ServiceOntario Online: Everything You Can Update & Change Without An In-Person Appointment
So many changes have been made already in 2023!
The next time you're planning that dreaded trip to a ServiceOntario location, think twice, because there's a good chance you can now make the changes you need to online.
Whether you're renewing your driver's license or license plate, buying a new or used vehicle, or even applying for a marriage license, you may no longer need to search the internet to find the closest ServiceOntario location to you.
These and many more services are now available online as part of an initiative by the Ontario government to provide better services and make it faster, easier, and overall more convenient for people to access the services they need.
"We're making it easier for people and businesses to connect with ServiceOntario, putting customers first and saving people time and money," said Premier Doug Ford in a press release earlier this year. "Across our government, we’re making it less complicated and more convenient for people to interact with government. We’ll never stop working to improve the services we offer people."
Since then, expanded ServiceOntario offerings have over 55 services available online, so you don't have to worry about physically waiting in line.
These online services are also accompanied by optional renewal reminders, so you can sign up to receive emails, texts, or phone calls when it's time to renew things like your license plate, driver's license, health card, or Ontario Photo Card.
Additionally, the Ontario government has created an enhanced service to book an in-person appointment at a ServiceOntario location for those who need to. Depending on the type of appointment you need, there's also an option for these appointments to take place virtually.
While there are many more online options available at ServiceOntario, the government says its in-person locations aren't going anywhere, and will remain an option for those who need them.
"Our government is committed to taking a digital-first not digital only approach to service delivery," a spokesperson for the Ministry of Public and Business Service Delivery told Narcity. "The ministry is providing more, not less, options to Ontarians and our in-person services will continue to be the cornerstone of the ServiceOntario experience."
The expanded online options at ServiceOntario came "in response to increasing customer expectations," according to the spokesperson.
"ServiceOntario is actively modernizing its service delivery to meet the evolving needs of Ontarians. More than 55 of the highest volume transactions are now available online 24 hours a day, seven days a week at ServiceOntario.ca," they added.
So, let's take a look at all of the changes, updates, registrations, and renewals that are now available online through ServiceOntario.
Drivers and vehicles
Perhaps the two most common things you'll ever need ServiceOntario for — driving (all things to do with getting and renewing your license) and vehicles (all things to do with vehicle ownership).
Drivers in Ontario can renew their driver's license or change the address on their driver's license entirely online. There's also the option to access your driver records and pay defaulted fines online.
Another important online option for drivers is to renew their license plates online. This is free to do and takes just five minutes, but since the removal of Ontario license plate stickers, forgetting to renew your license plate could land you a hefty fine of up to $1,000.
For drivers, there are still several services that require you to show up in person at a ServiceOntario location, which includes getting a driver's license, renewing a driver's license for someone 80 years or older, replacing a lost, stolen, or damaged driver's license, and exchanging an out-of-province or out-of-country driver's license.
As for vehicles, the latest ServiceOntario online update makes it easier to buy or sell a new or used vehicle in Ontario at a car dealership.
Ontario's new online Digital Dealership Registration (DDR) system allows dealerships to transfer the ownership of a vehicle themselves online.
"Dealerships can now use DDR, an online, self-serve tool to register vehicles and issue permits and plates directly to customers, right from the sales floor," said a spokesperson for the Ministry of Public and Business Service Delivery in an emailed statement. "We will continue to expand the program and work hand in hand with dealerships across the province to ensure that improvements are made that make life easier for the people and businesses of our province."
The spokesperson would not confirm to Narcity whether the new DDR system would eventually be expanded from car dealerships to include anyone buying or selling a vehicle online. For now, transferring ownership in that case still has to be done in person at a ServiceOntario location.
Other online tools related to vehicles through ServiceOntario include getting a personalized license plate, a used vehicle information package (UVIP), and accessing vehicle records.
Health cards, certifications, and registrations
You can renew your Ontario health card online through ServiceOntario and also book a virtual appointment for this service, but if that involves a new photo, you'll have to visit a ServiceOntario location in person.
You'll also have to go in person if you're applying for OHIP, getting your very first Ontario health card, or replacing or changing the information on your health card.
Other online options in this category are available, including the option to register as an organ and tissue donor. You can also complete a newborn baby registration.
Birth, marriage, and death certificates are also available online through ServiceOntario.
As part of a new pilot program, you can also apply for a marriage license entirely online, but only if you live in the six participating municipalities, which are:
- City of Kenora
- Town of Cobourg
- City of Kingston
- Town of Ingersoll
- Township of Uxbridge
- City of Timmins
Aside from the popular services related to driving and vehicles, and health cards and certifications, there are several other online services available to people in Ontario.
For example, ServiceOntario allows you to get your hunting or fishing license, as well as an Outdoors Card, online.
Security guards and private investigators in Ontario can also sign up for their individual licenses online, with several other options for businesses in this industry to conduct their necessary paperwork electronically.
And finally, when it comes to housing and property, you can also register or search for a personal property lien through ServiceOntario online.
ServiceOntario continues to offer more and more of its services online to save you time, and a government spokesperson told Narcity that there are even more announcements to come throughout the rest of 2023 and beyond.
However, you can be assured that in-person ServiceOntario locations throughout the province will still be there if and when you need them. Just remember to pack your patience.
This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
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