General Information: The vehicle plates allow the identification of the vehicle the plates are attached to. In Ontario Licence plates are issued to individuals or Corporations and they cannot be transferred to anyone else except in special circumstances.
Types of Licence Plates issued in Ontario: Passenger, Commercial, Trailer, Bus, School Bus, Motorcycle, Dealer, Diplomatic, Farm, Off Road Vehicle and Snowmobile.
Ontario regulations require that Licence plates must be used in pairs, and displayed at the front and back of the vehicle except for the following: Trailers, Dealers, Farms, Off Road and Motorcycles.
Vehicle Licensing - Validation Stickers
The Licence to use the roads in Ontario by Motor Vehicles must be paid once a year by the STAGGER DATE, which in the case of individuals is the birthday. In the case of non-individuals (Corporations or Operating As) the stagger date may be selected at will by the registrant. Corporations for example may choose their stagger date to match their year-end.
On payment of the fee, the registrant receives a validation sticker, which must be affixed to the top right corner of the plate. On passenger vehicles (automobiles, mini vans) (Blue letters on white background) the sticker must be placed on the rear plate while on all commercial vehicles (Black letters on white background) the sticker must be placed on the front plate.
The registrant also receives an additional paper sticker, which must be affixed to the back of the Plate Portion of the registration, in order to validate such registration.
The validation sticker expires at mid-night on the staggered date and not at the end of the month indicated on the sticker.
Validation Sticker Renewal
Licence Plates of vehicles using the roads in Ontario must be validated BEFORE they expire. The Ministry may send an Invitation to renew but even if you don't receive the invitation it is your responsibility to renew before or on the expiration date.
Passenger vehicles plates always must be renewed until the next or second next birthday of the registrant, whereas commercial vehicles may be renewed for a period between 3 and 24 months.
Six to eight weeks before your licence expires the Ministry will mail to you an application for renewal. To renew your vehicle licence you must fill the following information:
- Name of the Insurance Company and the Policy Number,
- Odometer reading (mileage of the vehicle), Compulsory after December 8, 2003
- Sign and date the form. You must present your registration at the moment of the renewal if the same is available.
- The vehicle may need a Drive Clean Certificate valid on the expiry date. The odd model years need a certificate on the even years and vice verse. i.e. in 2011 the following vehicles need the Emissions or Drive Clean certificate: 2006, 2004, 2002, 2000, 1998, 1996, 1994, 1992, 1990, 1988, 1986. Even if you know you had a Drive Clean test done during the previous year, please make sure you have it ready to present it on demand at the licence office.
Note: Begining September 1, 2011 the New Vehicles - 5 year term for Drive Clean Certificate has been extended to 7 Years.
If you did not receive the application for renewal or you lost it, the form will be re-printed for you at the licence office. Bring the above information and enough funds for your renewal.
Remember that your sticker expires at midnight on your birthday, and not at the end of the month.
The court will not accept as excuse for not renewing on time, your declaration that you did not receive the application in the mail.
PLATE OWNER: Normally the owner of the vehicle is also the owner of the licence plates, there are situations, however, as the case of the leasing contracts, where the vehicle is owned by the Lessor, usually a finance company, while the plate is owned by the Lessee. In Ontario, licence plates are issued for life to the recipient and cannot be transferred. More on transfer of plates under Plate Transfer .
Transfer of Passenger plates between individuals may be authorized under special circumstances by the legal department of the Ministry Of Transportation. The Donor and Recipient must agree en writing to the transfer, and the Recipient must sign an agreement that he/she will be responsible for any fines and denials that may be posted against the plate in the future because of past infractions.
A lost or stolen licence plate or a plate which number you don't like, may be replaced at any time at your local Licence Office
The plates must be returned to the Ministry of Transportation.
If one plate is missing plate and it is not the validated plate, In order to obtain credit for the validation sticker it is necessary to return the validated plate.
If the missing plate is the validated plate, In order to obtain credit for the validation sticker it is necessary to return the no validated plate along with a police report filled out with and signed by the constable on duty at any police station.