licence plate renewal

Ontario police explain confusing new rule that is getting so many drivers fined

Though many people in Ontario haven't been the happiest with Premier Doug Ford's tenure for various reasons, there was one move he made that got citizens as excited as his failed buck a beer initiative: his recent elimination of licence plate stickers.

The stickers, which had been around for decades, served as proof that a driver held a valid, up-to-date vehicle registration for a cost of about $120 year, depending on the type of vehicle and region — a cost that Ford wanted to nix "to make life more affordable as the cost of living continues to go up."

The sticker program came to an end on March 13, and refunds for any renewal fees paid in or after March 2020 were issued, something that some were excited about and others considered a bribe from Ford and his party leading up to the provincial election.

Unfortunately, though, there's been some confusion about the rules, with many unaware that, despite the fact that there is now no cost attached to the process, we all still have to renew our vehicle registrations.

It's led to a lot of surprise and anger from motorists who've received tickets as a result — something that is apparently still happening months after-the-fact based on a PSA from Ontario Provincial Police this week.

The OPP Highway Safety Division team took to Twitter on Friday to remind the public that even though stickers and renewal fees are a thing of the past, drivers still need to renew their registration, or face a hefty fine.

"One thing you will no longer get in the mail is that renewal notice from the Ministry of Transportation to renew your tag for your passenger vehicle, light commercial truck, motorcycle or moped," Sergeant Kerry Schmidt said in a video shared to the platform.

"It may not cost anything, but you are still required to go online and renew your registration."

He also added that officers provincewide have seen an uptick in cars on the road without proper registration, the fine for which can be up to $1,000 if convicted under the Highway Traffic Act. Some drivers have already been hit with tickets for hundreds.

Renewing one's registration online or at a ServiceOntario location is thankfully easy (and now free) — that is, for those who know they still have to do it.

Hilariously enough, even with this message from the force, drivers are still baffled about the process, with multiple people replying to the OPP's tweet to ask why they haven't yet received their new stickers (which no longer exist) in the mail after renewing.

Lead photo by

A Graat Capture

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