Renewing Your Ontario License Plates in 2023 - A Full Guide
Written by DriveAxis.ca August 16, 2023
Every year (or two, depending on preferences), Ontario drivers from one end of the province to the other have renewed their license plates, as per the law. Thankfully, this process has been simplified in recent years, but drivers still need to understand a few things to make sure they aren’t running afoul of auto laws within the province.
Failure to renew your license plate can lead to fines and other charges, not to mention potential trouble with your insurance company, which should be avoided at all costs. This article is meant to provide all the tips you’ll need to renew your license plate properly, and stay on the right side of the law at the same time.
DO I NEED TO RENEW MY LICENSE PLATE STICKER?
A few years ago, this would have been necessary, but since the advent of Covid-19 and the increasing financial load on Ontarian households, the provincial government has decided to do away with license plate stickers altogether, along with fees. That’s right! You no longer need to fork out a significant amount of money each year to keep your license plate in good standing.
That doesn’t mean you can simply forget about your license plate altogether, however. License plates tie the vehicle in question to your particular automotive insurance company, and this allows law enforcement to quickly determine if said insurance policy is up-to-date and active. If not, you’ll face some steep fines and the probable suspension of your license if caught driving uninsured.
GOODBYE SERVICEONTARIO, HELLO WEB
Gone are the days of having to wait for hours in a ServiceOntario center just to renew your license plate sticker. Since they’re now obsolete, the opportunity has arisen to streamline the entire process by shifting it to a web-based model. Renewing your license plate is now as easy as visiting https://www.ontario.ca/page/renew-your-licence-plate and filling out the applicable information.
You’ll obviously require your license plate number along with the name of your insurance company, and policy number. You’ll also require the car’s permit number, which can be located on the back of your green ownership papers, and the odometer reading of your vehicle. After filling out this information, you can renew your plate for another 1-2 years. Note that if you’ve recently moved, you’ll need to notify the Ministry of Transportation within 6 days of your address being changed, before you can renew your plate.
KEEP TABS ON YOUR TICKETS
Just as before, you won’t be able to renew your license plate until you’ve paid any and all outstanding toll fees, tickets, etc. Under the new system, law enforcement databases are auto-updated the moment you renew your plate, so there’s no room for outstanding fees or tickets. Make sure you take care of these before you decide to renew your license plate, and give them a few business days to process beforehand. If necessary, check to make sure payments have gone through and that you are in the clear.
PRE-EXISTING LICENSE PLATE STICKERS
You may be wondering whether it’s necessary to physically remove years and years of compounded stickers on your license plate, but the answer is no. You may, if you wish, and suffer no penalties. Otherwise, leave them on as a reminder that you no longer have to actually go through the hassle of it all. This is largely subjective. If you’ve been itching to remove those stickers from your license plate for a cleaner look, now’s the time to do it.
CAN YOU STILL VISIT A SERVICEONTARIO LOCATION?
For those without internet access, or others who simply trust a human being instead of a computer, you may absolutely visit a ServiceOntario location to renew your license plate. This is especially good for less tech-savvy individuals who are afraid to make a mistake. Whichever method you choose, you won’t have to pay a renewal fee, wait for a sticker, or pay HST.
WHY YOU SHOULD RENEW YOUR LICENSE PLATES ON TIME
You may be tempted to drive around the city with an expired license plate, especially since there are no more fees or stickers involved, but don’t risk it. Ontario has adopted the ALPR (Automatic License Plate Recognition) system, which allows law enforcement to quickly detect whether a car is driving around with an expired plate.
The system is capable of scanning thousands of plates at a time, and matching them up with a large database of driver information. This allows law enforcement to hunt down stolen vehicles, find individuals with outstanding arrest warrants, or identify drivers with suspended licenses. Should your expired plate be detected, you’ll definitely be in hot water.
FINES FOR EXPIRED LICENSE PLATES
License plate renewals may be free, but the penalties for driving with expired plates are surely not. Besides the strong possibility of losing your insurance coverage, you could get hit with a $1,000 fine. Make sure to mark the date of renewal on your calendar so that you never forget. Those who choose to renew their plates online have the option of receiving automated digital reminders for added peace of mind. Regardless, the responsibility for renewing your license plate is yours, and yours alone.
A license plate is nothing without a car to stick it on, so why wait? DriveAxis has a full inventory of quality pre-owned cars backed by a rigorous inspection process, an outstanding warranty system, and a fully in-house financing department that guarantees approval to everyone, regardless of their credit history or current score. Let us help you choose your next car so you can take advantage of Ontario’s excellent feeless license plate system. It’s one less thing to worry about as you cruise the open road in style!