Ontario scrapping licence plate sticker, renewal fees

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ONTARIO—The province of Ontario is eliminating licence plate renewal fees and requirements for drivers to have a licence plate sticker, as of March 13.

“As the cost of living continues to go up, our government is cutting costs for families to make life more affordable,” said Premier Doug Ford. “Eliminating the fee to renew your licence plate and refunding the cost to do so for the past two years is a concrete way we can put and keep more money in the pockets of hard-working Ontarians.”

The government introduced red tape legislation on February 22 that enables it to provide refunds to eligible individual owners of vehicles for any licence plate renewal fees paid since March 2020. Upon passage, vehicle owners will receive a cheque in the mail starting at the end of March and throughout the month of April.

To receive a refund cheque, vehicle owners who have moved recently will need to conform that their address information on their vehicle permit or driver’s licence is up-to-date at Ontario.ca by March 7, and pay any outstanding fees, fines or tolls. For more information and/or assistance with changing an address, vehicles owners can call ServiceOntario’s dedicated line at 1-888-333-0049.

Under the proposal, renewal fees will also be eliminated for passenger, light duty commercial vehicles, motorcycles and mopeds that are owned by a company or business. However, no refunds will be given for the period of March 2020 to March 2022.

Vehicle owners will still be required to renew their licence plate every one or two years at no cost to confirm their automobile insurance is valid and pay any outstanding Highway 407 tolls and other municipal fines.

The government is also investing in automated licence plate recognition (ALPR) technology as part of its commitment to provide police with the tools they need to do their jobs, improve public safety, and strengthen roadside law enforcement efforts across the province. An ALPR system can read thousands of licence plates per minute allowing officers to process more information on licence plates. It also has the capability of capturing vehicles of interest such as amber alerts, drivers with a suspended licence and stolen vehicles.

Renewal fees and requirements for licence plate stickers for heavy commercial vehicles and snowmobiles remain unchanged.

The measures will save drivers $120 a year ($60 per year for people in Northern Ontario) but will cost the province $1.1 billion a year in lost revenue.