Ontario "Year of Manufacture" License Plate Program

The Ontario "Year of Manufacture" plate program is a great initiative that allows you to use antique license plates that correspond to the year of your car. Here are instructions on how to take advantage of this program.

                                     

Step 1 - Get a Set of Plates

     The most important thing to keep in mind is that any matching set of antique plates will not necessarily be useable on your car for this program. Why? The number on the plates may already be in use as a snowmobile registration number or in use on a motorcycle or trailer plate. In my own experience about 80% of the matching plates I owned were not compliant (the number was taken). The toughest are plates with all numbers and no letters.

     Before you lay out any money on a set of plates, no matter how nice or how good of a deal, call the Ministry of Transportation to confirm if the number on the plates is available for this program. Call 1-800-387-3445 and follow the prompts to get to a live agent. They can tell you immediately if the number is available. If it is - grab your plates! eBay is a good place to find plates since it gives you time to call the Ministry before bidding. Another option is Eric's Plates in Ottawa, Ontario. He has very nice sets that are already checked for YOM eligibility.

Step 2 - Get the Plates Approved by the Ministry of Transportation

     OK, you've got your plates. You now must send the plates in to the Ministry of Transportation for approval. Send both license plates with a clear copy of the ownership of the car they will be attached to (must be same years). NEW! There is now a $235.25 application fee which must be sent in with the plates! I knew it was too good to last as a free service. Send everything to the following address by courier (so you can track them);

Ministry of Transportation
Licensing Service Program
1355 John Counter Blvd.
P.O. Box 9200
Kingston, Ontario K7L-5A3

     The Ministry will do three things. First they will confirm the number is available. Then they will decide if the condition of the plates is acceptable. The plates must be good original examples or properly restored. Plates that are rusty or repainted poorly or incorrectly (i.e. wrong colours for the year in question) will be rejected. The 1935 plates above will need to be restored before I can send them in. The 1972 plates are probably good enough to use as is. If the plates are accepted they will then be returned to you via registered mail with a letter of acceptance.

Step 3 - Attach the Plates to Your Ownership (and car!)

     You now have the plates and the letter of approval. Take these in with your original ownership to your nearest MTO office and have them applied to your car. You can now attach them to your car and enjoy the great look of the vintage plates!

     The only grey area comes with the validation sticker. Legally it is supposed to be on the top right corner of the plate. Many old plates have embossed lettering there. So what to do? I've seen mini brackets attached to the plate above the area in question or the sticker applied to another part of the plate. Let me stress that this is technically not acceptable. However, I can't see a police officer being too hard on anyone that has made the effort to show the sticker somewhere near the correct area.

     Keep in mind the validation sticker is the full $74 type with no restrictions. The YOM program is not associated with the Historic Plate program which has a cheaper validation sticker with restrictions.
 

If you have run into any problems with this program not mentioned here please let me know so it can be shared with others. - allan@VintageCarConnection.com

The Ministry of Transportation finally has its own website detailing this which can be viewed by clicking here.

 

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