ICBC declined 3,135 of 9,467 personalized licence plate applications in 2022. Applications are rejected if they don't meet guidelines and criteria or if they're deemed objectionable. For instance, if they're discriminatory, sexually suggestive, abusive or derogatory in any language.
ICBC asks that applicants for personalized licence plates review the criteria and guidelines before they apply.
The top 10 most commonly rejected slogan requests were:
- BLU BYU
- HELL NO
ICBC has published a list of all the requests that were rejected, along with the caution that some are offensive.
The recent news item outlining several rejected personalized plates may give the false impression that there are only a few rejected plates.
In the course of my employment, on many occasions I visited the ICBC department that administered number plates. Along with other duties, they are assigned to inspect each request to determine if the combination of digits are appropriate to be displayed on a BC number plate. The exercise, somewhat reminiscent of solving a puzzle. Staff spell the request backwards, look at it upside down, examine the image created by the letters and numbers with mirrors, looking for a hidden messages, just in case. They actually had a computer generated list of all the previously generated plate number/letter requests. 20 years ago there were thousands on the list and I'm sure added to by dozens each year. Even looking at the list, I'd see some that looked innocuous, no reason I could see to reject until I reflected on it and the light would go on. "Oh, ya,,,, I get it". Even then I have seen the odd one on the street that has gotten through. They do have the authority reject a plate after the fact.