In the past, the Ministry of Transportation has relied on proof of insurance, some stubs and information and they assumed you had valid insurance. Still, the number of suspected drivers without insurance has been on the rise and in an initiative with the Insurance Bureau of Canada the Ministry of Transportation is bringing the process of checking automobile insurance into the modern era.
The Uninsured Vehicles Project (UVP) began on November 29th , 2010 and now allows the Ministry to check your insurance electronically using the Vehicle Insurance Number (VIN) to make sure that the vehicle is registered with mandatory automobile insurance. Those drivers who are unable to show valid auto insurance will not be allowed to renew plates.
Perhaps just as importantly, the UVP is allowing the government to send notices to those drivers who have issues preemptively. Now, 120 days before your license renewal, the Ministry will send out what they are calling a 120 day letter which informs you that you have either insurance or VIN issues showing on their system. If you have no issues, you are not sent this letter although not receiving the letter is not a guarantee that everything is valid on the day you renew your plates. Individuals are still responsible for ensuring they are in compliance with Ministry requirements.
To renew your plates, all of the same information is still required – including proof of insurance.
The Ministry Announcement can be found here: http://news.ontario.ca/mto/en/2010/11/no-insurance-no-plate-renewal-1.html
P.S. – a conviction for No Insurance carries a minimum fine of $5,000.00 (plus substantial surcharges, equalling to 25% of the fine +$5.00 for court charges (6255 minimum) ) for a first offence and can carry a license suspension. We strongly recommend any individual charged with operate motor vehicle – no insurance or, permit drive motor vehicle – no insurance obtain legal advice at their earliest opportunity.
Editor’s Note: This article was first posted in 2010, shortly after this program began. It is reposted here, on our new site for your information.