Ministry of Transportation

Office Snapshot

  • Location: Downsview (Toronto)
  • Lawyers: 17
  • Articling Students: 2
  • Summer Law Students: 0
  • Types of Law: Aboriginal, Access & Privacy, Administrative, Civil, Commercial, Constitutional, Construction, Contract & Procurement, Corporate, Environmental, Provincial Offences, Real Estate, Real Property, Torts, Transportation

Who we are

The Ministry of Transportation (MTO) supports a prosperous economic climate by building and managing a safe and efficient transportation system in Ontario. The core business of MTO includes Road User Safety, Provincial Highways Management and Transportation Policy and Planning.

What we do

The Legal Service Branch of the Ministry of Transportation provides legal services to all areas of the ministry in every aspect of its affairs.

We are organized functionally along the ministry’s core business lines with a Road User Safety Section, a Provincial Highways Management Section and a Transportation Policy and Planning Section. Counsel in all three sections practice in broad areas of the law and provide a full range of services to the ministry including:

  • Prosecutions and appeals
  • Civil litigation
  • Real estate and expropriation
  • Legislative and regulatory drafting
  • Opinions on road user safety
  • Drafting of and negotiating contracts
  • Advising on transportation law, corporate and commercial law, freedom of information and protection of privacy, construction liens, procurement law, electronic commerce and alternative service delivery.

Our major cases

We have been centrally involved in several prosecutions and civil matters that touch on significant issues of public policy and safety. A few examples include:

  • Badesha v. HMQ:  Constitutional challenge to the motorcycle helmet law in the Highway Traffic Act on the basis that it infringes the religious freedom of persons of the Sikh faith who wear turbans
  • Bothwell v. HMQ: Applicant challenged the ministry requirement of a photo on a driver’s license on the grounds that having his photo taken was against his religious beliefs
  • R. v. Dean: One of many constitutional challenges to the street racing provisions of the Highway Traffic Act the ministry is currently facing
  • Fourteenth Avenue Cartage Company Inc. v. MTO: Challenge to the authority of prosecutors to use the service provisions of the POA to compel defendants residing outside Ontario to attend Ontario court
  • R. v. Transport Robert (1973): Court upheld the absolute liability offence for truck wheel detachment (flying truck wheels) under the Highway Traffic Act as constitutional
  • R. v. Horsefield: Court upheld the constitutionality of the Highway Traffic Act automatic 90 day drivers license suspension for impaired driving

What students do

Students at MTO have a varied articling experience and will:

  • Assist in a wide variety of prosecutions and civil litigation, including Provincial Offences Act prosecutions, Superior Court, Court of Appeal, Small Claims Court, Ontario Municipal Board, Ontario Human Rights Tribunal and the Licence Appeal Tribunal
  • Prepare submissions, interview witnesses, and attend court with or on behalf of counsel
  • Have complete carriage of several (upwards of 100) Small Claims Court matters including issuing the claim, handling all preliminary matters and taking the matter to pre-trial and trial
  • Conduct significant research related to court matters, including the interpretation of continuing innovative vehicles such as the Segway, unconventional three-wheeled vehicles, farm vehicles, recreational motor homes, etc. Some of these cases have ended up in the Court of Appeal and students have provided valuable research and assistance along the way.

Students will also assist counsel on significant corporate and commercial issues related to new and challenging business opportunities presented at the ministry. There will be an emphasis on research and opinions on matters relating to corporate and commercial law, procurement law, property law (including liens and expropriation), transportation law, and freedom of information and protection of privacy issues. Students may have an opportunity to work with ministry clients on new regulatory and legislative initiatives and may assist counsel in drafting legislation and regulations.

Why choose us

"After articling with the Legal Services Branch of the MTO I can honestly say that I could not have chosen a better place for my articling. I was exposed to a diversity of challenging work and was given considerable responsibilities, such as conducing prosecutions and direct client contact. The people here are great to work with and are genuinely interested in helping me get the most out of the articling experience. All lawyers were extremely open to provide me with support and guidance and to assist me in fulfilling my responsibilities. The Branch has exceeded my expectations and I could not ask for a better place to work at." - Former Articling Student

Our office has a collegial atmosphere with counsel providing guidance and mentoring to students. Students who complete their articles with us will have gained significant and broad based litigation and solicitor's expertise and experience towards the establishment of their legal career, whether in the private or public sector.

Contact us

Mr. Jamie Hanson,
Counsel & Chair, Ministry of Transportation - Articling Program
Ministry of Transportation