Drivers in greater Montreal area will soon pay more annually to register passenger vehicles
Starting in the new year, drivers throughout the Montreal region will be paying more to register their passenger vehicles.
The Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal (CMM) adopted a modified bylaw on Thursday requiring residents of Montreal suburbs — more than 80 municipalities and Saint-Jérôme — to pay an extra $59 annually for their car.
Owners of vehicles in the Montreal agglomeration, who have already been paying this tax since 2011, will see it increase from $45 to $59 per year.
This measure should generate more than $125 million per year, which will be paid to the region's public transit authority, the Autorité régionale de transport métropolitain (ARTM).
In a statement, the CMM predicts it will have an agreement with the province's automobile insurance board, the Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ), to collect the tax.
Through her press attaché, Quebec Transport Minister Geneviève Guilbault responded to the news by saying that residents' ability to pay must be respected.
It was the Liberal Party that gave this taxation power to the CMM in 2016, and therefore it is up to municipal leaders to make such decisions, the attaché added.
CAA Québec says the move is another blow to Quebecers struggling to deal with rising property taxes, higher public transit fares and the effects of inflation on most necessities.
The group, which advocates for drivers, says the tax is also regressive because it is applied to all registrations, whether someone uses their car daily to commute or makes an effort to use a mix of public transit and active transportation, such as walking or cycling.
CAA Québec also said in its statement Friday that many of the municipalities that will be included in the new fee structure are inadequately served by public transit, and commuters have limited choices.
The bylaw extending the vehicle registration tax to Montreal suburbs was adopted in 2019 by almost all members of the CMM — 81 out of 82 mayors voted in favour of it with only the mayor of Boucherville in opposition.
At the time, the SAAQ said it was unable to implement these adjustments.
A spokesperson for the SAAQ explained to Radio-Canada that it had to complete the modernization of all its computer systems before it could respond to the CMM's request.
Once the computer system is up to date, the SAAQ will be able to discuss the tax, the spokesperson said.