'Another fail by #DougFord': Ontario drivers face stiff fines for not renewing licence plates, despite lack of reminders

·5 min read
'Another fail by #DougFord': Ontario drivers face stiff fines for not renewing licence plates, despite lack of reminders

While Ontario scrapped licence plate renewal stickers earlier this year, many people are learning the hard way that there’s still a fine for plates that haven’t been renewed.

While the yearly $120 fee is no longer required to keep plates up-to-date, those who don’t renew them are facing hefty fines - $500.

The issue has inspired the Ontario Provincial Police’s Highway Safety Division to post a video on social media. In it, OPP Sergeant Kerry Schmidt says that while you might get birthday cards in the mail, one thing you no longer will get in your postbox is a renewal notice from the Ministry of Transportation to renew your VAL tag for your passenger vehicle, light commercial truck, motorcycle or moped.

“It may not cost anything, but you are still required to go online and renew your registration,” he says.

He adds that plates typically expire on the owner’s birthday and that they’re responsible for renewing their validation.

A spokesperson for OPP told Yahoo Canada News that the police department is not responsible for setting fines or making the rules - they’re responsible for enforcing them - but that they made the video because they found themselves often running into the problem of people not renewing their licences.

Matti Siemiatycki, director of the Infrastructure Institute and a professor of geography and planning at the University of Toronto, says the province moved very quickly to remove the renewable licence fees, so if it hasn't been properly communicated that licences still must be removed, they need to work on that.

"They probably need to get out and spread the message more widely, if there's confusion," he says. "In public communication, clarity and repetition are key so I think now if it's becoming noticeable there's an issue, the next step is to go back and make sure the message is clear that you have to renew your licence renewable plates...so people aren't inadvertently caught up in fines."

Some people took to social media to express their frustration with the costly fees and the lack of reminders.

Service Ontario does have a digital reminder service that will send out an automated email, text message, or phone call notification reminder 60 or 30 days before it’s time to renew your licence plate, driver’s licence, or health card.