TORONTO — Count Ontario’s controversial blue licence plate as the latest casualty of the COVID-19 crisis.
Embarrassingly pulled from the market at the end of February pending a fix to non-reflective letters, Premier Doug Ford has officially pulled the plug altogether on the blue plate amid today’s obviously changed priorities. The province will keep issuing the traditional white-background plate with the old ‘Yours to Discover’ slogan.
The white plate was temporarily brought back barely a month after the introduction of its blue replacement, which was supposed to return with legibility problems corrected in mid-March. That never happened as the province found itself in the grip of the emerging pandemic.
Conceding that “further work is needed” to fix the blue plate’s visibility problem, Ford has decided that redesign “will no longer proceed.”
“Right now, I’m just not willing to put any more resources towards this,” he said during today’s media briefing.
The failed blue design also featured the first new licence-plate slogans in decades: ‘A Place to Grow’ on passenger vehicles and ‘Open for Business’ on commercial vehicles. But the premier expressed no interest in having those taglines appear on the white plate. “It hasn’t been top of mind for me at all, with what we’ve been going through,” he said.
Meanwhile, a de-lamination issue with the white plate has been resolved by the manufacturers with a five-year guarantee on the product, according to the province.
Approximately 145,000 blue plates were manufactured “while we awaited final testing results from our stakeholders,” Ford acknowledged in today’s statement. This existing stock won’t ever be issued for passenger vehicles, though the premier says the government is considering alternative uses, “such as trailers or recreational vehicles.”
The blue plates remain legal on the cars that already have them — for now. Ontarians are asked to not visit a ServiceOntario centre to exchange their plates unless absolutely necessary.