Tolls on Hwys 412 and 418 to be scrapped April 5, Premier Ford tells Whitby press conference


Published February 18, 2022 at 2:24 pm


Premier Doug Ford called it “a great day for Durham Region,” while long-suffering drivers in the region are likely calling it “about time” as the provincial government announced the elimination tolls on Highway 407 connecter roads 412 and 418.

Ford was in Whitby today (Feb. 18) to announce the long-awaited elimination of tolls on Highways 412 and 418, which will take effect April 5.

The two routes are the only tolled north-south highways in Ontario. The 412 runs through Whitby connecting the 401 with Highway 407 and has cost drivers up to 88 cents per kilometer since 2017.

The 418 through Clarington connecting the same 400 series highways has cost drivers up 48 cents per kilometre since it’s opening in 2019.

All Progressive Conservative candidates in the 2018 election, namely Lorne Coe of Whitby, Peter Bethlenfalvy of Pickering-Uxbridge, Bob Chapman of Oshawa, Lindsey Park of Durham (now Independant) and Rod Phillips of Ajax (since resigned), ran on a promise to remove these tolls.

Oshawa MPP Jennifer French, who defeated Chapman in the only non-PC win in the Region, also pledged to fight for their removal.

According to Regional Chair John Henry talks began with the province shortly after the 2018 election, but nothing ultimately came of them at the time.

French introduced two motions to remove the tolls in 2018 and 2021, but each was defeated in Queen’s Park. She brought it up a again in Question Period in December 2021, reading a letter from Durham’s mayors calling for the end of the tolls.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ford Government froze toll increases, but did not remove them. In response to French’s address, Transport Minister Caroline Mulroney blamed previous minister and current Liberal leader Steven Del Duca for signing a contract that prevented such a move.

Ford announced the toll removal alongside Bethlenfalvy, Coe, Mulroney, and Environment Minister David Piccini. Durham Region was also represented by Henry, Clarington Mayor Adrian Foster, and Whitby Mayor Don Mitchell.

“As we continue to protect the hard-won gains in our fight against the epidemic, our government is continuing to move forward with a plan to build a better and brighter future,” Coe said.

The tolls were “costly and unfair and while previous governments were fine with that, we aren’t,” Ford said.

“They’re gone. They’re done,” he added. “Getting rid of these tolls will bring real tangible relief to the people of Durham and surrounding regions. It will cut costs for families and provide more travel options for residents.”

Ford had said he’d “love to remove the tolls” in August 2020, but later said it would have to wait until the highways are paid off.

On why the government took nearly four years to deliver the campaign promise Ford said there was “a lot of issues,” and “some things don’t happen overnight.”

“Over the last two years, obviously, the burden on the back of businesses and people has been tremendous…It’s time that we give back to the people of Durham.”

French released a statement shortly after Ford’s announcement calling the move “long overdue,” while celebrating the move as “a victory for the people of Durham Region.”

“People in Durham should never have had to spend years shelling out money for community highways to get to and from their homes, to work or to visit family and friends. That was a terrible move from Steven Del Duca and the Liberals.”

“Doug Ford could and should have removed the tolls of on Highways 412 and 418 years ago — instead, his government let my 2018 bill to end the tolls languish at committee.” French continued. “That means drivers shelled out extra cash for an extra four years just because Doug Ford wanted to wait until just before an election to do what was right all along.”

The two highways will be free to use on April 5.

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