12/07/2011 11:38 EST | Updated 02/06/2012 05:12 EST

Government putting less snow-clearing equipment to clear highways: NDP

TORONTO - The NDP says the government is creating a perfect storm of frustrated motorists on Ontario highways this winter.

New Democrat Gilles Bisson says highways are being closed more frequently due to bad weather because there are fewer plows on the road.

He says the government has changed the terms of its plowing contracts, which means there's 25 per cent less equipment being used to clear highways.

Bisson says he noticed the change when highways 402, 11 and 17 were closed this year due to bad weather.

He says the government is jeopardizing road safety by lowering the maintenance standards in its winter maintenance contracts.

Transportation Minister Bob Chiarelli says Ontario has among the highest safety records on its highways in Canada, but promised to look into the complaint.