information.

Highway Corridor Management Permits

If you are planning a construction project on or near a provincial highway you may need a permit from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. Permits are issued by MTO’s Highway Corridor Management Offices under the Public Transportation and Highway Improvement Act. Applications from developers, municipalities, utility companies and the general public are reviewed to ensure they follow all policy rules and guidelines.

There are four types of Highway Corridor Management permits:

  • Sign
    If you are planning to erect or alter a sign or advertising device on a property within 400m (¼ mile) of any provincial highway right-of-way, you may require a permit. There are certain restrictions as to setback, size and location, that are considered when issuing sign permits.
  • Building and Land Use
    Building and land use permits are available for either commercial developments or residential developments.
    If you are considering commercial or residential constructing or renovating a house / barn / shed, drilling a well, installing a swimming pool or underground storage tanks, etc. close to or adjacent to a provincial highway, you may require a residential building and land use permit.
  • Entrance
    The ministry controls all residential and commercial entrances to provincial highways and all entrances must be constructed to ministry standards. You may not construct an entrance to a provincial highway without a ministry entrance permit.
    You also require an entrance permit if you have purchased a property that has an existing access to a provincial highway, as entrance permits do not change ownership with title.
    If you are planning to construct an entrance to a highway from a commercial development, upgrade an existing residential entrance to a commercial entrance, or modifying an existing commercial entrance, etc., an entrance permit is required.
  • Encroachment
    Typically, an encroachment is any installation or works, upon, under or within the limits of a provincial highway right-of-way placed by someone other than MTO.
    Encroachments may include signs, survey work, banners, acceleration and deceleration lanes, curbs, gutters, sidewalks, safety islands, sewers, pipelines, coaxial or fibre optic cable, or other works or structures that may during the construction, installation, or maintenance thereof, obstruct, cause material to be deposited upon, enter upon, take up, bridge over, tunnel under or in any way interfere with the land within the limits of a highway or the roadway or any structure forming a part of the highway.

For those applicants applying for a residential encroachment for utilities, the applicant will be required to check off "residential" on the encroachment application form followed by a detailed work description confirming the encroachment is servicing a private dwelling or private farm.

Residential Encroachment – An encroachment by or on behalf of a private individual pertaining to a private farm or a private dwelling.  A residential encroachment may include a water pipeline, gas pipeline, hydro, telecommunications or other installation upon, under or over the highway right-of-way.Applying for a Permit

The ministry offers permitting services through its on-line services portal.

In addition to applying for a permit using MTO’s on-line services, you can also perform the following functions:

  • Tracking- view the progress and status of a permit application
  • Make a payment - pay your billing statement by credit card (Visa, Visa Debit, MasterCard, or Debit Mastercard) or by Interac on-line
  • Submit an inquiry - contact Highway Corridor Management staff with site-specific questions
  • Submit additional documentation – pertaining to a permit application or for post - construction information - submit as-built drawings and construction completion date for encroachment permits involving utilities
  • View MTO Controlled Areas - determine if you are in the controlled area by entering the location and type of proposed activity

To find out if you require a permit, complete the permit application wizard. A paper-based version of the Application for Highway Corridor Management Permits form is available should you wish not to apply on-line. Alternatively, permits can also be obtained through hardcopy submissions to your local Highway Corridor Management Office.

When submitting applications for Highway Corridor Management permits, the relevant drawings, plans, photos, and supporting reports (i.e. Storm-water Management, Traffic Impact Study), or other related documents should be included for either on-line (upload attachments) or hardcopy submission.

Permit Fees

Building and Land Use

Fee

Frequency of Renewal

Residential/Agricultural Building and Land Use

$195.00

One Time Fee

Commercial Building and Land Use

$2.90/m2 (up to - 20,000m2)

One Time Fee

Commercial Building and Land Use

$1.40/m2 (between 20,000m2 and 40,000m2)

One Time Fee

Commercial Building and Land Use

$0.60/m2 (over 40,000m2)

One Time Fee

Commercial Building and Land Use

$345.00 (minimum fee)

One Time Fee

Telecommunication Plant Land Use Permit

$1265.00

One Time Fee

Entrance

Fee

Frequency of Renewal

Residential/Agricultural Entrance

$230.00

One Time Fee

Residential/Agricultural Entrance – Change Ownership

No Charge

N/A

Residential/Agricultural Entrance – Pave Existing Entrance

No Charge

N/A

Commercial Entrance

$860.00

One Time Fee

Commercial Entrance – Change Ownership

No Charge

N/A

Commercial Entrance – Pave Existing Entrance

No Charge

N/A

Temporary Commercial Entrance

$520.00

One Time Fee

Encroachment

Fee

Frequency of Renewal

Billboard Sign (ON Highway right-of-way)

$770.00 (permit valid for 5 years)

One Time Fee

Signs/Banners/Commercial and Municipal Activities on Highway Right-of-Way

$520.00

One Time Fee

Residential – Utilities on Highway Right-of-Way

$520.00 (permit valid for 10 years)

One Time Fee

Commercial/Municipal Utilities on Highway Right-of-Way

$1560.00 (permit valid for 10 years)

One Time Fee

Guide Sign - Private Roadway (Grr1)

$305.00 (permit valid for 5 years)

One Time Fee

Guide Sign - Personal Direction (Grr2)

$305.00 (permit valid for 5 years)

One Time Fee

Guide Sign – Radio Sign

$305.00 (permit valid for 5 years)

One Time Fee

Sign

Fee

Frequency of Renewal

Billboard Sign (private property)

$770.00 (permit valid for 5 years)

One Time Fee

Location Sign

$23.00/m2

One Time Fee

Portable Sign

$23.00/m2

One Time Fee

Development Sign

$23.00/m2

One Time Fee

Processing Time

The review process for Highway Corridor Management permit applications varies based on the type and complexity of application.  The ministry’s Highway Corridor Management Public Service Commitment standard lists the ministry’s commitment to provide prompt and clear information and guidance to help process your Highway Corridor Management permit applications.

Once an application is submitted, the progress of the review process can be viewed on-line by visiting our on-line tracking page.

Resources

MMAH Planning Application Resource Centre (PARC)

MTO Guidelines for Municipal Official Plan Preparation and Review

MTO Guideline for Plan of Subdivision Review Process

Highway Corridor Management Manual

A Guideline For Highway Improvements Associated With Development

MTO Drainage Management

MTO Traffic Impact Study Guideline

MTO Snowmobile Trails along the Provincial Highway Right-of-Way Guideline

MTO Snowmobile Trails along the Provincial Highway Right-of-Way Policy

If you have a question which is not answered on this website or through your review of these resources, please use our submit an inquiry page to have your question directed to the appropriate staff for follow-up.

Contacts

The MTO Highway Corridor Management Function is comprised of a Provincial Section and five Regional Sections throughout the province.

Regional Highway Corridor Management Sections

Regional Highway Corridor Management sections are responsible for permit administration and land use planning functions such as reviewing development applications, subdivisions, zoning amendment applications, and severances.

For more information please contact the respective Regional Highway Corridor Management section in Central, East, Northeast, Northwest, and West  regions.

Central Region

Downsview Office
Ministry of Transportation
Highway Corridor Management Section
159 Sir William Hearst Avenue, 7th Floor
Downsview, ON M3M 1J8
Phone: 416-235-5385
Toll Free: 1-866-636-0663 (for area codes 905, 705, 519)
Fax: 416-235-4267

East Region

Bancroft Office
Ministry of Transportation
Highway Corridor Management Section
50 Monck Road
P.O. Box 300
Bancroft, ON K0L 1C0
Phone: 613-332-3220 Ext. 214
Toll Free: 1-800-554-0487
Fax: 613-332-3751

Kingston Office
Ministry of Transportation
Highway Corridor Management Section
1355 John Counter Boulevard
Kingston, ON K7L 5A3
Phone: 613-544-2220 Ext. 4107
Toll Free: 1-800-267-0295
Fax: 613-540-5106

Ottawa Office
Ministry of Transportation
Highway Corridor Management Section
347 Preston Street, 4th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1S 3J4
Phone: 613-745-6841
Toll Free: 1-888-362-1770
Fax: 613-748-5297

Peterborough Office
Ministry of Transportation
Highway Corridor Management Section
300 Water Street, South Tower, 1st Floor
Peterborough, ON K9J 3C7
Phone: 705-755-1318

Port Hope Office
Ministry of Transportation
Highway Corridor Management Section
138 Hope Street North
Port Hope, ON L1A 2P1
Phone: 905-885-6381
Toll Free: 1-866-224-0622
Fax: 905-885-9273

Northeast Region

Cochrane Office
Ministry of Transportation
Highway Corridor Management Section
74 2nd Street, P.O. Bag 5000
Cochrane, ON P0L 1C0
Phone: 705-272-4333
Toll Free: 1-800-280-1465
Fax: 705-272-6448

Huntsville Office
Ministry of Transportation
Highway Corridor Management Section
207 Main Street West
Huntsville, ON P1H 1Z9
Toll Free: 1-800-255-7814
Fax: 705-789-3606

New Liskeard Office
Ministry of Transportation
Highway Corridor Management Section
704024 Rockley Road, P.O. Box 1390
New Liskeard, ON P0J 1P0
Phone: 705-647-1802
Toll Free: 1-800-720-1120
Fax: 705-647-4571

North Bay Office
Ministry of Transportation
Highway Corridor Management Section
447 McKeown Avenue, Floor 2
North Bay, ON P1B 9S9
Phone: 705-472-7900
Toll Free: 1-800-461-9547
Fax: 705-497-6926

Sault Ste. Marie Office
Ministry of Transportation
Highway Corridor Management Section
70 Foster Drive, Suite 420
Sault Ste. Marie, ON P6A 6V4
Phone: 705-945-6611
Toll Free: 1-877-366-0669
Fax: 705-945-6830

Sudbury Office
Ministry of Transportation
Highway Corridor Management Section
3767 Hwy 69 South, Suite 8
Sudbury, ON P3G 1G4
Phone: 705-564-7722
Toll Free: 1-800-222-1047
Fax: 705-564-7989

Northwest Region

Emo Office
Ministry of Transportation
Highway Corridor Management Section
57 Emo Road
Emo, ON P0W 1E0
Phone: 807-482-1362
Fax: 807-482-2957

Kenora Office
Ministry of Transportation
Highway Corridor Management Section
808 Robertson Street
Kenora, ON P9N 1X9
Phone: 807-468-2761
Fax: 807-468-2784

Thunder Bay Office
Ministry of Transportation
Highway Corridor Management Section
615 James Street North
Thunder Bay, ON P7E 6P6
Phone: 807-473-2000
Toll Free: 1-800-465-5034
Fax: 807-473-2166

West Region

London Office
Ministry of Transportation
Highway Corridor Management Section
659 Exeter Road
London, ON N6E 1L3
Phone: 519-873-4203
Toll Free: 1-800-265-6072 Ext. 5198734203
Fax: 519-873-4228

Provincial Highway Corridor Management Section

The Provincial Highway Corridor Management section is responsible for:

  • Land Use Planning: this office is the one window contact for MTO for the Province’s one window planning system administered by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs.
  • MTO Permits: this office updates and maintains the policies and procedures related to permit controls for building and land use, signs, access, and encroachments.
  • Policy: developing, updating, communicating and interpreting policies, procedures, standards and guidelines in consultation with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Liaison: liaise with internal and external stakeholders in managing MTO's corridor policies and procedures.

For information on Highway Corridor Management policies and procedures, you can use our submit an inquiry page to have your question directed to the appropriate Highway Corridor Management staff for follow-up.

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