POLITICS
05/06/2020 13:57 EDT | Updated 05/06/2020 15:09 EDT

Doug Ford Scraps Blue Ontario Licence Plates After Testing

About 145,000 blue plates, which were difficult to read in the dark, have already been made.

Frank Gunn/CP
One of Ontario Premier Doug Ford's vehicles sits parked at the Ontario Legislature sporting a new licence plate in Toronto on Feb. 20, 2020.

TORONTO — Premier Doug Ford announced Wednesday he is scrapping a redesign of Ontario’s licence plates, returning to the old, white-and-blue “Yours to Discover” version.

New blue licence plates that the Progressive Conservative government rolled out this year using a slogan of “A Place to Grow” proved difficult to read in the dark.

After the government and consumer services minister originally insisted the new plates were fine, the government acknowledged the problem and said manufacturer 3M would deliver an “enhanced” plate.

Watch: Ontarians shine line on glaring licence plate flaw

 

Ford said the issue hadn’t been top of mind for him lately, while dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, but after thorough testing by law enforcement and other key stakeholders, Ontario is following their advice and won’t go ahead with the new plate for passenger vehicle use.

“Further work is needed if we were to move forward with the new plates and right now I’m just not ready to put any more resources towards this,” he said.

Ontario licence plates will instead revert to the old design, and Ford’s office said the issue that saw some plates start peeling has been resolved.

About 145,000 of the blue plates have been made, the government said. Ontario is looking into alternate uses for them, such as on trailers or recreational vehicles, said spokeswoman Ivana Yelich.

“In the interim, we will be exhausting all remaining passenger plates that we have in stock, including the existing supply of blue licence plates,” Yelich wrote in a statement.

The Progressive Conservatives revealed the new plates in the 2019 budget, saying the government spent $500,000 on a consultation on branding, but had a new contract for licence plate production that saved $4 million.

Government and Consumer Services Minister Lisa Thompson has said the plan with 3M for an enhanced plate would come at no additional cost to taxpayers.

The problem was first raised earlier this year when an off-duty police officer in Kingston, Ont., posted a picture of an unreadable plate in a well-lit parking lot at night.

A number of groups expressed concerns about the impact the problem could have on public safety, including Mothers Against Drunk Driving Canada and the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2020.