OPP launches Licence Plate Recognition Program

ONTARIO–Driving with a suspended licence is about to get much riskier for drivers as the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) become the first police service in Ontario and one of the first in Canada to target suspended drivers with their Licence Plate Recognition Program (ALPR).

The OPP is also expanding its ALPR program to include an additional 27 ALPR equipped vehicles to its existing fleet of four which, according to the OPP, will make it more difficult for suspended drivers, drivers of stolen vehicles and other vehicles with plates in poor standing to drive undetected on Ontario roads and highways.

“Thanks to our continued partnership with the Ministry of Transportation Ontario (MTO) and the Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC), our roads will be much safer now that we have the resources to remove the threat that suspended drivers pose to all road users. The additional 27 vehicles will allow us to scan thousands more plates every day over a broader geographic range in the province,” OPP Deputy Commissioner Brad Blair, Provincial Commander of Traffic Safety and Operational Support,” said in a press release from the OPP.

“Our partnerships with the OPP and all our road safety partners have allowed us to lead the way with some of the most advanced road safety programs, tough laws and strong enforcement. This is why Ontario is a North American leader in road safety,” said the Honourable Glen Murray, Minister of Transportation and Minister of Infrastructure.

“Ontario motorists expect to be protected from unsafe drivers, but also not to be tracked as they go about their daily lives. We are pleased to report that the OPP used a Privacy by Design approach in developing its Automatic Licence Plate Recognition system, and that when a scanned licence plate does not match the list of unsafe drivers, it will be deleted from the system within minutes,” Ann Cavoukian, Ph.D. Information and Privacy Commissioner, Ontario, said.

Quick facts: Approximately 250,000 Highway Traffic Act licence suspensions are issued annually in Ontario. OPP ALPR vehicles now have access to an MTO database that contains all Ontario licence plates of vehicles whose registered owners have driver’s licences that are suspended.