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HOT Lanes and Permits

Archived Backgrounder

HOT Lanes and Permits

Ministry of Transportation

Timeline for HOT Lanes and Permits

  • Sept. 15, 2016: Canada's first HOT lanes open on 16.5 kilometres of the QEW, in both directions, from Trafalgar Road in Oakville to Guelph Line in Burlington.
  • Nov. 1 to 30, 2016: Applications and permit renewals open for the next three-month HOT permit term (Jan. 1, 2017 to March 31, 2017) online through Ontario.ca/HOTLanes. A draw will follow to determine the successful applicants.
  • Up to 1,000 HOT permits will be made available for each three-month term, beginning with approximately 500 permits in the first term. Permits cost $180 for a three-month term and are renewable for a maximum of two terms.
  • If an applicant was not successful for the first term that starts on Sept. 15, they can enter a future draw for a next three-month HOT permit term. Permit applications will be accepted each February, May, August and November of the pilot project.

HOT Lanes Permit Stickers

Permit purchasers will receive HOT permit stickers in the mail. Two permits will be affixed to the vehicle, with one inside on the front windshield on the left side of the vehicle, and the second outside the vehicle on the rear windshield on the right side of the vehicle.

Who can use HOT Lanes?

  • Vehicles with a HOT permit
  • Vehicles with two or more people
  • Buses
  • Plug-in hybrid or battery electric vehicles with green licence plates
  • Emergency vehicles
  • Licensed taxis and airport limousines

Details about the Pilot

During the pilot, the province will explore and test innovative technology to support electronic HOT lanes in the future, including tolling, compliance and performance.

The QEW was selected for the pilot because, of the three existing HOV lanes in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, it has the most capacity available during peak traffic hours and will provide travel benefits in both directions throughout the day.

No existing general purpose lanes on provincial highways will be removed for HOT lanes, nor will drivers be required to pay to use any lanes on the QEW that they are currently allowed to use for free.

HOT permits can be used by eligible single occupant vehicles to access HOV lanes on the QEW only.  These permits are not valid for travel on other provincial or municipal HOV lanes.

Ontario continues to work with the Ontario Provincial Police to plan enforcement. If an HOT lane user is found in violation, they may be fined or issued a penalty. There are two options for issuing penalties:

  1. HOV offence - the penalty for improper HOV lane use is a fine of $110 and three demerit points
  2. Pilot offence - a fine of not less than $250 and not more than $2,500

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