Quebec license plate, computer system, upgrade

Quebecers hoping to have vanity plates installed in their vehicles next year after being one of the two jurisdictions in North America without such a program will have to wait a little longer.

The program was supposed to launch in September 2015. However, Robert Poeti, the province’s transport minister, said implementation will have to be delayed at least until 2017 because the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec or SAAQ needs $4.5 million for a computer system upgrade.  The SAAQ is a crown corporation responsible for licensing drivers and vehicles in the province and providing public auto insurance.

“When the computer system is updated, we can look at the program again,” Poeti was quoted by the Montreal Gazette.

The idea of allowing personalized license plates in Quebec was presented by former Transport Minister Sylvain Gaudreault.

A poll in January indicated that 39 per cent of drivers in Quebec are interested in getting personalized license plates. At $250 per plates including tax, it was estimated that the program would net the provinces about $18 million in the first year.

Earlier, there were reports that the program was delayed because some officials were concerned that some drivers might opt for plates that use vulgar English words and expressions.

Poeti denied this and said the delayed stems from the need to upgrade the SAAQ’s 35-year-old computer system.

The transport minister expressed optimism of the program getting back on track because noted that Newfoundland and Quebec are the only jurisdictions in North America that still do not allow personalized plates.