Unplated Heavy Trucks May Lose Tax-Exemptions

TORONTO, ON — Heavy trucks not required to be plated or pay commercial vehicle registration fees, provincial taxes and certain tolls will no longer be exempt, the Ontario government stated in the Budget’s Transportation Infrastructure Funding Plan.

For years, certain heavy trucks involved in commercial operations – such as mobile cranes, vacuum trucks and concrete pumper trucks, among others – were designated as so-called “road-building machines” under the Highway Traffic Act, sparing their owners from being charged the types of fees and taxes all other commercial truck operators are required to pay, the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) explained.

OTA’s president, David Bradley commented: “A truck is a truck is a truck. It should not matter what commercial enterprise a truck is in. They are all road users and their owners should pay their fair share of the costs of building, maintaining and safety of the infrastructure.”

OTA estimates the revenue the province lost from this loophole to be around $50 million a year.

“It’s not like we’re talking about construction vehicles which are clearly road-building machines,” Bradley said. “We’re talking about trucks, many of which are involved in a broad range of commercial activities deployed by profit-driven entities like any other commercial road user.”

The government’s plan seems to strike a better balance between roads, highways and bridges and transit, Bradley said.

“The dedication of at least a portion of the current fuel tax revenue to transportation and the establishment of two trust funds – one for transit in the GTHA and the other to meet the transportation needs, including for roads and bridges, in the rest of the province – is consistent with what we have been calling for,” he said.

But the budget bill will have to be passed if any of the measures are to take effect. 

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