By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express
It’s safe to say the release of the new Ontario license plates has not gone as the government expected with a recall announced last week.
With approximately 49,000 new plates already in circulation, the province has announced it will be recalling them due to difficulties seeing them in the dark.
Once the manufacturer, 3M Canada, has fixed the problem, the plates will be redistributed.
A recent statement from the Ford government said 3M is working on a new license plate which will reportedly be available in the next two to three weeks.
Oshawa MPP Jennifer French, also the province’s critic of transportation, raised her displeasure at Queen’s Park regarding the issues with the plates.
As the plates are difficult to read at night if there is a light shining on them, much to the pleasure of her NDP colleagues, French said, “I thought Ontario was a place to grow, not a place to glow.”
Speaking with The Oshawa Express, French expressed her disappointment at how the issue is being handled.
“This is something that the province was moving forward with quickly, and the blue and partisan nature of the plates made it a story before we found out that there was a safety piece,” she says, adding the blue shade on the plates is quite similar to that used by the Ontario PC party.
French points out the plates were rushed out to the community, and said there are now “consequences to the speed with which they were released.”
While the Ford government has citing how the previous white and blue plates were peeling and flaking, French believes part of the reason the government moved so quickly to have the plates changed was to “reflect the branding of the government.”
“Now, unfortunately [the plates] reflect so much so that they are unreadable,” she says.
She says the way the Ford government has handled the issue has been “an interesting issue to watch,” noting when she brought it the issue up in legislature, Lisa Thompson, Minister of Government and Consumer Services, assured her Ontario residents like the new plates.
“[She] assured me that people like the plates, and the plates are great, and essentially said that there was nothing to see here. [The] exhaustive testing that they spoke about at length…, [I’m] wondering today what that looked like because it seems as though the plates were rolled out before they had been road tested,” says French.
While Thompson cited new technology in the plates, French notes there is one piece of technology people still rely on to this day while driving – the human eye.
“The human eye should be sufficient in order to read a license plate while out on the road,” she says.
French wants to make sure the government fixes this as fast as possible in order to make roads around Ontario as safe as possible, but she says there is one big issue.
“The existing new white plates that could have been used to transition into the new plates… this government, a few weeks ago, had made the decision to destroy them,” she says. “The plan B to buy us a bit more time while this is addressed, has been sent to the scrap heap – literally.”
French says it is up to the government to the to figure this issue out.
Durham MPP Lindsey Park did not respond to the Express’s request for comment.
In a statement late last week, the Ford government stated 3M is working on a new version of the plate, and expects to have it available in the next three weeks. Those who have already received plates will receive the new ones in the mail.