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Ontario Banning Road Tolls, Freezing Driver’s Licence Fees to Keep Costs Down

Province also saving drivers time by automating licence plate renewal process
Ministry of Transportation

TORONTO — The Ontario government is keeping costs down for drivers by introducing legislation that would, if passed, ban tolls on provincial highways. This 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.
“Our government under the leadership of Premier Ford is on a mission to keep costs down for families and businesses,” said Prabmeet Sarkaria, Minister of Transportation. “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.”
To further keep costs down for people, the province is also 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.
The province is also proposing to save drivers time by automating the licence plate renewal process starting this summer, saving vehicle owners more than 900,000 hours each year. This follows recent action by the government to eliminate the cost of renewing your vehicle permit. Until the automatic renewal process begins, drivers are still required to renew their licence plates at no cost, which can be done online or in person at ServiceOntario. The automatic renewal process will only be available to drivers in good standing who do not have outstanding fines or tickets.
These measures are part of upcoming legislation that will kick off the spring sitting of the legislature on February 20, 2024. The Get It Done Act will include a variety of measures that, if passed, would build on the government’s commitments to date to streamline approvals for major infrastructure projects and housing, keep costs down for people and businesses, and support economic growth for long-term prosperity.
With Ontario’s population expected to grow by five million people over the next decade, the province is moving forward with building Highway 413 and the Bradford Bypass. These highways will bring relief to one of the most congested corridors in North America, helping commuters save 30 minutes a trip so they can spend time doing what matters most to them.
Over the next ten years, Ontario is also investing more than $70 billion to transform public transit in the province, which includes the largest subway expansion in Canadian history, including the Ontario Line, the Scarborough Subway Extension, the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension and the Yonge North Subway Extension. The province is also moving forward with plans to extend the Hazel McCallion Light Rail Transit line by building the Mississauga loop and bringing the line into downtown Brampton and is calling on the federal government to join in a cost-sharing partnership to deliver two-way, all-day GO service on the Milton line.

Quick Facts
• If passed, the proposed legislation 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.
• If passed, the proposed legislation would ensure any future increases for driver’s licence renewals or Ontario Photo Cards would require a legislative amendment.
• Highways 412 and 418 have not been tolled since April 2022. Removing tolls on these highways is expected to save drivers $68 million between 2022-27. •

"Our government is putting customers at the centre of everything we do to save people precious time and money. We are constantly working to offer time-saving services such as automatic licence plate renewal, which we look forward to rolling out in the summer."
- Todd McCarthy
Minister of Public and Business Service Delivery
"I applaud the Ontario government's proposed legislation, which would prohibit the introduction of any new tolls on highways – a common-sense approach, which builds on the much heralded removal of tolls last year on Highways 412 and 418. This measure prioritizes the financial well-being of residents and commuters, reflecting responsible governance, and fostering a future where citizens will have a say on strategic infrastructure investments."
- Kevin Ashe
Mayor of Pickering
"It is critically important that we help to keep our residents moving and our economy growing while not adding any financial burden to the people we represent. I thank the Ontario government for introducing legislation that will help to accomplish these important goals."
- Steven Del Duca
Mayor of Vaughan
"Ontario’s 1,100 new car and truck retailers whole heartedly support Premier Ford hitting the brakes on new highway tolls. Keeping vehicle ownership costs low is critical to supporting the auto sector and protects the family budget from higher transportation costs. There is no doubt about it – Doug Ford is the most pro-auto sector premier in Ontario’s history."
- Frank Notte
Director of Government Relations, Motor Vehicle Retailers of Ontario
"Today’s announcement recognizes the financial uncertainties associated with the cost of living, including those felt by Ontario commuters. Record investments are being made in public transit, which will become a future, viable and safe option for Ontarians who want alternatives to driving. While those transit lines are being built, this legislation will provide some financial stability for those dependent on Ontario’s highway system."
- Teresa Di Felice
AVP, Government & Community Relations, CAA Club Group
"Roads are an investment in the supply chain. The trucking industry – through provincial and federal fuel taxes, federal carbon taxes, provincial registration and permit fees – is already contributing a major portion of the revenues the province of Ontario invests in road infrastructure. The trucking industry greatly appreciates this legislation, which is a recognition that all road users, including the commercial trucking industry, already pay their fair share of road investment. This is also the type of legislative measure that all governments should be looking at to control inflation and help the entire supply chain and families reduce their costs. Preventing future governments from arbitrarily placing tolls on the supply chain without due diligence and consultation is a measure welcomed by the Ontario Trucking Association."
- Stephen Laskowski
President, Ontario Trucking Association (OTA)
"We commend the government’s action to enact legislation that maintains the current freeze on fee increases for new and renewed driver's licences and Ontario Photo Cards. If passed, this will deliver long-term cost savings to the motor coach industry and professional bus drivers throughout Ontario."
- Vince Accardi
President, Ontario Motor Coach Association and Motor Coach Canada
"We support the government's commitment to maintaining the accessibility of our travel infrastructure for both domestic and international visitors, enabling them to explore the Greater Toronto Region and access tourism destinations across Ontario. As a pivotal tourism partner in the region, the Greater Toronto Hotel Association advocates for policies that foster long-term growth in our tourism economy."
- Sara Anghel
CEO, Greater Toronto Hotel Association

Dakota Brasier

Dakota Brasier    2/17/2024


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