Blog A Guide To Getting Ontario Custom Licence Plates

Oct 14, 2020

How To Get Personalized Licence Plates In Ontario

An Ontario custom licence plate

Thinking about getting a custom licence plate in Ontario? Its something thousands of drivers have. Most people at least consider it at one time or another. And many continue to get personalized plates. But, just as many have been rejected because they do not meet the criteria set out by the MTO.

In this guide we’ll tell you what you need to know about getting vanity license plates. You’ll learn how to order and apply for a custom licence plate, learn the do’s and don’ts, and get answers to common questions about vanity plates.

What Is A Personalized Licence Plate?

Personalized licence plates are a special type of licence plate. They allow you to use your own combination of letters and numbers, rather than the combination provided by the MTO. For a fee you can create a message or slogan using almost any combination of letters and numbers. There are some restrictions and rules in place to ensure the plate is appropriate.

You can get custom plates for personal or commercial vehicles. Personalized plates are also referred to as custom or vanity licence plates.

How Much Is A Custom Licence Plate In Ontario?

It is $310 for a custom licence plate (2 to 8 characters). It is $336.40 for a custom plate with 2 to 6 characters and a graphic. You can pay by VISA, Mastercard, or Interac Online.

How Do I Personalize My Plate?

Purchasing a personalized licence plate is a fairly straightforward process. You can buy it online, at a Service Ontario location or by calling 1-800-AUTOPL8 (2886758). You will need your drivers licence number or registrant identification number (RIN). You must also pay any outstanding fines and highway 407 toll fees before your order.

You can start your online order on the Ontario.ca website. You will need to follow these steps :

  • Enter your drivers licence number or RIN.
  • Choose the plate type you want (personal, commercial, motorcycle).
  • Choose if you want a plate with or without a graphic.
  • Enter the characters you would like on your licence plate (choose 3 options).
  • Check availability
  • If the custom plate is available, select it and confirm your purchase.
  • Complete the purchase process.

You can expect to receive your vanity licence plate in the mail in about 4 weeks.

Personalized Licence Plate Ideas That Will Get Rejected

People have a lot of custom licence plate ideas. But not all of them are considered acceptable. In fact, thousands of custom plate applications get rejected annually. 3,877 plates were rejected over the past year (between May 1, 2019, and May 31, 2020) for being too political, rude, or sexual. All variations of COVID are also rejected.

Here is the full list of rejected plates.

Plates are likely to be rejected if they contain objectionable content. Here’s a list of topics that commonly are not accepted :

  • Sexual messaging or meanings
  • Abusive, obscene, or derogatory slang
  • Religious meaning or messaging
  • Reference to drugs and alcohol
  • Political figures or dignitaries
  • Violence or criminal activity
  • Human rights discrimination
  • Intellectual property

Plates also need to have clarity and be easy for law enforcement to read.

Plates are rejected by provincial staff. The Personalized Licence Plate Review Committee reviews questionable plates. They are approved or denied unanimously or the plate gets escalated to a manager at the MTO.

Ontario Custom Licence Plate Rules

An Ontario personalized licence plate

Licence plates must meet this criteria :

  • Your combination of numbers and letters cannot already be in use.
  • It is between 2 and 8 characters.
  • You cannot have more than 4 identical numbers or letters in a row.
  • Interchangeable numbers and letters are not allowed (for example S/5, A/4).

How Do You Check Personalized Licence Plate Availability In Ontario?

You can check Ontario personalized licence plate availability when you order personalized plates. You will be able to look up plate options as part of the purchase process.

Custom Licence Plates With A Logo Or Graphic

Drivers can also purchase custom plates that included an approved logo or graphic. There are over 60 Ontario licence plate graphics to choose from several categories :

  • Arts and Entertainment
  • Charity
  • Community Organizations
  • Environment
  • Government
  • Heritage
  • Novelty
  • Professional
  • Sports Teams
  • Universities and Colleges

See the complete list.


Personalized Licence Plate FAQs

Thinking about getting a vanity plate? Check out these commonly asked questions :

A vanity licence plate is another name for a personalized or custom plate. It’s a great way for you to add your personal touch on your vehicle and to show off your interests or personality.

Yes. You can check to see if your preferred plate is available during the purchase process on the Ontario.ca website.

You can have as few as two and up to eight characters. You can use a combination of numbers and letters.

People get vanity licence plates for many reasons. Some equate it to being like a tattoo for your vehicle. Its something distinct that makes your vehicle stand out. People also get custom plates to show support for a favorite sports team or organization or to say something about themselves.

Customer plates work just like regular plates. Once you have them on your vehicle, you’ll need to renew your licence plate sticker and follow all provincial rules regarding vehicle licencing.

It only takes a fee minutes to complete the application process. You can receive your customer plates in the mail in as short as four weeks from the date you order them.

Express Yourself With A Personalized Licence Plate

Getting a custom licence plate is a great way to express yourself or support a cause. The only question left is, what are you going to get on your personalized licence plate?

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