pass plow ontario highway

Ontario is trying to make it illegal for drivers to pass snow plows on highways

The already-risky practice of overtaking an annoyingly slow-moving snow plow could soon be illegal in Ontario.

New legislature tabled by the provincial government on Tuesday aims to pass a sweeping list of changes designed to cut what Doug Ford's Ontario PC party characterizes as "red tape," including measures to clamp down on plow-passers on highways.

The bluntly-worded Less Red Tape, Stronger Economy Act, 2023 includes 42 initiatives that, if passed, the government claims will "save businesses, not-for-profits, and the broader public sector $119 million in net annual regulatory compliance costs."

Some of the measures include amending the Building Broadband Faster Act to bring high-speed internet access to every community in Ontario by 2025, changes to occupational health and safety standards in the mining sector, piloting new carbon storage innovations (because cars!), and updating the province's child and spousal support orders system.

Framed as a measure to allow for better and more efficient services, the Act also seeks to amend the Highway Traffic Act, introducing a new section prohibiting drivers from overtaking working snow plows unless a full lane is available.

"Reducing red tape is a key part of building a stronger economy and improving services for Ontarians. That's why our government is continuing to bring forward burden reduction packages that are saving businesses nearly $700 million each year in compliance costs," said Parm Gill, Minister of Red Tape Reduction.

"Our Spring 2023 Red Tape Reduction Package adds to our strong track record of improving access to government services and making it easier to invest and build in Ontario."

While PC cabinet members tout the act as an achievement — the party's 11th such Red Tape Reduction package and the 10th Red Tape Reduction bill since taking power in 2018 — others are ringing the alarm bell that the phrase "cutting red tape" is often a code for deregulation.

Similar criticisms have been lobbied at past legislature aimed at "cutting red tape," though certain aspects of the proposed act are unlikely to generate much dissent, including the snow plow passing change.

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