The days of carefully placing expiry stickers on our licence plates and crossing our fingers that they won’t fall off will come to an end in 2021, says a Dec. 7 news release from the Alberta Government. They say advancements in technology plus a move towards the adoption of reflective plates makes expiry stickers unnecessary.
“Alberta’s government has been looking for ways to improve and modernize the delivery of registry services for Albertans,” Service Alberta Minister Nate Glubish said in the release.
“By moving to reflective licence plates, expiry stickers become redundant and outdated. This common-sense change cuts red tape, aligns Alberta with other Canadian provinces and saves taxpayers’ money.”
Other provinces that have already eliminated the use of expiry stickers include Quebec, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and the Northwest Territories.
The government says they currently spend about $1.2 million per year to print, ship and store expiry stickers for licence plates for the more than 5.5 million vehicles registered in Alberta. That amount will eventually be saved by Alberta taxpayers. The current stock of regular painted plates is starting to run out, so now is the right time to make the move. It is expected that the current supply of painted plates will run out by September, meaning those looking to purchase new plates or trade their old ones in will receive the new reflective plates around that time.
Vehicle owners are not required to purchase or change the plates they currently have.
The new reflective plates will have the same design as the old ones, with red letters and numbers and Alberta’s iconic wild rose at the top right. Specialty plates like the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, Support Our Troops, personalized and veterans’ plates are already reflective.
Licence plates can be scanned in order to validate the vehicle’s registration. Reflective plates are more easy to scan, which will help out law enforcement agencies using the technology.
There are a couple exceptions, however. Farm vehicles and prorated commercial vehicles participating in the International Registration Plan will still be required to display expiry stickers.
Grant Hunter, Associate Minister of Red Tape Reduction, called the decision “just common sense” in the release. “We are bringing Alberta’s government into the 21st century and moving at the speed Albertans deserve,” he said. Registry agents in Alberta also came forward with their support for the change.
How do I know when to register my car?
Vehicle owners must still register their vehicles at the same time each year and be able to produce a valid registration certificate when requested. Reminder notices are no longer sent by mail except to those who were over the age of 70 as of April 1, 2016, and those holding parking placards for persons with disabilities or disabled licence plates. Registrations expire at midnight on the last day of months assigned according to last names or company names.
January: A, I, J, Ke, U, X, 0-9
February: M, Q
March: B, Y
April: D, G
May: C, N
June: Cl, H, Sc
July: Av, Be, L, Sz, V, Z
August: E, Gr, R
September: F, Po, T
November: K, P
December: Me, O, W
To ensure you never miss your registration renewal date, sign up for reminders through MyAlberta eServices. You will receive a reminder email two months and then two weeks before the expiry date. To make things even easier, you can also renew your registration online and never even have to enter a registry office.
Purchasing a new license plate
Licence plates are purchasable at all registry agents’ offices in Alberta. In order to purchase a licence plate you will need to present:
- A valid driver’s licence
- Proof of ownership of the vehicle
For all vehicles except tractor-trailers and motorcycles, licence plates must be located at the back of a vehicle and be clean and easy to read.
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