Digital Dealer Registration a Reality in 2023

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Frank Notte is the Director of Government Relations for the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association. You can reach him at [email protected]. Photo TADA

Thanks to the efforts of both TADA and the Ontario Government, DDR will make it easier for dealers to conduct business in the province.

As we head forward in 2023, I wanted to take this opportunity to recap the legislative milestones achieved by the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association (TADA) during 2022.

As we look back, 2022 proved to be one of TADA’s most successful years for lobbying at Queen’s Park. We saw a number of wins, including:

  • Elimination of Dealer, Service Plate and White Plate fees—saving dealers thousands of dollars every year.
  • Confirmation of the plan to build Highway 413 to connect Halton, Peel and York Regions [a highway TADA first advocated for back in 2012]. 
  • Elimination of tolls on Highways 412 and 418 in Durham Region, thereby reducing the cost of ownership for motorists and businesses. 
  • Extending the Ontario Gas Tax cut of 5.7 cents/per litre until December 31, 2023, to help lower the cost of vehicle ownership and driving for consumers and businesses

In March, we saw a very significant win for new car dealers in the province, when the Ontario government announced that the Digital Dealership Registration (DDR) program would become a reality for Ontario’s auto retail sector. It is hard to overstate the significance of this policy. Getting DDR across the finish line arguably represents the biggest advocacy win for Ontario’s new car dealers in a generation. The implementation of this program will cut red tape, and save both consumers and dealers time and money. 

Positive working relationship

Under the leadership of Premier Doug Ford, the Ontario government has proven to be a great partner for automotive retailers and the outcome of DDR is a prime example of this positive working relationship. A statement from Kaleed Rasheed, Minister of Public and Business Service Delivery concurred that DDR is “a game-changer for the auto retail sector, helping businesses save time and money, cutting red tape and making it easier for car dealerships to do business in our province.” Besides acknowledging that the TADA, its members and others in the auto sector have been an essential part of the development of DDR, the minister also encouraged dealerships “to put forward an expression of interest to participate in the program as we continue to onboard many more into this program over the next year and expand its benefits across the province.”

As 2023 gets underway, TADA will continue working closely with the Ministry of Public and Business Service Delivery, which is responsible for Digital Dealership Registration. I have personally met with Minister Rasheed and I’m impressed with his enthusiasm for Digital Dealership Registration. Having worked for Blackberry prior to entering politics, Minister Rasheed understands digitizing the car buying process and providing customer service excellence through DDR benefits the auto sector and consumers.

(L-R) Ontario MPP Mike Harris (Kitchener-Conestoga) and Frank Notte, Director of Government Relations, TADA. Photo TADA

Significant time and labour savings

The 2022 Ontario Budget invested $23.9 million in the Digital Dealership Registration program to allow eligible car dealerships to register new vehicles online and issue stock, including permits and licence plates. Once fully implemented, DDR will help move online up to 4.7 million dealership registration transactions annually including the registration of pre‐owned vehicles, vehicle transfers and vehicle permit replacements, all of which must currently be conducted in person.

This year, the Ontario Government highlighted the benefits of Digital Dealership Registration in its annual Burden Reduction Report and recognized TADA’s support. The report states “Although DDR is invisible to the vehicle purchaser, it can cut the time they must wait to pick up and drive their new vehicle off the lot from up to four days, to just a few minutes.”

The TADA is also incredibly thankful to MPP Mike Harris (Kitchener-Conestoga) for championing Digital Dealership Registration ever since he was first elected in 2018. Thanks to his hard work, the car buying process will become digitized, streamlined and brought firmly into the 21st century.



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