Ontario licence plate sticker

A licence plate sticker is displayed in this Aug. 24, 2016 photo. The province is hiking the cost of licence plate sticker renewals by $12 starting on Sept. 1. JASON KRYK / WINDSOR STAR

Drivers should be ready for sticker shock starting on Sept. 1 when renewing their licences and plates.

Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation has announced fee increases that equate to roughly 10 per cent across the board for all renewals, replacement and annual permit fees.

“Absolutely, it upsets me,” said Ron Crosby of Windsor, as he waited in line to renew his licence at the downtown Service Ontario location. “Everything keeps going up all the time, but pay doesn’t go up. This is another expense. I have two vehicles to plate, so now I’m looking at more money.

“I’m glad you told me because now I will get two years (renewal) instead of one.”

The price starting next Thursday (Sept. 1) for getting your licence renewed goes up from $81.50 to $90, while annual license validation jumps from $108 to $120.

Several other planned increases for both vehicles and motorcycles — for licence reinstatement, plus permit or plate replacement — will also be implemented, but not until Jan. 1, 2017.

The increases are needed to help support the province’s ongoing investment in Ontario’s roads and other infrastructure projects, said a provincial transportation ministry spokesman.

Ontario’s government since 2003 has invested over $25 billion “to design, repair and expand” provincial roads and bridges, said Bob Nichols.

“We’re investing in transportation infrastructure — roads, bridges and public transit — to keep Ontario competitive and thriving,” he said. “These investments keep Ontario highways and bridges in good repair, reduce congestion, improve safety and promote the economy.

“To help us accomplish this, the increased infrastructure of provincial roads and bridges require additional funds for maintenance.”

Nichols added that revenue generated from licence plate sticker fees also gets directed into the government’s general revenues to support all expenditures.

The driver’s licence and plate fee increases come only one year after the previous increase on Sept. 1, 2015.

The rates last year for a driver’s licence went from $80 to $81.50, while the annual plate renewal fee went from $98 to $108.

“Why? That’s my reaction,” said John McIntyre of Windsor.

“Think of all the people who are older or living on pensions. Their licence comes up and they might have to pay for emissions tests, more taxes and now this. Why?”

Alex Gutu of Windsor was also among those waiting in line Wednesday and said if the licence fees have to go up, then at the very least Service Ontario should provide increased customer service.

“We all know prices increase, but if you do that, then don’t have people here waiting in line,” he said. “We want to see that extra money at work.

“If it’s going to be higher, fine. But I want to see more service here so I’m not waiting in line for an hour. If it’s lower, I will wait, but if you are making it more expensive, then give us something better.”

Source: Windsor Star