What Do You Do With Your Old License Plates?

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plate sticker

In Ontario, license plates are legally required for every registered vehicle. Getting new license plates is something that many people have to go through in their lifetime.

But what do you do with your old ones? Can you sell them? These are all common questions people ask themselves when they need a new set of plates.

In this blog post, we will answer these questions and provide information on what to do with outdated license plates.

motor vehicles

If you end up getting new license plates, there is no need to return your old ones to the Ministry of Transportation. You can keep them and transfer them to a new vehicle if needed in the future. Since you don’t need to return them, what can you do with them? Well, there are a couple of options:

Collect old license plates

If you are a collector, license plates can make an excellent addition to your collection. You can keep them as a memento of your past vehicles, or you could create an entire collection based around the different provinces in Canada.

Recycle them

Old license plates can also be recycled. If you are not a collector, or if the plate has become damaged and is unusable, there are organizations that will take them for recycling.

License plates for arts and crafts

License plates can also be used in crafts. If you have a craft project that requires metal, old license plates may come in handy. This can be a great project for children where they can customize their license plate with paint and have some fun.

Can you transfer a license plate from one person to another?

passenger plates

Every province in Canada, with the exception of Newfoundland and Labrador, has very similar rules to how licence plates are assigned at the time of purchase. The license remains with the owner rather than being transferred to another vehicle after buying a new one. In Newfoundland and Labrador, however, license plates remain with the actual vehicle rather than their owners.

In Ontario, you are not allowed to transfer a license plate from one person to another. However, there are some special circumstances where this may be allowed.

Some exceptions for when licence plate transfers are allowed between individuals include:

  • Plate transfer between spouses
  • Plate transfer between siblings
  • Plate transfer between children and parents
  • Plate transfer between grandchildren and grandparents

From the Ministry of Transportation, there may be other special occasions where plate transfer will be allowed. However, this process requires a lot of paperwork and has to go through their legal team before it can happen. Both parties involved in the transaction must sign an agreement for the receiver to take responsibility if any fines or infractions apply from then on.

Replacing your licence plates

validation sticker

Your licence plate can be replaced at any MTO office. A valid driver’s license, registration and identification number of the applicant must be provided. Here are a couple reasons why you might need to replace your licence plate:

  • Your vehicle plates get stolen
  • Your licence plates get damaged
  • Your plates are worn out
  • You want to change your plate number
  • You want a custom licence plate

Transferring your licence plates to a new vehicle

It’s important to know when and where you can use your license plate. If the original car is sold or no longer going to be used by the owner, then plates must physically removed from the vehicle and kept in possession of its owners. When purchasing a new car, it’s possible that an individual has access to their old license plate but they need register ownership with the MTO before applying for tags on this newly purchased automobile. They are required to have proof of purchase upon registering the new vehicle as well as proof showing that he was previously registered under another name-plate number. There is a section on your vehicle permit for plate ownership.


You can return your validated plates to any licensing office for a refund of the validation cost. The refund only applies to the licence plate stickers and not the metal plates themselves.

Yes, a front license plate is mandatory in Ontario.

It is not legal to sell licence plates in Ontario. The government has made it illegal for anyone other than the owner of a plate to exchange, purchase or trade license plates with one another.

There are two different types of black licence plates:

Yellow and Black: A yellow and black licence plate indicates that the vehicle has temporary dealer plates.

Black and White: A black and white licence plates indicates the vehicle is used for commercial purposes (ie. tractors).

Red licence plates are special licence plates used for diplomats.

A green license plate with the white lettering is a unique design that offers access to certain High Occupancy Vehicles (HOV) and High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes.

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