Ottawa Transit Fight Over Ontario’s License Plates, Authorities Call for Action

The Board Of Directors For Gatineau, Que.'S Transit Authority Wants A Crackdown On Quebecers Who Keep Their Ontario Licence Plates (Credits: CBC)

In an effort to bolster funding for public transit, the Société de Transport de l’Outaouais (STO) in Gatineau, Quebec, is urging authorities to crack down on residents who retain their Ontario license plates instead of paying renewal fees in Quebec.

The STO’s board of directors, led by Coun. Jocelyn Blondin has proposed a resolution to collaborate with the city to address this issue. The aim is to pressure governments to take action and ensure fairness for Gatineau residents.

Agency Seeks Crackdown to Ensure Fair Funding as Riders Cross Provincial Border

Ontario’s License Plate (Credits: Global News)

This move comes after the Quebec government granted municipalities the authority to impose additional taxes on license plate renewals, with the proceeds earmarked for transit funding.

Gatineau is experiencing the implementation of new fees, slated to begin in January 2025, which could inject $15 million into the struggling transit system, hit hard by declining ridership and fare revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Blondin emphasized the importance of residents complying with Quebec regulations, as they benefit from the province’s services and infrastructure. Retaining Ontario plates deprives the STO of crucial revenue needed to sustain public transportation operations.

The decision by the Ontario government to eliminate many license plate renewal fees in 2022 has exacerbated the situation. While presented as a measure to alleviate the financial burden on Ontarians, it has resulted in a significant loss of revenue for the province.

Ontario’s License Plate (Credits: Thomas M. Rösner )

Blondin has received numerous complaints from Gatineau residents regarding the prevalence of Ontario plates on local roads. He called on the province and the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) to promptly devise a plan to address this issue.

One proposed solution is the establishment of a dedicated task force to investigate reports of improper licence plate usage, utilizing the city’s 311 service.

Ontario’s License Plate (Credits: Global News)

Blondin stressed the frustration of citizens who feel that their neighbors are not contributing their fair share toward supporting essential services like public transportation.

As discussions continue, the STO remains committed to advocating for the interests of Gatineau residents and ensuring equitable access to transit resources.

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