ONTARIO — An annual rite of vehicle ownership is over with the permanent elimination of licence plate renewal fees and stickers, effective March 13.
The province announced the surprise change last month and will refund licence plate renewal fees paid since March 2020, the start of the pandemic. A moratorium on renewing plate stickers was imposed at that time and was coming to an end last month.
Ontarians are expected to get their refunds around the time of this spring’s election.
Sticker renewal fees will not be reimbursed on commercial or company-owned vehicles, though they are also exempt from the requirement going forward.
Several other provinces have licence plates without stickers.
Ontario 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 fines.
Renewal fees and requirements for licence plate stickers for heavy commercial vehicles and snowmobiles remain unchanged.
Ontario introduced the sticker system in 1973. Before then, motorists still paid an annual renewal but changed their complete licence plates each year. And it all happened at the same time of year, creating long line-ups at MTO offices in January and February. The sticker system changed that by tying renewal to the vehicle owner’s birthday.