Ontario License Plate Renewal (September, 2023)

Ontario License Plate Renewal (September, 2023)

In order to legally drive on the roadways in Ontario, you must have a valid license plate, and be legally insured to drive in Ontario.

This is true no matter what type of vehicle you drive, or whether it’s part of your profession. Ontario license plate renewal is simply another aspect of car ownership.

But with the changes to the annual renewal sticker system, the Ontario license plate renewal system can definitely be confusing to some people. What’s worse is that there are steep penalties if you don’t renew your license plates on time.

We’ll tell you everything you need to know about Ontario license plate renewal in this article.

Do I need to renew my license plate sticker in Ontario?

Yes and no. There’s no longer a sticker involved in the Ontario license plate renewal process.

The government in Ontario specifies that you need two things to legally drive your car on the road in Ontario:

  1. A valid license plate
  2. Insurance

Because of the previous sticker system, many drivers in Ontario have become used to renewing their license plates every year or two. And the Ontario license plate renewal process links your insurance to the vehicle you’re renewing your plates on.

In order to complete your license plate renewal, you have to provide insurance information like your policy number and the insurance company name.

This information is filed with your license plate information so that when law enforcement runs your plates, insurance information is readily available, too.

All of this is still required, even though the license plate renewal sticker isn’t part of the process anymore.

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Ontario License Plate Renewal

If you own a passenger vehicle or a light-duty vehicle that weighs less than 3,000 kg, or a motorcycle or moped, then you’re required to renew your license plate every 1-2 years. The date usually falls before your birthday.

Here are a few facts about the Ontario license plate renewal process:

  • You no longer receive a sticker when you renew your license plates.
  • There are no license plate renewal fees.
  • Law enforcement can instantaneously see the updates to your license plate status.

Heavy commercial vehicles are now able to renew their license plates online, too.

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What to know before you renew your license plates

Here’s everything you need for your Ontario license plate renewal:

  • Vehicle permit number
  • License plate number
  • Insurance information (company name and policy number)
  • Odometer readings
  • Payment for any fines, fees or tolls that have been defaulted
  • Payment for any renewal fees
  • If you’re renewing license plates on a heavy-duty diesel vehicle, an emissions test.

Ontario license plate renewal: online and in person

You now have the option to do your license plate renewal online. Here’s what you need to know about renewing:

  • The license plate expiration date is usually linked to your birthday.
  • You’re allowed to renew your license plate up to 180 days before their expiration date.
  • If you’re a joint registrant or business owner, you should check the vehicle permit to find out its expiration date.

Here’s the link to renew your license online: Online license plate renewal. As soon as you open the link there’s a pop-up message that allows you to sign up for digital reminders so that you won’t forget to renew, as well. You can set reminders up by text, email or phone call.

You can also renew your license in person. Click here to find a location.

The elimination of license plate stickers

License plate stickers are no longer part of the Ontario license plate renewal process for passenger vehicles, motorcycles, mopeds, and light-duty trucks.

Because of this, any sticker renewal fees that were collected between March 1, 2022 and March 12, 2022 were refunded.

If by chance you didn’t receive your refund by September 2022, you should check your driver’s license to see if the address is correct and update it if it isn’t correct, then pay any fines, fees or tolls that have defaulted. If you still haven’t received your refund, call 1-888-333-0049 to get the situation sorted.

Cost for license plate renewal

For most passenger vehicles, mopeds, motorcycles, and light-duty trucks the fee is $0. This fee varies based on different factors, like whether it’s a company vehicle, snowmobile or trailer.

You can print receipts for your license plate renewal if you’ve renewed them online, and you can request a receipt if you renew them in-person as well.

When you pay in person, you can use cheques, money orders, cash, Visa, Mastercard or Interac.

Here are some considerations if you’re paying with a cheque:

  • If you’re using a company cheque, it must have the company’s name printed on it.
  • All cheques must be made out to the Minister of Finance.
  • If you use a personal cheque, it must be certified. Uncertified personal cheques won’t be accepted.

Once you’ve completed the renewal, it will automatically become visible to law enforcement, so no worries there.

Ontario license plate renewal for business owners, heavy commercial vehicles or dealers

For vehicles under 3,000 lbs

You’re able to renew the license for up to 10 vehicles at a time, so long as they weigh 3,000 lbs or less, such as motorcycles, mopeds, light duty vehicles, snow vehicles or passenger vehicles.

Although plate renewals are free now, businesses are still required to pay any unpaid dues that were charged between March 2020-March 12, 2022. When you renew your license plates, you must pay these fees.

For vehicles over 3,000 lbs

You can renew your license plates online for up to 5 different vehicles at a time. Some vehicles over 3,000 lbs include farm-plated vehicles, buses/school buses.

Snow vehicles

Ontario license plate renewal for snow vehicles still involves stickers. You can renew your snow vehicle license plate sticker online here, or also in-person at a local ServiceOntario centre. It costs $0 in Northern Ontario, or $15 in Southern Ontario.

If your sticker is expiring soon

You get a temporary license plate sticker either 14 days before it expires, or after it expires, once you’re renewed it.

Until your sticker arrives, you’ll be required to print your temporary license plate validation document and make sure to keep it in the vehicle, as well as keep the expired sticker on the plate in the meantime.

Your temporary license plate sticker validation document serves as proof of sticker renewal, and it gives you an additional 14 days from the time you renewed your sticker until the arrival of your new sticker.

Renewing in person means that you’ll be issued a new sticker at the centre.

Unpaid fines

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Driver’s fines or fees

Defaulted driver’s fines encompass for moving violations that don’t involve vehicle fines (like highway toll or parking).

Some of these moving violations include:

  • Drinking and driving
  • Racing
  • Speeding
  • Careless driving

If your license was suspended then you’ll have to pay an Administrative Monetary Penalty (AMP) or reinstatement fee.

Your license could be suspended in court, at the side of the road, or by receiving a letter from the Ministry of Transportation.

You can’t renew your license plate without paying defaulted driver’s fines.

You can pay driver’s fines here.

Fines, penalties and tolls for vehicles

Upon Ontario license plate renewal, you can also pay overdue vehicle fines, tolls and penalties.

Some of these may include highway tolls, vehicle licensing fees (for things like bounced cheques) or any number of vehicle fines (red light camera, parking, operation of an unlicensed taxi, passing a stopped school bus, passing a stopped streetcar, or automated speed enforcement).

You can pay for any of these fines, penalties or tolls at a ServiceOntario centre.

Insurance coverage

Your vehicle must be insured upon Ontario license plate renewal, according to law.

During the renewal process the Ministry of Transportation checks your policy number and verifies your coverage. If for some reason your insurance coverage can’t be verified, then you can’t renew your license plates.

You need to check y our vehicle identification number on:

  • Your vehicle dashboard
  • Your vehicle permit
  • Your motor vehicle liability insurance card (pink card)

If your vehicle identification number doesn’t match up on your dashboard and insurance card, then you need to contact your insurance company before renewing your license plate because this will cause complications.

Recent relocation

If you’ve recently moved, then you’re required to update your address within 6 days of the move.

This ensures that products you’ve ordered online will arrive to the right address, any validation fees you’re charged are linked to the right address, and that you’re following the law.

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Issues with your license plate

Hopefully none of these things happen to you, but if they do, you must contact a ServiceOntario centre:

  • Your plates are lost
  • Your plates are damaged
  • Your plates are stolen.

Ontario license plates vs driver’s licenses

Any fees, cancellations or expiration of your license plate doesn’t affect your driver’s license. Your driver’s license is valid for 5 years, after which you must pay a $90 renewal fee which will ensure it’s good for another 5 years.

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March 13, 2023
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