FORD’S LETDOWN: Failed Ontario licence plates increased costs by 26 per cent

By: Broderick Visser
Written on 2021-06-22

Remember when Doug Ford repeatedly promised the redesign for Ontario’s licence plates wouldn’t cost taxpayers a single penny more?

“I just want to remind the House and the people of Ontario that changing the licence plates doesn’t cost a penny to the taxpayers,” Ford said, on Apr. 2, 2019.

Well, he lied — surprise, surprise.

The mock-up design released by the Ontario government in 2019 for their new Ontario licence plates which were later recalled due to clarity issues at night.

The switch to the new plates was expected to lower the cost of materials and the energy to manufacture them.

“They (the producers) are still producing the plates. It’s going to be the same cost.”

Doug Ford on April 2, 2019.

The new plates ended up costing taxpayers an extra $238,621.

“Ontario has hundreds of billions of dollars worth of debt,” said Jasmine Moulton, Ontario Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation

“Wasting money on redesigning new licence plates seems like the last thing the Ontario government should have been doing.”

Ontario’s progressive conservatives announced its licence plate remodel in April 2019 calling them a “new look” and stating they would be more durable and last longer for Ontarians.

Records obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation show the prices paid by Ontario’s Ministry of Government and Consumer Services (MGCS) for plates from September of 2019 to July of 2020.

MGCS buys plates from Trilcor, a provincially owned company which uses prison labour to make licence plates for Ontario.

They also manage plate stock and distribution. 3M Canada supplied the sheeting for the new plate design.

Passenger plates (both English and French) spiked from $3.60 a plate in Sept. 2019 to $4.54 a plate in Jan. 2020 — when they introduced the new plates.

They then dropped back down to $3.60 a plate in June when the government bailed on the new design.

253,852 of the new Ontario plates were purchased by the government.

At $3.60 per plate — it would have cost $913,867

At the actual cost of $4.54 per plate — it really cost taxpayers $1,152,488.

The difference between the two resulting in a 26 per cent increase in cost — at $238,621.

The Ministry said they have been developing a replacement plan for the failed plates.

Those plates will be valid “until further notice,” the Ministry told Global News.

Brian Patterson, president and CEO of the Ontario Safety League, has been calling on the government to fully replace the plates by the end of the Ford government’s mandate in 2022.

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