A driver needs a driver's license to drive a vehicle.

A business needs a CVOR license to operate commercial vehicles (trucks, busses, tow-trucks).

The police & MTO will use a driver's license to verify, if a driver is qualified to drive a vehicle, AND keep track of their on the road behaviour (moving violations).

The police & MTO will use CVOR license to verify a business can operation commercial transport, AND  keep track of the road behaviour of their drivers (and many other things).

So you can think of a CVOR as a 'driver's license' for the business (sole proprietor, one man army, etc.).

It allows a company/individual to plate and operate trucks over 4,500kg, tow trucks, and 10+ seater busses.

How does a CVOR certificate look like?

Instead of being a plastic assigned to a particular driver, it's a piece of paper assigned to a 'business' that covers all trucks, trailers, busses, drivers, and tow-trucks operated by the company. 


Who will ask for a CVOR?

  • ServiceOntario  or a truck dealer when you plate/renew your COMMERCIAL vehicle
  • Insurance agent during insurance application / renewal (they typically ask for CVOR Level 2 abstract as well)
  • An enforcement officer conducting a road-side inspection (police, OPP, MTO).

Are you exempt?

I had a number of people call me to find out that they were incorrectly instructed by various parties including Service Ontario to obtain CVOR registration.

In a nutshell, you (your vehicle is exempt), if:

- you're using a vehicle for personal (non- commercial) purposes

- it's a short term rental (under 30 days) to move personal goods without compensation

- it weighs under 4,500 kg (commercial or non-commercial purpose)

What does 4,500 kg include?

The weight of

+ Truck

+ Fuel 

+ Driver

+ Trailer (can be ignored, if it transmits less than 2,800kg to the ground)


Total Weight: 

As long as 'total weight' (Gross Weight) is under 4,500 kg, you don't need a CVOR to operate that truck or truck & trailer (regardless of weight).

A personal use pickup truck is exempt.

A personal-use pickup truck means a pickup truck that:

  • is being used for personal purposes without compensation
  • has a manufacturer's gross vehicle weight rating of 6,500 kg (14,330 lb) or less, and is fitted with either:
    • the original box that was installed by the manufacturer, which has not been modified, or
    • a replacement box that duplicates the one that was installed by the manufacturer and has not been modified
  • is not carrying or towing a trailer carrying commercial cargo or tools or equipment of a type normally used for commercial purposes

Note: the term here is gross vehicle weight rating! It is different from the weight of the truck. It is the maximum weight the truck can be once it's fully loaded, as designed and determined by the manufacturer.

The number is typically displayed on the door of the truck in a form of a sticker.

What else can you do without a CVOR?

You can get a transit permit. For example, to get your safety done.

You can transfer the ownership of the vehicle. You only need CVOR to buy a plate for the vehicle. You can still transfer a vehicle in your name (provided other conditions are met), and you can leave it unplated.

Detailed Exemption List

  • A truck or bus leased by an individual for 30 days or less to move their personal goods, or to carry passengers at no fare
  • An unladen truck or bus operating under the authority of a dealer plate or service plate
  • A bus used for personal purposes without compensation
  • A motor home used for personal purposes
  • A pickup truck used for personal purposes (see above)
  • A truck under 4,500kg of gross weight (regardless of use purpose)

What Vehicles Require CVOR

Generally, personal or light commercial vehicles are exempt, but everything else isn't.

Interestingly, a Class G license, which is generally thought of as a personal one, allows to drive many of the CVOR trucks.

The CVOR system distinguishes the vehicles based on their types:

  • Trucks, tractors or trailers and any combination of these vehicles that have a weight of more than 4,500 kg

Note:  the weight of the truck includes the weight of the trailer attached, if the trailer transmits over 2,800kg to the ground.

  • Concrete pumps, mobile, cranes, road building equipment with a weight of more than 4,500 kg (recent addition to the list)

  • Tow trucks, regardless of registered gross weight or actual weight (added around 2017)

  • Buses with a manufactured seating capacity of 10 persons or more, excluding the driver

  • Accessible vehicles and school purposes vehicles, depending upon use

How to apply for a CVOR

Step 1: Submit your application (Online or by Fax/Mail)

Note: if you had a CVOR record issued previously, you cannot use the 'new application' process (online / paper). You have to use a different process called 'Re-Entry'

You can submit your application online

  • You will need to create "ONE KEY" account, if you don't have one already.
  • Then you'll be able to submit your application
  • You will still need to fill and scan/upload a PDF file in the process (it's called a consent form)

Alternatively you can apply by Fax or Mail. The application flow forks the type of the applicant: corporate or personal (includes sole proprietors).


  • The PDF file is "sophisticated" (interactive). If you have trouble opening the file, you can use the blank version as applies to your application type.

Corporate Applications:

Blank Corporate CVOR Application (PDF Downloadable)

Blank Corporate CVOR Application - Consent Form (required)

Personal Applications (includes sole proprietors):

Blank Personal CVOR Application (PDF Downloadable)

Blank Personal CVOR Application - Consent Form (required)

Payment Form:

(Yes, you can with a credit card)


Watch the video how to fill the pdf file

Mailing Address (Completed Applications):

CVOR Processing Unit

Licensing, Permits and Support Office

301 St. Paul Street, 3rd Floor

St. Catharines, Ontario

L2R 7R4



Email / eFaxes:

  • you can't send your CVOR application by email successfully; the system will automatically reject it citing 'sensitive information' (credit card info)
  • you can't send your CVOR application by eFax; a service where you first email the fax server your information and then the fax server sends a fax to the ministry (same reason as above)
  • faxes that are physically connected to a landline still work

Step 2: Wait for a letter "CVOR Test Required"

  • Ontario based carriers will receive a letter, instructing them to take the written test
  • Only a director of the corporation or the individual applying can take the test
  • The application processing times vary between 6-10 weeks

Step 3: Take the test at DriveTest center

  • take the letter "Written Test Required" together with documentation listed on the letter to the nearest DriveTest Center facility (appointment is not required)
  • the letter will list specific individuals who can take the test (applicant, director/owner)

Step 4: Receive CVOR certificate

  • DriveTest center will send your test results to CVOR Processing Unit
  • The CVOR Office will conduct a final review of the file, and
  • issue a CVOR certificate (within 1-2 business days, usually delivered by email)

How to Check CVOR Status Online

There are multiple answers to this question, and they depend on where you are coming from.

If your CVOR certificate has already been issued:

If you are a current or past certificate holder, you can use the following link to check the status of your CVOR:

Please note that the project is currently in the pilot stage, but it provides important data regarding your record. Essentially, it provides information similar to that displayed on a CVOR Level 2 abstract.

If you have applied for a CVOR by mail or fax:

The Carrier Records system may not be of much use if your CVOR has not been formally assigned yet. In this case, the best way to find out the status of your application is by calling the MTO:


1-800-387-7736 (within Ontario) or 416-246-7166

You can also use the email option, but as of June 16, 2023, the email response times were lengthy (7-10 days).


[email protected]

If you have applied for a CVOR using an online portal:

The status of your application will be submitted within the same portal. Here are the interpretations of the status messages:

  • Submitted: Your application has been submitted and is in the queue for processing.
  • Pending NEEEP Test: You should have received an email from the office asking you to take the test. If you have completed your test and the message is stuck here, please contact the ministry.
  • In Progress: If you have passed your test, your file is at the final review stage. You should receive your certificate shortly. If you did not receive your letter to take the test, this message indicates that your letter is being issued.
  • CVOR issued: Your certificate has been issued, and you should have received it by email.
  • Expired: This means your application has expired.

Sometimes the system gets stuck at a particular stage. In that case, we suggest contacting the ministry for troubleshooting.

What happens after I pass my test?

A lot of times clients would reach out to me after they had aced their test, but the clerk as DriveTest Center gave some strange informationranging between "it will be mailed within six weeks" to some other version of "I don't know".

Here is what happens:

  1. DriveTest sends test results to MTO (you don't have to do anything)
  2. MTO begins to conduct a Final Review of the file (CVOR maybe denied even though the test was passed)
  3. MTO finalizes the review and emails the certificate (usually within 1-2 business days)

Can I operate my truck interim?

You can operate once you put a copy of a CVOR certificate into truck

What do you mean "CVOR can be denied"?

A client reached after they had received a letter "Refuse to Issue CVOR Certificate". The reason was previous affiliation with a carrier who failed a facility audit. Long story short, it is a happy client these days, who invites me for an annual safety refresher.

What can go wrong?

If you have not heard from MTO within 2-3 business days, most likely there was an issue somewhere between the test center to sending the results. You would need to call MTO (and be prepared to wait on hold for a very long time; don't email as emails have a very long response times).

How to Get CVOR Level 2 Abstract

CVOR Level 2 is often asked by the insurance company during the initial application or during renewal.

Usually, clients email me about this step once everything else was done.

There are a number of ways to accomplish this goal.

Source 1: order in person

If you prefer a more immediate option, you can visit a ServiceOntario location in person. They offer a walk-in service where they can print the CVOR Level 2 abstract for you on the spot. However, please make sure to bring an authorization letter with you.

Note: if you have a well established CVOR with a lot of events and records, then your abstract may exceed print page limit of 50. You may need to order two separate abstracts, one for each year.

Verdict: fast for urgent requests

Source 2: order online

You can order the CVOR Level 2 abstract online using the following link:

IMPORTANT: even though the order can be placed online, the abstract will still be delivered to you by regular mail within 10 business days. So for urgent orders, might as well get it from ServiceOntario.

Verdict: convenient for non-urgent requests

Source 3: view online

An alternative option is the pilot project available at

This platform allows users to view real-time carrier data online. Although it does not provide an actual CVOR Level 2 abstract, you can still extract the same data. Please note that this option may require additional registrations. It's important to mention that this online view may not be suitable for compliance purposes and is likely not suitable for insurance purposes.

Verdict: convenient for monitoring, generally not accepted by insurance

Best ways to contact the ministry regarding your CVOR Questions?

The following offices are not useful in providing any CVOR related information,  which includes any and all particular questions you have regarding your particular case:

  • ServiceOntario - you can only get your truck plates there.  They simply check whether or not you do have a CVOR or not. Secondly, there's been a few cases where ServiceOntario would provide an outdated CVOR application form.

  • DriveTest Ontario - you can only take a CVOR test there. No updates to your particular file are possible through this agency. They oftentimes provided outdated CVOR information.

To reach out the CVOR office directly, use the following:

By phone:


Be prepared to find your way through the maze of choices, but it is possible to get to a live person.

Be prepared to spend a considerable amount of time and hold. Any automated assistant on your phone that can hold for you is very very useful.

By email:

[email protected]

It's not unusual to receive an email response within 

CVOR Under the Hood

Details for Nerds

CVOR System is an expanded version of the driver's licensing system.

A driver must demonstrate knowledge and experience in operating a vehicle. There are rules in place that determine the maximum driving speed, among other things. If a driver violates these rules, a punitive system is in place. Progressive (harsher) interventions are implemented for repeat offenders. Driver performance is measured in points, with points deducted for violations.

The CVOR system builds upon and expands this framework. The owner/director is required to pass a knowledge test for the license to be issued, without the need for a driving test. A de-facto point system is in place, although it has been overhauled to use percentages (for better or worse). Points are tracked in three categories: moving/driver-related violations, mechanical issues, and accidents or crashes.

For example, if a driver exceeds the maximum allowed hours of driving in a day, the operator loses points, and both the operator and the driver could be charged. Another example is when a truck is inspected at the weigh-scale and a turn signal is found to be not working. In such cases, "mechanical points" are deducted, and the truck is placed out-of-service until the signal is fixed.

The points in the three categories are mathematically processed, and the operator is assigned an 'overall score' expressed as a percentage. If an operator loses 30% of the assigned points (equivalent to accumulating five points on a personal driver's license), they automatically receive a formal warning letter (in the mail or via email). Further points lost or other events may trigger a facility audit.

Now, let's consider a personal license system. Each driver is assigned 15 points. The CVOR system takes into account that one operator may have one truck, while another may have a hundred. To facilitate this, the system uses a mathematical model to calculate assigned points based on the overall fleet mileage. The more kilometers an operator's fleet travels, the more points are assigned. The system is set up in a way that after a certain threshold each additional kilometer travel, yields less additional points.

In the past, a personal license system also used a star rating system (e.g., three-star driver, four-star driver, etc.), which has now been discontinued. However, the CVOR system has a 'star' system in place. Alternatively, you can think of it as letters: A-F in a classic school system. When the CVOR is issued, each operator starts with a letter "C": satisfactory unaudited. If an operator fails a facility audit (usually triggered by a drop in their overall score), their rating is downgraded to "D": conditional, or in the worst case, "F": suspended. On the other end of the spectrum, if all is well and an operator passes a facility audit, they receive a "B": satisfactory-audit. And once certain criteria are met, they can achieve an "A": excellent rating.

Therefore, operators are classified based on two variables, such as "C" - satisfactory-unaudited, and the overall safety violation rate, for example, 20% (equivalent to having 3 points in a personal license system).

The overall safety violation rate (i.e., how many points were lost) and the carrier safety rating ("C" - satisfactory unaudited) are used by:

  • Enforcement personnel to determine the frequency and depth of inspections.
  • Insurance companies to calculate insurance premiums (or deny insurance altogether for "conditional" ratings).
  • The registrar to prioritize operators for audits and interventions.

Once a CVOR number is assigned, it remains with the operator indefinitely. It also follows the director to a new business if they decide to move elsewhere. I recently assisted a client in obtaining a CVOR for their new venture. They came to me after the CVOR refused to issue a CVOR certificate because the director had failed a facility audit 13 years ago. In that sense, it works somewhat like a personal driver's license.

In the past CVOR certificates did not have expiry dates. Currently, each certificate has to be renewed annually (or biennially under certain conditions).

CVOR Requirements

The things required to apply for a CVOR are surprisingly simple.
Corporate applications:

- articles of incorporation

Personal Applications:

- personal identification

It is worth listing items that ARE NOT required (at the time of application):

A driver's license (you simply don't need one). This also means it's okay to apply even if you have a G1 license. Rationale, you can employ a licensed driver to operate the vehicle, so as an applicant you don't need to have a valid license.

Articles of incorporation: you don't need to be incorporated. You can apply as a person.

Truck, bus or other equipment. You don't need to buy the truck or bus in order to apply. You can apply before the deal is finalized.

Insurance. You don't need to have a valid insurance at the time of application. It is a good idea to get a quote and to make sure you are insurable, but it's not a formal requirement for the purpose of the application.

Putting ducks in order ... you do need:

  • a driver to have a valid and proper driver's license
  • a valid insurance
  • a valid CVOR certificate
  • and other applicable things

to drive (operate) a truck, once the CVOR is issued.