ontario licence plate sticker

The Ontario government sent someone a $38K licence plate sticker refund

When Premier Doug Ford announced that his government was scrapping licence plate stickers, Ontarians were pleased with the prospect of saving $120 per vehicle per year.

As of March 13, 2022, passenger vehicles, light-duty trucks, motorcycles and mopeds have no longer been required to have licence plate stickers visible on their plates.

Car owners who'd already purchased a sticker over the 12 months previous to this rule coming into effect were even promised automatic refunds, putting "more money in the pockets of hard-working Ontarians," as Ford declared at the time.

Some people embraced the move, while others criticized it as short-sighted and a blatant ploy for votes ahead of the provincial election.

Then, as refunds started arriving at peoples' homes, new issues were raised — a major one involving people who got refunds without ever purchasing a licence plate sticker. The system was automated, after all. Nobody needed to apply, they just had to be in the system.

As it turns out, some people got a lot more money than others through Ontario's sticker refund program. Like... a lot more.

Data obtained and published this week by CTV News Investigates indicates that one single person recieved a plate sticker refund of more than $38,000 from the province this year.

CTV's Jon Woodward reports that about $32 million in total wound up going to "people who appeared to own more than five cars," though the majority of Ontario drivers got cheques for less than $1,000.

You can read about what experts and government officials are saying in regard to the wildly-high refund here (spoiler: critics suggest the program was flawed).

According to CTV, the highest refund received by any individual vehicle owner (whose name was not available but must have owned an entire fleet of cars) was the aforementioned $38K, though others received refunds as high as $16K and $19K.  

I mean... if you own that many cars, do you really need a measly $120 per whip? 

Some would say it doesn't matter — policy is policy and it should apply universally across the board. What can't be argued is that Ontario is no longer making money off its licence plate renewal system.

Stickers are no longer required, but that drivers can't simply go on without renewing their plates: Ontario still requires owners to renew their licence plates upon expiration, every one or two years, to confirm that they have insurance and don't have any outstanding charges, tolls or fines to pay.

The service is now free, but not everyone gets it. Drivers who aren't aware of the rules or simply ignore them can and have been served hefty tickets equating to as much as $1,000 each.

Lead photo by

Jeremy Gilbert

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