Front Licence Plates, Again...

I am just in process of buying a new vehicle.  I have heard rumours that B.C. is considering going to rear licence plate only like Alberta.

Any truth to rumour.  Hate to drill holes in front bumper of $80,000 vehicle if I don’t have to.   Then again, perhaps if I drive with only a rear plate like the 100’s of Alberta vehicles here, I would be o.k.!!!


I get asked this once in a while and can say that as far as I am aware, that's all it is, a rumour. Regardless, the law as it is now is what needs to be followed, not what might happen in the future.

The dealer should supply the vehicle to you with a front licence plate holder already installed. If they don't, you may wish to check out no drill licence plate holders.

It's $109 a pop for failing to display the front licence plate when 2 are issued. If written under section 219(1) MVA it goes on your driving record as well.

I'll leave it to you to decide if it's worth the hassle.

Another answer!

Hate to drill holes in front bumper of $80,000 vehicle if I don’t have to.

There are some bodyshops (or similar, like graphics shops) who will be able to create and apply a terrifically realistic decal (I think that's the right term) to your front bumper that in all respects looks like the front license plate that's supposed to be there.

I know this because I have a good friend with a couple of GT3's in his driveway (he has way more money than me ... ).

You must realize that these are not legal, and you could be ticketed if the boys in blue spot what you got. I'm not certain whether they have the same reflectance properties as a 'proper' plate, either.

Just a random thought, eh?


Will follow up and see if I can utilize a no holes method.  Sad that Alberta drivers are allowed one plate and not us.  If it was so critical, for whatever reason, then ALL vehicles operating in B.C. should have to display 2 plates.  But then, common sense does not always prevail.

Touching on that subject, it is amazing the very large numbers of people that have their vehicles registered in Alberta but are permanent residents of B.C.  Many have a property in Alberta and use that as a reason to declare, in their minds, that their principal residence is in Alberta.

They do not qualify for Alberta Health Care as they do not live in Alberta for 181 days a year.  Most live here Spring/Summer/early Fall and in U.S. in Winter.  A couple of people I know have all their mail directed to an Alberta address to meet one of the requirements of Revenue Canada so they can file taxes in Alberta and not pay their fair share here. Also, several I am aware of have purchased high priced boats and have not paid PST of course.  Kelowna is full of boats with Transport Canada registrations for Alberta and owned by B.C. residents.  I know someone that has lived here 15 years and has had high end vehicles all registered in Alberta.  Also high end boats over $200,000 ea. bought here and registered in Alberta.  No trailer to require plates.  One old vehicle with Alberta plates that has not left the area in 15 years.

A retired RCMP member who went as an Insurance Adjuster once told me that if a person has their vehicle illegally registered in Alberta when they are in fact B.C. residents would nullify their auto insurance if their private insurer became aware.  i.e.  illegally registered, breaking the law………no insurance.  If they were to get in serious accident, could be out millions.

Bottom line, B.C. is losing out on millions of PST dollars each year in Kelowna alone.

"Sad" that Alberta drivers are allowed one plate and not us.

Let's consider WHY we even have plates on vehicles.  To identify them in the event of a problem.  Keeping that in mind, why in heavens name would any jurisdiction reduce the ability to identify a vehicle by allowing only one plate on a vehicle ?

The writer's second sentence was 100% correct up to a point. "Sad that Alberta drivers (vehicles ?) are allowed one plate <period>." ( I must have missed seeing the Alberta drivers who have license plates, one or otherwise.)

Back in the dark ages when we actually issued new number plates each year, and each plate did not require any other validation, such as a decal, there were cases of people using one plate on one vehicle and the other on a second. 

The old trick of a person owning two vehicles, both parked on the street, only one legally plated.  Parking them touching and having one plate on the rear or the vehicle behind and the one in front having the matching plate on the front of it.

In that era perhaps it could be argued that issuing only one plate prevented the illegal use of plates on multiple vehicles.  Not the case today.

Considering plates are re-used for many years, the actual cost savings must be minimal.

So why ?  So some Albertan can place a Calgary Stampeders plate on the front of his truck ?  So some Albertan's exotic sports car isn't "defaced" with an ugly front license plate.

Personally I find it short sighted, ill thought out, and something that hampers the ability to ID vehicles involved in illegal activity as well as other circumstances such as plate checking at borders etc.

I would hope in the future it won't be a case of "when will BC not have to have a front plate", but will be, "when will Alberta go back to a two plate system".

For anyone who is going to say "well not all vehicles in BC are required to have a front plate".  Yes, that's correct, trailers, motorcycles, construction/agriculture machinery don't.  Motorcycles also don't have seat belts, but then occupants of cars aren't required to wear helmets.  Deal with it.

The chickens sometimes come home to roost.

Yes, there are a few "smarties" that think they have a way around the system.  They might slip under the radar for avoiding some sales tax, or for purchasing auto insurance at a perceived discount in AB, when they actually live in BC.

When they really need their auto insurance for a major loss.  Where the private insurance company is facing a large pay out, the truth often comes out.

They just couldn't avoid saving those dollars on their municipal taxes on their big expensive home they built in Kelowna, so they apply and get the home owners grant in BC, where they state they are a resident of BC.  Their cell phone, cable, utilities all in BC.

Ironically it's the wealthy that need to make sure that their insurance is honestly and legitimate.

They have assets to loose.  They guy who is couch surfing, and hasn't got a pot or a window, who drives his 25 year old truck with a counterfeit decal and no valid insurance actually has nothing that can be taken away.


Well, I suppose in some ways many of us will do things to save money that are not in our best interests and can actually hurt others. This is one of them and I have a few articles about it on the site.

If you wish, the fine folks at the Consumer Taxation Branch will accept anonymous reports. You will find the contact number in the right column of their Sales Taxes page.

That is one of the drawbacks of cheating on vehicle insurance. You could find yourself in a position of having paid the premiums and being denied the coverage. Sometimes it is just not worth the risk.

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