Ottawa police warn officers will soon start issuing $110 fines for expired licence plates

Ottawa police are reminding drivers to renew their vehicle licence plate stickers, saying officers will soon begin issuing $110 fines for expired plates.

Even though the Ontario government scrapped the licence plate renewal fees and stickers for passenger vehicles, vehicle owners must still renew their plates.

The Ottawa Police Service has five Automatic Licence Plate Recognition vehicles in the fleet, which helps police identify stolen licence plates, misuse of plates, unlicensed drivers and expired licence plate stickers.

“A lot of my officers have come in to me, voicing their concerns that people aren’t renewing their plate stickers,” Sgt. Robert Cairns told CTV News Ottawa.

“I witnessed this firsthand on Friday, Saturday night of last week when I took the ALPR out and noticed that literally hundreds of people aren’t renewing their vehicle stickers.”

The Ontario government dropped the fees and stickers back in March, saying the change would save drivers $120 a year. The province said motorists would still need to renew their licence plates.

Drivers can renew their licence plates through Service Ontario online, by mail or in-person. Cairns says the Ontario government included a notice to continue to renew the licence plate in the envelope with the licence plate sticker refunds.

“I suggest they re-read that letter,” he said. “It’s very concerning that people, being very blunt, are either very lazy or ignorant as to their requirement to renew their plates.”

In April, an 82-year-old Ottawa woman received a $495 ticket from the MRC des Collines-de-l’Outaouais police after a friend drove her vehicle to Gatineau with the expired plate. Police said officers validate a licence plate through the system to see if it’s expired.

While Cairns says he found “hundreds” of vehicles with expired licence plates, the Ottawa Police Service is not currently issuing fines for expired licence plates.

“I could have had thousands and thousands of dollars in fines the other night,” Cairns said. “There will come a time where (drivers) will start getting stopped by Ottawa police officers and issued a $110 fine for not having their plates renewed.”

“We could actually do it right away, but I’m basically giving people another opportunity now. I’m getting more information out, I’m asking them again that they do have an obligation to renew their plates. If that falls upon deaf ears then we will start enforcing the legislation.”

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