Ontario to boost fees for farm plates

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Putting plates on farm vehicles in Ontario is going to get a bit more expensive each year starting in 2013.

The province on Tuesday announced it will begin to boost the annual fees for vehicle licence validations across various categories, as well as driver’s license renewal fees and driver exam fees.

Included among those, as of Jan. 1 next year, are the annual validation fees for all 63 weight classes of farm vehicles — fees which haven’t risen since 1988, the province noted.

In the lowest weight class of farm vehicle (3,001 to 3,500 kilograms), for example, the fee will rise Jan. 1, 2013 to $93, up from $81. That fee will then rise to $107 in 2014 and $123 in 2015.

At the other end of the weight range (63,001 to 63,500 kg), the fee would rise Jan. 1 to $737, up from the current rate of $641. The fees would then rise to $848 in 2014 and $975 in 2015.

Permit fees will also increase for off-road vehicles and snowmobiles starting in 2013, but only by $1 per year from current levels. Those fees haven’t risen since 1993, the province said.

In some of the non-farm categories, increases in the fee schedule will kick in earlier than Jan. 1 — some as early as September this year.

A spokesman for the provincial transportation department noted these fee increases are not full-cost recovery for the driver and vehicle licensing system, but rather meant to generate modest increases in revenue to help fund maintenance of roads, highways and bridges.

"Even with the increases, Ontario’s passenger vehicle licence fees will remain lower than many other provinces in Canada," the province said.