Saturday, May 18, 2024

Ontario to ban tolls on provincial highways, automate licence plate renewal this summer

Toronto (Feb 15) – The Ontario government announced a number of proposed measures aimed at ‘keeping the cost down for drivers’ including banning tolls on provincial highways and freezing driver’s licence fees.

Transport Minister Prabmeet Sarkaria said that the toll ban would apply to the Don Valley Parkway and Gardiner Expressway once uploaded to the province, as well as the province’s 400-series highways, but not the 407.

“Our government under the leadership of Premier Ford is on a mission to keep costs down for families and businesses,” Sarkaria stated. “First, we scrapped the tolls on Highways 412 and 418, now we’re protecting drivers from the costs of new tolls. Together with our cut in the gas tax and eliminating the licence plate sticker fee, we’re saving drivers hundreds of dollars every year.”

Automating the licence plate renewal process, previously announced by Premier Doug Ford, will start this summer. Until then drivers are still required to renew their licence plates at no cost, which can be done online or in person at ServiceOntario.

Also, the automatic renewal process will only be available to drivers in good standing, meaning those who do not have outstanding fines or tickets.

Additionally, the province is proposing to make the current freeze on driver’s licence and Ontario Photo Card fees permanent through legislation, saving drivers an estimated $66 million over the next five years. By legislating the current freeze, which was originally put in place through regulation and which has saved applicants $22 million since 2019, the government is ensuring that any future increases can only be made through legislation.

These measures are part of upcoming legislation that will kick off the spring sitting of the legislature on February 20. If passed, it would amend the Public Transportation and Highway Improvement Act to prohibit Ontario from introducing new tolls on provincial highways and potentially require public consultation before considering new tolls.
It would also ensure that any future increases for driver’s licence renewals or Ontario Photo Cards would require a legislative amendment.

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