One year after freezing a number of drivers fees, the Ontario government is now considering increasing them back up again.
According to a post on a provincial regulatory registry, the government says they are seeking to introduce annual increases of two per cent for drivers fees “across the board” for “various driver, vehicle and carrier products and services.” Revenues raised from the increased fees will go to road improvements across Ontario.
The government will also look into increasing the driver examination services’ Consumer Price Index fee on July 1 instead of the scheduled date of September 1, but also proposing to cancel previously planned passenger and light commercial vehicle fee increases slated to take effect January 1, 2020 and January 1, 2021.
The estimated number of active commercial companies is about 58,000.
“These moderate fee increases will allow the government to continue delivering services and move towards full cost recovery without increasing taxes for all Ontario residents,” the posting said.
“By doing a two per cent regular increase, the Ministry of Transportation is taking a measured approach to achieving fiscal balance, while providing Ontario residents the ability to predict annual increases, directly tied to inflationary pressures.”
Under the proposal, the fees will start to increase on July 1 and continue for five years. Last year, fees for renewing driver licenses stayed at $90 when it was scheduled to go up to $97. Some passenger, commercial and farm vehicle drivers fees were also scheduled to go up on January 1 before the government froze them.
According to the government’s posting, they anticipate a neutral to negative reaction from drivers, vehicle owners and commercial carriers, with the impact on drivers and vehicle owners estimated to be low as proposed increases are minimal and will be spread over a five-year planning horizon.
The impact on commercial carriers, on the other hand, is expected to be medium, as carriers have previously been impacted by fee increases over the last few years.
UPDATE: the government has now confirmed that driver, vehicle and commercial fees will not increase until July 1 of 2020, but the two per cent increase on other fees will still take effect on July 12 of this year.