The Ontario government has announced it is ending licence plate renewal fees and sticker fees by March 13 and will refund the cost of stickers purchased over the past two years.
“We are eliminating licence plate renewal fees,” Premier Doug Ford announced Tuesday morning. “And scrapping the requirement to have licence plate sticker for passenger vehicles, light-duty trucks, motorcycles and mopeds.”
Ford said the government will also refund licence plate sticker fees for those with individually-owned passenger vehicles who bought them from March 2020 onwards.
He said to get a refund, drivers will need to make sure the address on their licence is up to date by March 7 online or by phone with ServiceOntario at 1-888-333-0049.
Any outstanding tickets or fines must be paid for before receiving a refund.
Ontarians can expect to get a refund by the end of April via a cheque in the mail, Ford said.
“This means over 7.5 million vehicle owners can expect a refund,” Ford said.
Renewing a licence plate sticker would cost drivers $120 for the year in southern Ontario for passenger vehicles or $240 for two years. For those in northern Ontario, it would cost $60 for a year or $120 for two years.
When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit the province in 2020, the government suspended renewal requirements for various documents and the licence plate sticker in an effort to prevent crowds at ServiceOntario.
Ford said licence plates will still need to be renewed every one or two years — to ensure car insurance and any outstanding tolls or municipal fines are paid — but that it will be free to do so with no sticker required.
No refunds will be given for the period of March 2020 to March 2022 for passenger, light-duty commercial vehicles, motorcycles or mopeds that are owned by a business, the government said.
The elimination of the sticker fee program will cost the province $1.1 billion a year in revenue. Ford said “we’re just putting that back into your pocket and it’s about affordability” in response to the revenue loss.
The move comes as the provincial election is set for June in Ontario.
In an email to Global News Tuesday afternoon, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Transportation said the validation period of licence plates for individually owned passenger vehicles, light-duty trucks, motorcycles and mopeds has been extended to March 31, 2022.
“Validation for companies and businesses who own these vehicle types has been extended to September 30, 2022,” the email reads.
— with files from Ryan Rocca & The Canadian Press