Ford announces elimination of licence plate stickers in March
Posted February 22, 2022 9:43 am.
Last Updated June 27, 2022 4:49 pm.
The Ford government confirmed Monday it is eliminating licence plate renewal fees and stickers and offering refunds for eligible Ontario drivers.
The move scrapping the renewal fees will take effect on March 13, three months before the upcoming provincial election in June.
“We are eliminating licence plate renewal fees and scrapping the requirement to have licence plate stickers for passenger vehicles, light-duty trucks, motorcycles and mopeds,” said Ford speaking at a news conference in Richmond Hill on Monday morning.
“On top of that, we are going to refund what you paid to renew your stickers for the past two years.”
The government is introducing red tape legislation later that will allow the province to refund eligible vehicle owners for any licence plate renewal fees paid since March 2020.
The move will save drivers $120 a year and will be one of the first new bills presented as the legislature returns this week. The annual renewal process will remain, but drivers will not incur new charges.
“People don’t need any more hurdles in the way of getting back on their feet and back to normal,” Ford said.
Once the legislation is passed, vehicle owners will receive a cheque in the mail beginning at the end of March and throughout the month of April.
To ensure a refund cheque, the province says vehicle owners who have recently moved will need to confirm their correct address on their vehicle permit or driver’s licence by March 7 and have all driving fines or fees paid off.
Taxpayer groups are applauding the removal of the renewal fees for drivers and are calling on the Ford government to keep lowering costs for consumers.
“Each family is probably going to save about $240 a year and that’s not insignificant,” says Jay Goldberg, Ontario Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. “We’re going to see real relief for people who are facing inflation and soaring cost of living.”
“We need to make sure that Premier Ford delivers on the promises he made in the last election, which includes lower gas taxes and it also includes a middle-class income tax cut.”
Goldberg says, outside of education and healthcare spending, there are a lot of savings that could be found to offset the loss of revenue for the province.
It was confirmed in November 2021 that the Ford government would be removing paper renewal notices and transitioning to a more digitally-convenient process. This includes adjusting the renewal notification process for driver’s licences, licence plate stickers, and health cards.
The government said the move would save up to $29 million in postage and mailing costs over five years as funds will be re-invested into critical programs, such as education.
Drivers have been allowed to use expired licence plate stickers since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the summer of 2020, Premier Ford’s government scrapped a redesign of Ontario’s licence plates, returning to the old, white-and-blue “Yours to Discover” version.
The blue licence plates that the Progressive Conservative government rolled out at the time using a slogan of “A Place to Grow” were pulled after they were widely denounced by local police officers and members of the public after people said the plates were impossible to read in the dark.
The province said about 145,000 of the blue plates were produced.
With files from CityNews reporters Richard Southern and Mike Eppel