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HomeDriver's ResourcesDriving Without Licence Plates in Canada

In most cases, no, it is not legal to drive a vehicle without a license plate. License plates are required by law in most jurisdictions to help identify and track vehicles on public roads. Driving without a license plate or with an expired or incorrect plate can result in a traffic ticket or citation, which can result in fines, points on your driving record, and in some cases, impounding of the vehicle.

There are some limited situations where a vehicle may be driven without license plates, such as during the process of purchasing or transferring ownership of the vehicle. In these cases, temporary or paper license plates may be issued by the relevant authorities.

However, in general, it is important to have valid license plates displayed on your vehicle while driving on public roads.

The fine for driving without license plates can vary by province or territory in Canada. Here is a breakdown of the fines for driving without license plates in some of the most populous provinces:

  1. Ontario: $230
  2. Quebec: $154 to $240
  3. British Columbia: $109
  4. Alberta: $155
  5. Manitoba: $237

Can I drive in Canada without a front license plate?

license plate

Driving without a front license plate in Canada depends on provincial and territorial regulations. Here’s a breakdown, province by province:

  1. Alberta: Front and rear license plates are required.
  2. British Columbia (BC): Front and rear license plates are required.
  3. Manitoba: Front and rear license plates are required.
  4. New Brunswick: Only a rear license plate is required.
  5. Newfoundland and Labrador: Only a rear license plate is required.
  6. Northwest Territories: Front and rear license plates are required.
  7. Nova Scotia: Only a rear license plate is required.
  8. Nunavut: Front and rear license plates are required.
  9. Ontario: Front and rear license plates are required.
  10. Prince Edward Island (PEI): Only a rear license plate is required.
  11. Quebec: Only a rear license plate is required.
  12. Saskatchewan: Only a rear license plate is required.
  13. Yukon: Front and rear license plates are required.

If you’re planning to drive in a particular province or territory, always check the current regulations before doing so. Some provinces and territories may have changed their requirements since 2022.

What is the fine for no front license plate?

The fines for not displaying a front license plate in Canada can vary by province and municipality, and they might change over time. Here’s a general overview of the penalties for not having a front license plate where it’s required:

  1. Alberta: The fine can be up to $115, but it can vary depending on the specific circumstances and jurisdiction.
  2. British Columbia (BC): The fine is typically around $230.
  3. Manitoba: Fines can range but are generally around $113.
  4. Northwest Territories: The fine can vary, but infractions related to license plates typically have fines starting at $115.
  5. Nunavut: Information is limited, but fines for traffic violations in Nunavut often start at $100 or more. For specifics, it’s best to consult territorial regulations.
  6. Ontario: The fine for failing to display a front license plate is $85 plus a victim surcharge and court costs, bringing the total to about $110.
  7. Yukon: The fine for not displaying the required license plates is $100.

For provinces like New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Prince Edward Island, where only rear plates are required, there wouldn’t be a fine for not having a front plate.

However, these figures can change, and local law enforcement or traffic courts might interpret and apply the rules differently in specific situations. Always consult the local highway traffic act or equivalent legislation for the most up-to-date and precise information.

Can you park a car without plates in your driveway?

Yellow License Plate

In Canada, the rules regarding parking a car without license plates in your driveway can vary by province and municipality. Here is a breakdown of the rules in some of the most populous provinces:

  1. Ontario: It is generally allowed to park an unlicensed vehicle in a private driveway for up to 6 months. However, there may be local bylaws that impose additional restrictions.
  2. Quebec: It is generally not allowed to park an unlicensed vehicle in a residential area or in front of a residential property.
  3. British Columbia: Unlicensed vehicles can be parked on private property, but they must not be visible from the street and must not cause a nuisance to neighbors.
  4. Alberta: Unlicensed vehicles can be parked on private property, but they must not be visible from the street and must not cause a nuisance to neighbors.
  5. Manitoba: Unlicensed vehicles can be parked on private property, but they must not be visible from the street and must not cause a nuisance to neighbors.

These rules can vary by municipality and may be subject to change. Additionally, there may be other regulations or bylaws that apply, such as restrictions on parking on public streets or parking of non-functioning vehicles. It’s a good idea to check with the relevant authorities in your area to ensure that you are in compliance with all applicable regulations.

How do I drive a new car home without plates?

license plate

If you have purchased a new car and do not yet have license plates, there are a few options for driving it home legally:

  1. Temporary Registration: In many cases, the dealership or seller can provide you with temporary registration documents that allow you to legally drive the car for a limited period of time (usually a few days to a few weeks) until you receive your permanent plates.
  2. Transport Truck: You can arrange to have the car transported to your home by a professional transport truck service. This option may incur additional fees, but it eliminates the need for temporary registration.
  3. Dealer Transport: Some dealerships offer transport services where they will deliver the car to your home for a fee.

Check with the dealership or seller to see what options are available and what the associated fees may be. Additionally, if you are stopped by law enforcement while driving the car home without plates, you can show them the bill of sale or other proof of purchase to demonstrate that the car is new and does not yet have plates. However, it’s always best to have temporary registration documents or other legal documentation in case of a traffic stop.

What to do with old license plates?

In Canada, the specific requirements for disposing of old license plates can vary by province or territory. Here are some general guidelines that can apply in many jurisdictions:

  1. Remove the License Plates: Remove the license plates from your vehicle, including the screws that attach them.
  2. Destroy the Plates: Most provinces and territories require that you destroy the license plates to prevent them from being reused or stolen. You can do this by bending the plates or cutting them into pieces.
  3. Return the Plates: In some provinces or territories, you may be required to return the plates to a licensing office or ServiceOntario for disposal. Check with the relevant authorities in your area to determine if this is required.
  4. Recycle the Plates: If your province or territory allows it, you can recycle the plates. Check with your local recycling center to determine if they accept license plates for recycling.

Regulations regarding license plate disposal can vary, so it’s a good idea to check with the relevant authorities in your province or territory to ensure that you are following the correct procedures.

What do I do if my Ontario license plate is peeling?

License Plate Car Shield

If your Ontario license plate is peeling, you can obtain a replacement plate by following these steps:

  1. Visit a ServiceOntario Location: You can visit a ServiceOntario location to obtain a replacement license plate. Be sure to bring the peeling plate with you as proof of ownership.
  2. Complete the Required Forms: You will need to complete a Request for a Licence Plate (PDF) form, which you can obtain at the ServiceOntario location or download from the ServiceOntario website. You will also need to provide your vehicle registration and proof of insurance.
  3. Pay the Replacement Fee: There is a fee for obtaining a replacement license plate, which you will need to pay at the ServiceOntario location.
  4. Receive the Replacement Plate: Once you have completed the required forms and paid the fee, you will receive a replacement license plate.

Replace peeling license plates as soon as possible, as driving with a damaged or unreadable plate can result in a traffic violation and possible fines or penalties.

About the Author: Valerie D. Hahn

Valerie is an insurance editor, journalist, and business professional at RateLab. She has more than 15 years of experience in personal financial products. She strives to educate readers and ensure that they are properly protected.

2 Comments

  1. Steve 29 June 2021 at 11:05 am - Reply

    If I get a electric car from China and it’s top speed is 60kmh. Do I still need a license?

  2. t 2 August 2023 at 4:58 pm - Reply

    you do not need a front plate in nova scotia.

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