TORONTO – The elimination of the $30 Drive Clean fee grabbed the headlines from the Ontario budget, but the fiscal plan also contains increases in virtually every other government service fee, including vehicle registration.
Starting next year, fees for driver and vehicle licensing, camping in provincial parks, fishing and hunting licences, liquor licences, event permits and court applications will be adjusted annually to keep up with inflation.
The government says automatic indexation will protect the sustainability and quality of the services, and ensure that the costs of providing them are borne by those who use and benefit from them.
The Ontario government raised $2.1 billion in fiscal 2014-15 from service fees, and says it will review all of them with an eye to making sure services intended to help low-income residents don’t become more expensive.
Eliminating the Drive Clean fee will cost the province about $60 million a year to pay private garages to conduct the emissions tests, and drivers will still have to cover the cost of any needed repairs to bring their vehicle up to code.
The budget also eliminates licensing fees for adoption agencies and increases the threshold for waiving fees for mediation in family courts.