ontario licence plate

Ontario is abandoning its new licence plates and going back to the old ones

It may feel like a lifetime since the biggest news in Ontario was the government's failed attempt at redesigning licence plates, but today the whole debacle finally comes to an end. 

A statement from Premier Doug Ford's office issued Wednesday indicates that the province is abandoning its plan to design and issue brand new licence plates, and instead returning to the classic white design and slogan. 

"In February, we commenced the process of designing and manufacturing a new licence plate," the statement reads. 

"However, after thorough testing by law enforcement and other key stakeholders, we are following their advice and will not be moving forward with the new plate for passenger vehicle use."

When the first version of the new plates was released earlier this year, it was quickly revealed that a problematic glare made them basically illegible in the dark, including by photo radar, 407 ETR cameras and border cameras.

Ford's team finally recalled the products at the end of February, but a subsequent attempt at a redesign proved far more difficult than expected. 

In early March, it was reported that the government had reluctantly decided to go back to the old white-with-blue-characters design that has adorned Ontario plates since the '70s, but with Ford's new "A Place To Grow" slogan. 

Now, it seems the government is backtracking completely and keeping the old plates with the same slogan. 

"Going forward, we will be using the 'Yours to Discover' white embossed licence plate," the government's statement notes. "The delamination issue with this plate has been resolved by the manufacturers with a five-year guarantee on the product."

According to the provincial government, approximately 145,000 blue plates were manufactured while they awaited test results from stakeholders, and they're currently exploring all options to use the plates where appropriate — such as for trailers or recreational vehicles. 

In the interim, they say they'll be exhausting all remaining passenger plates in stock, including the existing supply of new blue plates. 

The government is also asking people to refrain from visiting ServiceOntario centres to exchange licence plates unless absolutely necessary for the duration of the pandemic. 

Lead photo by

Service Ontario


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