Ontario considers raising driver, vehicle fees months after freezing them

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TORONTO — Less than a year after freezing driver and vehicle fees in Ontario, the Progressive Conservative government is considering raising them again, while bracing for a “negative reaction.”

In a proposal quietly posted to a regulatory registry for public comment, the government says it is seeking to introduce annual fee increases of two per cent “across the board” for “various driver, vehicle and carrier products and services.”

“These moderate fee increases will allow the government to continue delivering services and move towards full cost recovery without increasing taxes for all Ontarians,” said the posting.

“By doing a two per cent regular increase, the Ministry of Transportation is taking a measured approach to achieving fiscal balance, while providing Ontario residents the ability to predict annual increases, directly tied to inflationary pressures.”

The posting was up for just five days and removed on Monday. Only two comments were received, the ministry said.

The fee increases would start July 1 and continue for five years, under the proposal.

“It is anticipated there will be a neutral to negative reaction from drivers, vehicle owners and commercial carriers, with the impact on drivers and vehicle owners estimated to be low as proposed increases are minimal and will be spread over a five-year planning horizon,” the proposal says.

The government froze some driver fees last August, cancelling increases that had been set for the following month, leaving the fee for a new driver’s licence, for example, at $90 instead of $97.

“People are fed up with paying more and more every time they need to renew their licence or take a driving test,” Premier Doug Ford said in a statement at the time.

Later, the government also cancelled increases for some passenger, commercial and farm vehicle and driver fees that were set to take effect Jan. 1, 2019.

A spokesman for Transportation Minister Jeff Yurek said the proposed increases were posted for feedback, and stressed that no decisions have been made yet.

Interim Liberal Leader John Fraser said the government is saying one thing and doing another.

“The Ford government made a big deal about not raising license fees and now they’ve done this quietly, hoping no one would notice,” he said in a statement. “The Ford government has put themselves in a very tight fiscal box. They’ve reduced their revenues through tax cuts for the rich and corporations as well as ending cap and trade. When revenue is reduced, it limits your options.”

Green party Leader Mike Schreiner pointed to analysis from the province’s fiscal watchdog and said it will be difficult to balance the budget without new revenue, so the premier is quietly cancelling some of his old promises, like halting driver fee increases.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation said it’s concerned that Ontario is looking to increase fees for drivers, who need a break.

“Instead of raising fees to cover the cost of providing these services, the government should explore ways to reduce the cost of providing these services,” the federation’s interim Ontario director, Jasmine Pickel, said in a statement.

The proposal also says the impact on commercial carriers is expected to be “medium, as carriers have previously been impacted by fee increases over the last few years.”

Allison Jones, The Canadian Press

20 COMMENTS

  1. Wow. Maybe they’ll give us a piss meter. So they can tax us every time we take one. Taxing everything. Enuf is ENUF! I have no more to give. Our govt thinks our money is theirs. F’k them.

  2. All political parties are the same they have the credit card and we pay the bill. We can only blame ourselves. We have all seen what the people in other countries do when they have had enough. Just look at Hong Kong. If Canadians won’t stand up for themselves the bullies will continue to bully us and take care of themselves while we complain on our keyboards. It was great to see the celebration in Toronto for the Raptors to bad a protest of that size couldn’t happen against all levels of government to remind them we are the bosses.

  3. They better start supplying some lube as they they bend us over yet again. The gouging will never end.

  4. Premier Ford seems to be intentionally alienating Ontario voters. I voted for him because anything was better than the corrupt disgusting Liberals that were in place, and put Ontario into deep, deep debt. If Premier Ford keeps alienating Ontario voters, he could very well help Trudeau win the next federal election in October. Premier Ford is quickly becoming the Conservative Parties weakest link, and the Liberal Parties strongest asset. ” Smarten The Hell Up Doug Ford ” You are acting like a bull in a china shop, which was a problem with both you and your brother before his unfortunate passing. Changes are necessary, but at a much slower pace, so as not to totally alienate all the people that voted for you.

    • Mark Fluter I didn’t say anything about “Ford”. My Comment was directed towards the great fullness people expressed when minimum wage got/gets increased. Unfortunately Cost of living far exceeds wage growth is all I’m saying.

      • Why not blame employers for not paying their enployees a livable wage instead of jacking their prices up as a result of the increase to minimum wage?

  5. Will it ever end? How are taxpayers ever to keep even let alone ever get ahead? This nickel and diming us needs to stop. If Ford cannot keep his promises he should resign.

  6. he canceled the already planned drivers licence increase under the guise of “Putting more money in peoples pockets”. so this is a 180. And dont forget he promised to balance the budget without raising taxes (these fees are basically tax) well I guess you have to come up with the money some how to give to race tracks, and the 1%

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