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An expired Ontario licence plate.

An expired Ontario licence plate.

Ontario drivers who are hitting the roads without a renewed licence plate can get slapped with a fine for doing so.

"It is the law for vehicle owners to renew their licence plate every one or two years at no cost to confirm their automobile insurance is valid and pay any defaulted fees, fines or tolls. Expired licence plates will remain subject to enforcement action," Dakota Brasier, press secretary for Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney's office, shared with Narcity via email.

Under the Highway Traffic Act, drivers who are caught on the road without a currently validated permit can get hit with a ticket. If they're convicted, drivers could be fined $60 to $1,000.

Within the fine range, the Chief Justice of Ontario can set a fine under the Provincial Offences Act that is how much a ticket can be settled for out of court, said Brasier.

According to the Ontario Court of Justice, under the Highway Traffic Act, the fine for driving a vehicle without an up-to-date validated permit is $85.

"However, law enforcement can choose to issue a fine of up to $1,000 which requires attendance in court," Brasier said.

What's changed with Ontario's licence plates lately

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the provincial government temporarily extended when Ontarians had to get their licence plates and driver's licences renewed.

This meant that anyone who had their Ontario licence plate expire on or after March 1, 2020, had until March 31, 2022, to renew their plates, according to the provincial government.

On March 13, Ontario got rid of licence plate stickers and renewal fees for most vehicles, excluding snowmobiles and heavy commercial vehicles.

Under the previous sticker system, drivers in northern Ontario had to pay $60 each year while those in southern Ontario coughed up $120 a year for their stickers.

Even though the fees have been scrapped, anyone who owns a car in the province needs to make sure their licence plates and auto insurance are valid before they can hit the road.

Ontarians can renew their licence plates in three different ways: send an application through mail, submit it online, or visit a ServiceOntario location in person.

Drivers can even sign up for ServiceOntario's digital reminders so they can keep track of when it's time to get their plates renewed.

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