Digital reminder to renew licence plate will steer you right

Ontario drivers don’t have to pay licence plate renewal fees, nor put on those colourful little stickers anymore, but did you know that police can pull you over if you haven’t renewed your plate?

I knew that the fees for licence plate renewals were scrubbed this year, but was surprised to learn that they have also stopped mailing people notices to renew their plates. There are also no more reminders for your driver’s licence and health card renewals. Those in the know, which now includes you, can sign up for digital reminders.

Why bother? The fine for driving a vehicle with an expired plate is $85, but, according to CAA “a police officer can issue a ticket up to $1,000.”

I must admit, that letter in the mail was key for me to remember the renewal. I know that for licence plates’ renewal it is your birthday month every year, but without the cue from the sticker on the plate, or that reminder letter, I would forget. Especially since sometimes I’d renew for one year and others for two years, that lack of consistency on my part made the deadline more difficult to track. The digital reminders by email or text are a great idea, to receive an alert 30 and 60 days before each expiration date.

When you go to the ServiceOntario website to renew, you still have the option to renew for one or two years. The only difference I noticed was that the renewal is now free.

The only logical reasons to still make people renew is to ensure drivers are insured, to recover any unpaid fees, tolls or fines, and to track vehicle mileage. I feel like it may also be a sneaky, yet legitimate, way to stop almost any vehicle on the road. (Or perhaps I was the only one living under a rock unknowing of the continued renewal requirement.) The website says that “law enforcement will be instantly aware your licence plate was renewed.” Nifty.

To renew online, you need your licence plate number, your vehicle permit number, valid insurance, and the vehicle odometer reading. In addition, if you have moved, you need to change your address before you can renew your licence plate. (As an aside, did you know that, by law, you have only six days to let the Ministry of Transportation know that you have changed your address?)

If you want to join me in signing up for digital reminders, go to I opted for reminders for my driver’s licence, health card, and licence plate sticker, so I had to have all of those cards ready to enter the required information, but the process was quick.

You may also want to spend another minute on their web page and sign up for organ donation or check if you are signed up. Our organs are no good to us if we’re deceased, but we can save or improve the lives of eight people with our consent for organ donation. That link is: The process only requires your health card number, date of birthday, and then you select your donation options.

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