Response to Auditor General's Report on Winter Highway Maintenance

On April 29, the Auditor General released her report on Winter Maintenance. Read about how the ministry is already taking action on the recommendations.

Statement by the Minister of Transportation on Winter Maintenance

Special report on Winter Highway Maintenance - (PDF - 964 KB)

Provincial Action on Winter Maintenance

511

Motorists can call 511 for hands-free, voice interactive information on current road conditions and closures or they can visit Ontario.ca/511. Road closure information is also available on Twitter at @511Ontario.

We're making changes that will include more detail in road condition updates to help you plan your trip, such as when the patroller last observed road conditions.

Learn more about the terminology we used from the Transportation Association of Canada to describe road conditions and visibility.

Where's my plow pilot (2015/2016)

Global positioning and remote data collection tools are installed in all winter maintenance equipment to provide detailed information to help manage and oversee winter maintenance operations. This includes the vehicle's location and speed, as well as other winter maintenance operations underway. Next winter, the goal is to pilot a web-based service to show the public where winter maintenance equipment is working.

Winter Maintenance Costs

Winter maintenance is the largest portion of costs of maintaining our provincial highways. The winter of 2013/14 cost about $171 million for labour, equipment and materials used to maintain the 43,000 lane-kilometres of highways across Ontario.

Provincial Action on Winter Maintenance

The Auditor's report on winter maintenance contains a variety of recommendations, many of which were also findings of the ministry's own internal review. The chart below outlines the steps the ministry has taken on many of the recommendations as well as our longer terms plans for action.

Recommendation 1. Ensure effective winter highway maintenance and enhance road safety
Response to Recommendation Part of ministry review Action already taken In place by winter 2015 (if not, when) Included in 2015 budget
Verify contractors have enough equipment; if not work with them to resolve Yes Yes - 105 pieces added, equipment requirement in new Kenora contract ongoing Yes - funds for dedicated spreaders
Protocols for staff requests Yes N/A
Recommendation 2. Ensure contractors use treatment materials proactively to perform effective winter maintenance
Response to Recommendation Part of ministry review Action already taken In place by winter 2015 (if not, when) Included in 2015 budget
Re-establish cost sharing arrangements Yes Yes Yes N/A
Modernize future contracts Yes Yes ongoing N/A
Increase anti-icing Yes Yes Yes
Recommendation 3. Ensure winter maintenance is timely and effective and that weather conditions are accurately reported
Response to Recommendation Part of ministry review Action already taken In place by winter 2015 (if not, when) Included in 2015 budget
Prescribe contractor responsibilities for patrolling Yes Yes Yes - In Kenora and added in some other contract areas N/A
Train patroller staff Yes Yes - training before winter 2014/15 Yes - training before winter 2015/16 N/A
Add more RWIS stations and roadside cameras Yes Yes Yes N/A
Recommendation 4. Improve reliability of 511 website
Response to Recommendation Part of ministry review Action already taken In place by winter 2015 (if not, when) Included in 2015 budget
Timestamp information being posted on 511 Yes Yes Yes N/A
Complete review of new technologies Yes Yes Yes N/A
Recommendation 5. Ensure ministry procures contractors that can provide effective winter highway maintenance
Response to Recommendation Part of ministry review Action already taken In place by winter 2015 (if not, when) Included in 2015 budget
Require detailed information in tenders Yes Yes - in Kenora Yes
Appropriately weight critical factors in evaluation process Yes Yes - in Kenora Yes
Use best-value approach when selecting winning proposal Yes Yes - in Kenora Yes
Recommendation 6. Improve oversight and ensure consistent oversight of contractors across the province
Response to Recommendation Part of ministry review Action already taken In place by winter 2015 (if not, when) Included in 2015 budget
Updated training course delivered Yes Yes Yes N/A
Review audit targets and risk factors Yes Yes N/A
Develop central tracking system for audits Yes Yes Prior to winter 2016/17 N/A
Review contractor liability for future performance based contracts ongoing N/A
Recommendation 7. Monitor bare-pavement performance and more meaningful public reports
Response to Recommendation Part of ministry review Action already taken In place by winter 2015 (if not, when) Included in 2015 budget
Deliver training and increase accuracy Yes Yes Yes N/A
Report to the public by contract area Yes Yes - end of winter 2015 N/A
Expand public outreach program Yes Yes Yes Yes
Reassess bare-pavement standards ongoing N/A
Recommendation 8. Monitor and assess effectiveness of remedial measures
Response to Recommendation Part of ministry review Action already taken In place by winter 2015 (if not, when) Included in 2015 budget
Monitor and assess remedial measures and assess possible additional measures for each contract area Yes Yes Yes

Winter Fatalities

Fatal collisions across the province, on all roads, have decreased by 52 per cent since 2002.

Graphic image showing a graph charting a 52 per cent drop in winter time fatal collisions on all roads across the province from 2002 to 2013

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