Ontario offers one- and two-year licence plate registration periods, and the expiry date can often sneak up on you. Fortunately, the Ontario licence plate renewal process is straightforward and convenient. It’s also 100% free for most drivers.

So what’s involved in the Ontario licence plate renewal process? We outline the entire renewal process below, from gathering the information, to choosing the renewal date, to completing it online or in person so you know where to start and what to expect.

Gather All the Necessary Documents and Information

Before attempting an Ontario licence plate renewal, you must gather all of the documents and information needed to facilitate the renewal. Having this information on hand will help prevent stopping midway through the renewal process to find the information you need to complete it.

To renew your Ontario licence plate, you’ll need:

  • Licence plate number
  • Vehicle permit number
  • Car insurance company name and policy number
  • Odometer reading
  • Emissions test, if needed

On top of this information, you’ll also need to ensure you pay any outstanding fines, tolls, or fees before attempting to register. You’ll also need to ensure you have the funds to pay the Ontario licence plate renewal fee, if applicable. Most vehicles weighing 3,000 kg or less have a $0 licence plate renewal fee in Ontario, including motorcycles and mopeds.

Does your vehicle need an emissions test?

Not all vehicles need an emissions test for an Ontario licence plate renewal. Light passenger vehicles with a gross weight of less than 4,500 kg, including motorcycles and motorhomes, don’t require an emissions test. Also heavy-duty non-diesel vehicles — those weighing over 4,500 kg — do not need an emissions test.

The only vehicles needing an emissions test are heavy-duty, diesel-fueled commercial vehicles that are at least seven model years old or older than the current model year, and you’re registering it as a new owner.

Choose a date to perform your Ontario licence plate renewal

Choosing a date to renew your Ontario licence plate depends largely on your schedule, as you have a broad range of dates to pick from. Generally, Ontario licence plates on a personally owned passenger vehicle with only one owner will expire on your birthday. Commercial vehicles and those with multiple owners will want to refer to their vehicle permit for the expiry date.

You can perform your Ontario licence plate renewal any day within 180 days of its expiration date, so you have plenty of time to get organized and choose a date.

Choose your Ontario Licence Plate Renewal Method

Most Ontarians can renew their licence plates in two ways: online or in-person. After gathering all of the necessary information, you can head to the online renewal system and complete the renewal there. Your renewed plates are immediately registered with law enforcement so provincial police officers know you’re up to date.

If you prefer or are required to renew in person, you can do so at a nearby ServiceOntario location. You can navigate to the ServiceOntario page and search for a local office that provides Ontario licence plate renewals. You can filter the results by locations accepting appointment bookings to avoid waiting in long queues.

Ontario drivers can renew their licence plates for one or two years online or in person. Also, remember that the Ontario government’s Ministry of Transportation has eliminated licence plate stickers, so vehicle owners will not receive a sticker upon renewal in-person or online.

When you renew online, you can also register to receive Ontario licence plate renewal reminders 60 and 30 days before expiration via email, text message, or telephone. You can receive the same notifications for your driver’s licence, health card, or Ontario photo card.

Sticker Refunds for Past Registrations

As we mentioned, Ontario has eliminated the licence plate sticker for passenger vehicles, light-duty trucks, motorcycles, and mopeds. Anyone who paid licence plate sticker fees between March 1, 2020 and March 12, 2022 will receive a refund cheque in the mail.

To receive your cheque, you must ensure the address on your Ontario driver’s licence is current and that you’ve paid all outstanding fees, fines or tolls.

By eliminating these renewal fees, southern Ontario residents will save $120 per year, and those in northern Ontario will save $60 annually.

How much will your refund be? It all depends on what you paid. For passenger vehicles and light-duty vehicles in southern Ontario, you’ll receive a $120 refund for a one-year sticker or $240 for a two-year licence plate sticker. In northern Ontario, you’ll get $60 for a one-year sticker and $120 for a two-year sticker.

Motorcycle and moped refunds will be $42 for a one-year sticker and $84 for a two-year sticker in southern Ontario. If you live in northern Ontario, the refund will be $21 for one year or $42 for two years.

Snowmobiles and other snow vehicles are not included in the sticker refund, as they still require licence plate stickers. However, you can be refunded if you purchased a snow vehicle validation sticker and never used it. To process your snow vehicle sticker refund, you can head to a ServiceOntario centre with your snow vehicle validation and the original vehicle permit. You can discuss your refund option with a representative — it generally takes four to six weeks to get your refund.

Skip the Ontario Licence Plate Renewal With a Quality Used Vehicle From Clutch

The Ontario licence plate renewal process is relatively stress-free thanks to the ability to complete it 100% online and pay no fee. However, if your licence plate is due for renewal — and your entire car is due for one too — check out Clutch’s quality used vehicles and find your ideal replacement. Like Ontario's licence plate renewal process, our car-chopping experience is 100% online.

Are you not confident about buying a vehicle 100% online? You can rest assured knowing you’re backed by Clutch’s 210-point inspection and reconditioning process and 90-day or 6,000-km limited warranty on our entire used vehicle inventory. On top of that, you get a 10-day or 750-km test-own period. If you’re not 100% satisfied during this period, you can exchange or return the vehicle, no questions asked.

Check out our vast used vehicle inventory, choose the vehicle that suits you, and complete the purchase entirely online. You can also get financing and have your trade-in vehicle valuation completed online — no need to ever set foot in a dealership.