Owning a car can be a really pricey endeavor with car payments and maintenance. Just as renewing our license plates can definitely be a pain in the butt. None of us want to pay the price let alone go to the DMV and stand in line for a couple hours. Adding to the list of the many small tasks we wish we didn’t have to do all the time. However, for some people, it’s better to just ignore their expired license plates all together. For this Ontario citizen, that meant avoiding the problem for 31 years.
Expired License Plates From 1989
Cops were extremely surprised when they pulled over this Ontario citizen. Upon inspecting their car, they had discovered their license plate stickers expired more than 31 years ago. What was even more surprising was that the car itself is only 8 years-old. To put things into perspective, this person had been deliberately avoiding paying for a new license plate sticker. (1)
The driver, who remains nameless, is to pay the provincial penalty of $110. The driver was clearly violating Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act. This pales in comparison to the $3,700 he was able to save by avoiding payment for 30 years. In response to the tweet posted by TPS Traffic Services, another officer posted a picture showing expired license plates from 1984.
“Hold on to your hat. Our CMV inspector got this beauty. I was still in college when this expired!” Says traffic officer, Richard Hugh.
The Current Penalty For Expired License Plates
It’s widely known in Canada that you must pay off all your parking tickets in order to obtain a new valid license plate sticker. The way that the system is set up is to notify you on your birthday when it’s time to renew your license plates. Parked cars that seem to have expired or missing stickers are fined with $30. Additionally, the charge for updating your license plate sticker costs $240. However, because of the pandemic, most officers have been very lenient. Thanks to Premier Doug Ford who has given license plate renewal a bit of slack but only after March 2020. Often favoring the people who have only gone a couple weeks compared to three decades without renewing theirs. (2)
“Documents that expired on or after March 1, 2020 will remain valid and legal past the expiry, until further notice,” states Senior issues adviser, Lee Alderson
In Canada, it’s up to the police as individuals to know when it’s appropriate to give citizens tickets for traffic or car violations. Unfortunately, there are some police officers who still give people tickets despite the new pandemic regulations. While some people are absconding with money from the government for more than three decades, others are taking their tickets to court.
Going To Court
Some Canadians, such as Nicholas Vereshack, are facing these problems currently with police. The 24 year-old says that he aims to take the two tickets he received to court. Claiming that the police officer that cited him the tickets was unjustified in doing so.
“He told me he was pulling me over for a stop sign violation and came back and gave me two tickets,” Vereshack explains. “One for the stop sign and one for my license plate sticker, which had expired in June.” (2)
Even though he was unable to debate against the officer at the time due to how shaken he was. He was able to find the exact same officer that was parked in the exact same spot as before. However, this time he was prepared and spoke with the officer again. Bringing up the Province’s website on his phone to compel the officer to reconsider his decision.
“He basically said that he hasn’t been told about any extension and people still should be able to do it online. And I’m going to have to take up the ticket with the courts,” Vereshack explains further. (2)
Furthermore, Service Ontario posted on it’s Twitter on July 29th “Your license plate sticker is still valid!” to reassure citizens about their cars. This was also made in an attempt to reduce the amount of people from going to multiple Service Ontario locations. If the local authorities are unable to show some leniency, it will only make the community suffer even more.
Do not let authorities bully you into paying fines that you know are not justifiable. The case with Vereshack was confirmed by York police spokesperson, Andy Pattenden. Claiming the officer and him will have to follow the Ministry of Transportation guidelines. However, this offers very little reassurance to people like Vereshack who are essentially being forced to fight this ridiculous battle.
“A lot of people have lost their jobs, renewing your license plate sticker isn’t at the top of everyone’s mind,” Vereshack explains further. “So it just didn’t really feel right with me that even though Service Ontario themselves and the government of Ontario stated that the license plate was still valid, he just gave me the ticket anyway.” (2)
It’s a very difficult time for all of us, especially those who have lost their jobs and even their homes. Having any other kind of extra fee on your tab makes it difficult to get by in today’s society. Paired with going to court and argue about paying a ticket can leave a person in desperate need of help. If you live in Canada and have expired license plate stickers, you may want to brush up on the new regulations.
- “Toronto Police pulled over a driver with a license plate expired 31 years ago.” MSN. November 21, 2020.
- “York police issue hundreds of tickets for expired vehicle permits despite Ontario’s COVID-19 policy.” CBC. Natalie Kalata. August 5, 2020.