The size and scope of equipment and machinery being used for industrial and agricultural purposes has changed dramatically over the past number of years. Transportation laws need to strike the delicate balance between maintaining public roadways and facilitating business operations.


Municipalities, on behalf of the province, are responsible for the maintenance and upgrading of the majority of roads that farmers and industry access. Many of the aging roads were built poorly relative to today’s standard. For example, trees and black dirt were used as fill, and are not constructed to be able to weight-bear today’s large equipment, and are especially vulnerable to road damage during the spring and wet conditions. Unfortunately, most agricultural and many industrial operations are time and weather sensitive, requiring heavy equipment to be moved at times that are not always harmonious with current road conditions. Many of these roads service the rural area and are not a high priority for upgrades.

Our Recommendation

  1. Identify and publish the standards to which roads and bridges have been built and their weight bearing capacity, ensuring that information is used to set weight restrictions. Ensure a legislative mechanism exists for municipalities and the provincial government to waive weight bearing restrictions on a case-by-case analysis for roads that are a low priority for upgrading where the need is time sensitive;

  2. Identify roads and bridges in need of upgrading to allow for a more efficient heavy load system and provide budgeting based on economic reliance on a particular road;

  3. Undertake and continue in ongoing research to identify and ensure changes in vehicle and tire technologies reflect pressure transferred through to the roadway and update the legislative, permitting, and enforcement framework accordingly;

  4. Take into account appropriate exemptions for agricultural and other necessary timesensitive uses for public roadways;

  5. Improve communication and education about how to obtain the proper permits; and,

  6. Ensure permit providers obtain the correct and necessary information to make the

    process standard with minimal red tape.

Download The Policy Brief



If you have any questions, contact Dana Severson at or (780) 425-4180 ext. 2.