Farm Vehicles on Ontario Highways


The following are extracts from definitions given in Section 1 of the Ontario Highway Traffic Act.


MOTOR VEHICLE...does not tractor, self-propelled implement of husbandry or road building machine within the meaning of the H.T.A.

TRAILER...means any vehicle that is at any time drawn upon a highway by a motor vehicle, except an implement of husbandry.

FARM TRACTOR...means a self-propelled vehicle designed and used primarily as a farm implement for drawing ploughs, mowing machines and other implements of husbandry and not designed or used for carrying a load.

...means a self-propelled vehicle manufactured, designed, redesigned, converted or reconstructed for a specific use in farming.

VEHICLE...includes a motor vehicle, trailer, traction engine, farm tractor, road-building machine and ANY vehicle drawn, propelled or driven by any kind of power, including muscular power. defined to include a common and public highway, street, avenue, parkway, driveway, square, place, bridge, viaduct or trestle, any part of which is intended for, or used by the general public for the passage of vehicles and includes the area between the lateral property lines.


...Your FARM TRACTOR is not a motor vehicle, but it is a vehicle.

...Your IMPLEMENTS OF HUSBANDRY are not motor vehicles or trailers, but they are vehicles.

...a FARM WAGON remains a farm wagon whatever is the towing vehicle. (See Insurance Note below.)



...for farm tractors.

...for farm implements or self-propelled implements of husbandry when traveling from farm to farm for farming purposes, or to places necessary for repair or maintenance.

...for farm wagons.


...for self-propelled implements of husbandry when traveling on a highway for purposes other than mentioned above.


Farm tractors, self-propelled implements of husbandry, or farm wagons are not required to be covered by insurance, as per the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act. These vehicles are normally included in the farm insurance policy.

However, the farm insurance policy does not cover a farm wagon or implement of husbandry when towed by a motor vehicle that is registered, or required to be registered, under the H.T.A. In this case, the towing vehicle's liability insurance applies.

Maximum Size Limits Single Vehicle Combination of Vehicles
Length 12.5 metres 23.0 metres*
Width 2.6 metres** 2.60 metres**
Height 4.15 metres 4.15 metres

* A combination of vehicles may exceed 23.0 metres if they meet all requirements of Ontario Regulation 32/94 which allows 25 m (82 ft) combinations and 16.15 m (53 ft) trailers.
** There is no width restrictions for loads of loose fodder.


The driving or towing of oversized farm vehicles on the road is governed by the requirements described below.

Definition: "Over-dimensional farm vehicle" means a farm tractor, self-propelled implement of husbandry, implement of husbandry, or any combination of them, having a weight, width, length or height in excess of the limits provided in Part VI or Part VII of the Ontario Highway Traffic Act.

Chart of Over-Dimensional Farm Vehicle Regulations

Ontario Regulation 603 describes the ONLY conditions under which an over-dimensional farm vehicle may be operated on certain highways. This chart summarizes those conditions for reference only. The lighting requirements listed below are in addition to those which apply to all farm vehicles described on Panel #6 An overdimensional farm vehicle may:

  1. be prohibited from moving on certain highways.
  2. require the display of additional lights.
  3. require an escort vehicle to the front and rear when the width exceeds 4.80 metres.
All over-dimensional farm vehicles
(greater than 2.60 m wide)
PROHIBITED FROM operating on Highways 400 (certain sections), 401, 402, 403, 404, 405, 406, 409, 410, 417, 420, 427, 2A, QEW, and specified sections of the CONESTOGA PARKWAY
Over 2.60 m wide
Up to 3.80 m incl.
DAYTIME - No additional restrictions. NIGHTTIME OR POOR VISIBILITY - 2 flashing amber lights on front and 2 on rear.
Over 3.80 m wide
Up to 4.80 m incl.
DAYTIME - 2 flashing amber lights on front and 2 on rear, OR rotating roof light. NIGHTTIME OR POOR VISIBILITY - 2 flashing amber lights on front and 2 on rear, AND EITHER a rotating amber roof light OR escort vehicles at front and rear.
Over 4.60 m wide DAYTIME - 2 flashing amber lights on front and 2 on rear, OR rotating roof light. NIGHTTIME OR POOR VISIBILITY - 2 flashing amber lights on front and 2 on rear, AND single rotating amber roof light AND escort vehicles at front and rear.
Escort Vehicles Must show four-way flashers, OR amber rotating roof light.


As of January 1, 1994, Ontario Regulation 611 made under the Highway Traffic Act states that certain trucks and trailers with an actual weight (single or combined), Registered Gross Weight (RGW), or manufacturers vehicle weight rating of more than 4500 kg (9920 lbs) require an annual safety inspection.

The term "truck" includes transport tractor units, fire trucks, passenger vans, mini vans, two and four-wheel drive trucks, regardless of the type of license plate attached to the vehicle, i.e. car, truck or farm.

The term "trailer" includes boat, snowmobile, livestock and general-purpose utility trailers but does not include a trailer specifically designed as an implement of husbandry.

A vehicle or combination of vehicles requiring an annual inspection must display or carry evidence of compliance with Ontario, and any other Canadian jurisdiction or United States regulations.

An annual inspection can be done by your local garage provided it is licensed to do so by the Ministry of Transportation. The inspection certificate is valid in any province or state for 12 months after inspection.


smv sign

The purpose of this sign is to warn other road users that the vehicle displaying the sign may be a vehicle traveling slower than the normal speed of traffic.

Every farm tractor and self-propelled implement of husbandry, when operated on a highway, or any vehicle towed by either of them, must have a slow moving vehicle sign attached to the rear, except when directly crossing a highway.

The sign must be displayed in the center of the rear of the rear-most vehicle, between 0.6 meters and 2 meters above the roadway.

It must be clearly visible for a distance of not less than 150 meters.

The SMV sign colors deteriorate through exposure to sun and weather. To ensure the sign is clearly visible to other road users, it should be replaced when faded or damaged.

Always BE SEEN! Remember the SMV is for your safety.

SAFETY TIPS a pre-trip inspection of all your equipment. Make sure it is in good mechanical condition. a driver of a vehicle, it is your responsibility, by law, to clearly indicate all turns, slowing or stopping and to make certain that the turn can be made safely.

If your equipment or load does not allow other drivers to see hand signals, then you should equip your vehicle with electrical or mechanical signals.

Your visibility is vital at all times. Always use your lights when it is dark or visibility is poor. Many collisions occur due to the fact that other motorists do not see you in advance.

Farm Tractor Lighting Illustrated examples


Lights are required on a highway at any time from one-half hour before sunset to one-half hour after sunrise and at any other time when, due to insufficient light or unfavorable weather conditions, persons and vehicles on the highway cannot be seen clearly at a distance of 150 meters.



...if fitted with an electric lighting system, are required to display two white lights on the front of the vehicle and at least one red light on the rear of the vehicle.

...if not fitted with an electric lighting system, must display on the left side of the vehicle, a lamp or lamps displaying at least one white light to the front, and at least one red light to the rear.

Lights or lamps must be clearly visible at a distance of at least 150 meters.


All the Highway Traffic Act tire regulations apply to farm tractors and self-propelled implements of husbandry. However, these vehicles may use tires marked "not for highway use", or "farm use only", when traveling on highways.

The highway use of studded tires is strictly prohibited.

No vehicle shall be operated, or object moved over or upon any highway with any flange, rib, clamp, or other device attached to its wheels which will damage the highway.


The H.T.A. does not limit the number of wagons or trailers that may be towed by a farm tractor or self-propelled implement of husbandry. The driver is responsible to ensure that the combination does not constitute a hazard.

Each farm wagon or implement of husbandry being towed, must be connected to the towing vehicle by two separate means of attachment. Also, each trailer or farm wagon must have two separate means of attachment to the vehicle ahead. A safety chain's strength must be equal to the gross weight of the vehicle or vehicles being towed. This does not apply when towing a farm wagon or implement of husbandry directly across a highway.


A farm implement or farm wagon being towed by a farm tractor, self-propelled implement of husbandry or any other motor vehicle must display a red light on the rear of the rear-most vehicle.

When the combined length of the towing vehicle and towed vehicles exceeds 6.1 metres, an amber or green light must be displayed on each side of the vehicle, close to the front and a red light displayed on each side, close to the rear of the rear-most vehicle. Reflectors approved by the Ministry may be used instead of these side-marker lights.

BE SEEN at night! Never drive your farm vehicles at night or, in adverse weather conditions without proper lighting.


The driver of a farm tractor or self-propelled implement of husbandry is not required to hold a valid driver's license when driving on a highway, but must be at least 16 years of age. Under 16 year-olds are only allowed to drive a farm tractor or self-propelled implement of husbandry directly across a highway.


Farm vehicles should be driven on the traveled portion of the highway because the shoulder may not be firm enough to withstand the weight of the equipment.

It is not illegal to drive on the shoulder. However, it is illegal to overtake and pass other vehicles when driving on the shoulder.


The Criminal Code of Canada applies to drivers of vehicles both on and off the highway. It is illegal to operate a farm tractor or a self-propelled implement of husbandry on or off the highway when impaired by alcohol or drugs.

A conviction under the Criminal Code of Canada for drinking and driving offenses automatically incurs a minimum three month driving prohibition...both on and off the highway. A subsequent offense incurs a minimum of one year's prohibition. For the first three months of this period, you are prohibited from driving any vehicle (including a farm tractor or self-propelled implement of husbandry) on a farm.

A conviction of a drinking/driving offense provides a one year suspension of a driver's license under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act.

For the first three months of this period, you are prohibited from driving any vehicle (including a farm tractor or self-propelled implement of husbandry) in any public place.


A CVOR identifies those responsible for the operation of commercial motor vehicles having a registered gross weight of more than 4500 kilograms and the conduct of their drivers. The CVOR Certificate (or a true copy) must be carried in any vehicle over 4500 kg at all times.

Note: Farm plated vehicles are commercial motor vehicles. For further information, contact the Carrier Control Office - Toronto. Phone (416) 235-4479 or elsewhere in Ontario 1-800-387- 7736.


If you hold a Class "G" Driver's License you may drive a Class "D" Farm-plated Vehicle...

(Class "G" refers to cars, light trucks, etc., not exceeding a registered gross vehicle weight or total gross weight of 11,000 kg).

illustration of farm vehicles

(Class "D" refers to vehicles which exceed 11,000 kg gross vehicle weight or registered gross weight, provided any towed vehicles are not over 4600 kg). To tow a vehicle exceeding 4600 kg gross weight, the driver must hold a valid Class "A" driver's license.

The regulation gives the busy farmer more freedom in assigning full or part-time helpers to drive his farm vehicle, e.g. during seeding or harvest time. If they hold a Class "G" or "G2" license, the Class "D" farm vehicle may be driven, provided it's owned or leased by the farmer, registered and licensed as a "Farm Vehicle" and used for personal transportation or trucking produce or equipment.

Note: Class "D" Farm Vehicles may not be driven by anyone who holds a Class G1, M1, M2, or M License in accordance with Ontario Regulation 340/94 under the H.T.A.

Also, you may not drive a Class "D" vehicle when it is used for hire with a Class "G", "E", or "F" driver's license.


The Dangerous Goods Transportation Act, 1981, is intended to promote safety in the transportation of dangerous goods on Ontario's highways. Farmers must ensure that dangerous goods are transported in accordance with the Act and Regulations.

While there are several exemptions provided in the regulations for the transportation of dangerous goods used in farming, there are many farm chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, fuels, gases, etc., which may require special documentation, safety markers and driver training.

Information regarding the regulations, as they apply to farming operations, can be obtained from any Ministry of Transportation District Office.

The information and recommendations contained in this publication are believed to be reliable and representative of contemporary expert opinion on the subject material. The Farm Safety Association does not guarantee absolute accuracy or sufficiency of subject material, nor can it accept responsibility for health and safety recommendations that may have been omitted due to particular and exceptional conditions and circumstances.

Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder. More