Many Ontarians rely on the automated notices from ServiceOntario to remind them to get their driver’s licence and licence plate stickers renewed. But what happens if the renewal notice never comes? Don’t get caught without a valid driver’s licence and risk getting fined and ticketed!
It happens more often than you think
In 2014, a system error resulted in 100,000 Ontario drivers not receiving their driver’s licence renewal notice. Although 50,000 of those drivers still remembered to renew their licence, the other half didn’t and required an urgent notice to renew their licences as soon as possible once ServiceOntario discovered the error.1
This example shows just how reliant Ontarians are on their licence renewal notices to remember that their expiry date is approaching. Although ServiceOntario has gone through measures to ensure this doesn’t happen again, it’s not ideal to rely solely on these notices. You could receive a notice and then forget about it, forget to change your address and not receive your notice, or the notice could get lost in the mail, and as a result you could end up driving with an expired driver’s licence. This happens more often than you might think—OTIP recently discovered that numerous members were not aware they were driving without a valid driver’s licence.
There are consequences
Not only does driving without a valid driver’s licence come with a hefty fine of $260,2 it can also void your insurance coverage. Insurance policies are written with the condition that you are authorized by law to operate a vehicle, which means having a valid driver’s licence. If you get into a car accident and your licence is not valid, your insurance company could refuse to cover the damage and you could be personally responsible for any property damage and personal injuries. If you’re injured by another driver, it could also prevent you from being able to sue an at-fault driver. Additionally, if you get a ticket for driving without a valid licence, it could increase your car insurance premiums, costing you more in the long run.
If you let your licence stay expired for too long, you’ll have to restart the licensing process from square one. If your driver’s licence has been expired for more than three years, you’ll have to reapply for a licence and meet all the requirements of graduated licencing, including passing the G1 and G2 tests.3
Typically, your driver’s licence expiry dates are synced up with your licence plate sticker expiry as well. If your sticker is expired, you could get fined $85 in addition to the ticket you get for driving without a valid licence.2
Renewing is easy
Renewing your licence in Ontario is easy—if you don’t need a new photo, don’t have any outstanding fines, don’t need any tests (vision, written, or road) and you have a full G, D, or M licence, you can renew online.4 If you can’t renew online, you can go to any ServiceOntario centre to renew. Find more information on the ServiceOntario website.
To ensure you don’t miss your next driver’s licence renewal date, it’s a good idea to check your expiry date and put a reminder in your calendar. If you have questions about your car insurance coverage, call 1-800-267-6847 to speak with an OTIP insurance broker.
1. Ottawa Citizen
2. Ontario Courts