Corp Comm Connects

Ontario will stop issuing blue licence plates next week
June 25, 2020
Robert Benzie

Ontario’s short-lived double-blue licence plates will begin going extinct next week.

A cornerstone of last year’s poorly received provincial budget, the plates -- with the slogan “A Place To Grow” -- were finally scrapped by Premier Doug Ford in May at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’m not putting any more resources to this. These plates have not been top of mind for me over the last little while,” Ford told reporters at the time.

But the flawed plates, which are illegible in some lighting conditions, have continued to be issued because Service Ontario outlets did not have enough of the previous design -- white plates with the motto “Yours To Discover” -- to distribute instead.

That is expected to change by the end of next week when there should be ample stocks of the white plates, said Government and Consumer Minister Lisa Thompson’s office.

“The blue plates will no longer be issued,” said Thompson’s spokesperson.

According to the Ontario government’s website, “if you have the new blue licence plates, you can continue to use them until we contact you.

“You will receive instructions when normal services resume on how to replace your blue licence plates with the white embossed ‘Yours To Discover’ licence plates.”

The Progressive Conservatives were compelled to rethink their controversial change in February, after a Kingston police officer tweeted a photo of a blue plate that was impossible to read due to glare.

About 145,000 blue plates, which were likened to a Q-tip box design, have been manufactured.

The premier has insisted the fiasco would not cost taxpayers anything because manufacturer 3M Canada was covering the expenses.

The details of that contract have not been made public due to a nondisclosure agreement signed by the government and the company.

The Tory-blue plates were unveiled amid much fanfare in then-treasurer Vic Fedeli’s April 2019 budget.

They were intended to replace the familiar white plates, which have been in use since 1973.

Ford was so unhappy with that fiscal blueprint -- which slashed municipal public health funding, among other things -- that he replaced Fedeli with Rod Phillips just 10 weeks later.

That massive June 2019 cabinet shuffle came well before the licence plate problems emerged.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath has asked Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk to investigate the entire debacle.