A young girl with surprised expression looking through binoculars.

Why Ontario driver and vehicle fees could soon be rising by 2 percent

Less than a year after freezing them, Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative government is looking at a 2% “across the board” increase in annual driver and vehicle fees, “according to a recently posted proposal on the regulatory registry.

The increase in fees would apply to taking the G1, G2 and G driving tests, renewing a driver’s licence, and renewing licence plate stickers. 

The proposal states that, if implemented, the fee hikes would take effect on July 1 and remain in effect for five years.

“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 said, according to CBC News.

The Ford government froze some driver and vehicle fees in August 2018. In fact, CBC News said that it actually cancelled some scheduled increases. This left, for instance, the cost of getting a new driver’s licence at $90 instead of the scheduled $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 last year in a statement.

But Ford is being criticized for doing a 180-degree turn, as his government is now saying that these fee increases are necessary to continue delivering these services without hiking Ontarians’ taxes.

"The Ford government made a big deal about not raising license fees and now they've done this quietly, hoping no one would notice," interim Liberal leader John Fraser 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."