by Brandon Mayer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The provincial government announced on February 22 that it would be eliminating license plate sticker renewal fees, effective March 13 of this year, with reimbursements for those who already purchased stickers retroactive to March 2020. License plate stickers have been an annual household expense in Ontario and in other provinces for decades. Most recently, a renewal sticker cost $120 per year per vehicle in our region, having increased in price several times over the past decade.
The sticker fees, in theory, were intended to help maintain the cost of building and maintaining roads and other infrastructure necessary for motor vehicles, while making sure that these costs would only be absorbed by those who owned vehicles. Now, Doug Ford’s government has decided that these fees are a burdensome expense for individuals and families.
“As the cost of living continues to go up, our government is cutting costs for families to make life more affordable,” said Ontario Premier, Doug Ford. “Eliminating the fee to renew your licence plate, and refunding the cost of doing so for the past two years, is a concrete way we can put and keep more money in the pockets of hard-working Ontarians.”
Unlike individual vehicle owners, businesses will not receive retroactive payments for licence sticker renewal fees already paid, but they will no longer have to pay to renew stickers. “Small businesses play a vital role in fostering Ontario’s economic growth,” said Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction, Nina Tangri. “Starting next month, eliminating renewal fees for vehicles owned by a company or business is just one of the many ways we are supporting small businesses across the province so they can continue to thrive and contribute to their communities.”
Vehicle owners will still have to renew their licence plate either once every year, or once every two years, to confirm that they have valid insurance and to pay any outstanding fines or tolls.
There is no need to apply for a refund for fees already paid, but anyone who has moved recently will need to update their mailing address and pay any outstanding fines in order to receive a refund cheque at their correct address in late March or April. Vehicle owners with up-to-date stickers can expect to receive a refund of at least $240, while those who have pre-paid for future years can expect to receive more. Updating your address with service Ontario can be completed at Ontario.ca/addresschange.