Since 1999, the Government of Ontario has put into effect a control on automobile emissions through its Drive Clean Program, which gives obligatory recommendations to vehicle owners that they need to get an emission test done.
This is a good thing for Toronto drivers and residents alike, because vehicles that produce too large an amount of particular emissions are weeded out. Vehicle emissions contribute to both smog and air pollution which have been on the rise for decades.
The Drive Clean program of emission testing applies to vehicles that are registered throughout the southern parts of Ontario right from Windsor across to Ottawa. Privately owned companies including vehicle dealerships and Canadian Tire administer it, and they have to be accredited by three different bodies to be accredited: the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, and Climate Change (MOECC).
When the program first started, only light duty vehicles that weighed under 4,500 kilograms and were more than three years old were included in it. They had to be tested for emissions every two years in order for the owner to have their license plate renewed. Ever since 2011, every vehicle that’s older than seven years has to have a vehicle emissions test done.
A different program called the Drive Clean program handles the emission testing for buses and heavy duty trucks. As soon as the vehicle is older than one year, they have to be tested annually. In addition, a visual check test is done by the Smog Patrol to make sure that all emissions control equipment is in working order. Smog Patrol Officers are authorized to issue Notices that force drivers to take their vehicle for a Drive Clean test and if the driver doesn’t comply within the stated time frame, a serious fine or plate seizure can result.