Ontario License Plate Renewal: Everything You Need to Know
Ontario drivers no longer need to pay to renew their licence plates with an annual sticker, though your plates still need to be renewed – or you could be fined heavily.
Below, we’ll cover everything you need to know about renewing your licence plate in Ontario in 2022.
Do I need to renew my licence plate sticker in Ontario?
Yes, except there’s no longer a sticker (or a fee) involved.
According to the Ontario Government, your vehicle must have a valid licence plate and be insured to drive legally in this province. Most drivers are used to renewing their licence plates by applying a new sticker every 1 to 2 years.
Part of renewing your licence plate involves connecting your insurance coverage to the plated vehicle. To renew your licence plate, you need to provide your insurance company your name and policy number. This information is tied to your vehicle’s licence plate, and helps law enforcement to quickly verify that a vehicle has valid insurance coverage.
This is still a requirement in Ontario today, though the annual or bi-annual licence plate sticker has been eliminated, and the renewal fees have been scrapped.
How do I renew my Ontario licence plate sticker?
Renewing your licence plate can be done online in about 2 minutes by visiting the Ontario license renewal website here.
Remember, you’re renewing your plate, not your sticker. Licence plate stickers in Ontario are now obsolete on passenger vehicles. So, you’ll no longer receive a sticker to fix to your licence plate, and you’ll no longer need to pay a plate renewal fee.
To renew using the online interface, you’ll need your licence plate number, vehicle permit number (look for bolded text near your signature on the lower back portion of the green ‘ownership’ slip), your insurance company name and policy number, and your car’s odometer reading.
Ensure all outstanding tickets, tolls, and other fees are paid before renewing
Before renewing, you’ll also have to pay any defaulted fines, tolls or fees that may be applicable. Once you’ve updated your licence plates online, law enforcement databases are updated instantly so police will be aware immediately once your plate is renewed.
Remember: if you’re renewing the plate on a passenger vehicle, light-duty truck, motorcycle or moped, there’s no fee and no sticker involved – just a 2-minute visit to a quick and easy web interface.
Plates can be renewed up to 180 days before they expire, typically on your birthday.
Can I renew my Ontario license plate sticker online & is there an HST charge?
Yes, and you should. The process is simple, fast and easy, and you don’t even have to leave your house. This saves you time and money and basically makes you a genius. Just visit the Ontario licence renewal page (we linked to it above) with proper documentation in hand, and you’ll have a confirmation email in a matter of minutes.
Don’t wait for a new plate sticker in the mail though, as you won’t receive one. By the way, you can remove old stickers from your plate if you like, but you don’t have to.
If you’d prefer to renew your licence plate in person, you’ll need to visit a Service Ontario location. You can search for a location near you, as well as its hours of operation, here at the ServiceOntario page.
Is there HST on licence plate renewal in Ontario?
No. Since there are no fees to renew your licence plate in Ontario, there’s no HST applicable.
Did you get a refund for your past licence plate sticker fees?
In the spring of 2022, many Ontario drivers got a refund cheque in the mail, reimbursing them for a portion of the fees they paid for their last licence plate sticker the last time they renewed it. The sticker program (and associated fees) were cancelled as of March 13, 2022, saving drivers between $60 and $120 per year.
There are exceptions, however. Certain types of vehicles will still have to pay a fee when renewing their plates, and don’t qualify for a refund. These vehicles include trailers, snowmobiles, buses and commercial vehicles.
Ontario licence plates vs. driver’s licence
Remember that the cancellation of fees and stickers applies to licence plates in Ontario, not driver’s licences. An Ontario driver’s licence is good for 5 years, after which time you’ll need to pay a $90 fee to renew it for 5 more years.
Here’s more on taking your G test in Ontario.
Automatic Licence Plate Recognition (ALPR)
According to the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), ALPR is a traffic safety enforcement program that allows for the detection of drivers who are driving illegally on Ontario roads.
With the ability to scan thousands of plates per hour, the system compares passing licence plate numbers with a ‘hot list’ data file that contains millions of licence plate numbers in poor standing.
Used to track down drivers with suspended licences, stolen vehicles or outstanding warrants, the ALPR program can also detect expired plates.
Can I be fined if I don’t renew my plate?
Driving with an invalid (expired) driver’s licence can carry a fine of $260 and void your insurance coverage. Driving without a validated licence plate can carry a fine of up to $1,000.
You won’t be sent reminders about renewing your plates unless you opt in for reminders, which you can do by visiting the ServiceOntario digital reminders page here.
Ensure your vehicle licence plate is visible
Remember: your rear licence plate needs to be visible clearly at all times, which is why your vehicle has special lighting designed to illuminate your plate at night. Be sure this lighting is in proper working order from time to time, replacing bulbs as necessary. If a police officer isn’t able to read your plate, you may be fined.
Before installing any licence plate cover, protector or frame, be sure to check that it doesn’t impede or block any portion of the plate (or its displayed text) for the same reason.