Peel ... in this place: Why thousands of licence plates are being recalled

Licence plates across New Brunswick are peeling — and the province is urging drivers with the problem to get their plates replaced.

A manufacturing issue means Service New Brunswick will replace the peeled licence plates at no charge

Some licence plates are peeling and fading away due to a manufacturing issue. The province wants people having an issue to have their plates replaced. 1:06

Licence plates across New Brunswick are peeling — and the province is urging drivers with the problem to get their plates replaced.

Rebecca Matchett is one of them.

The local driver noticed her plates started peeling when she put new registration stickers on in March. 

"Annoying, maybe a little concerning," she said. "I wouldn't want to get pulled over because my plate wasn't visible or up to the standard."

The peeling is a manufacturing issue, which means Service New Brunswick will replace the peeled plates from 2009 onward — for free.

Robert Duguay, director of communications for the Department of Justice and Public Safety, said the province has known about the problem since 2009.

The manufacturer, Waldale Manufacturing Ltd., hasn't been able to figure out what causes the plates to peel. (Philip Drost/CBC)

The plates are made by Waldale Manufacturing Ltd., which hasn't been able to solve the peeling problem. 

"It only affects a portion of the plates every year," said Duguay. 

Since 2009, Duguay said about 7,000 plates have been brought back for replacement. But the total number of defective plates is still unknown. 

The problem plates are seemingly random, and even new plates could peel, he said.

Service New Brunswick will replace peeling plates for free. (Philip Drost/CBC)

"If they [drivers] don't have an appropriate plate on their car, of course they'll be in violation of the Motor Vehicle Act and the police could remind them about it at some point," he said.

Duguay doesn't know how much it costs to replace the plates, as Waldale Manufacturing Ltd., pays for the replacements. 

Plates peel elsewhere

But New Brunswick isn't the only province dealing with plate peeling.

In 2015, Newfoundland and Labrador had 4,335 defective plates returned and replaced, and another 5,109 in 2016. 

In Nova Scotia, 1,500 plates have had to be replaced since 2008.

Both Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia also use Waldale Manufacturing Ltd., as their licence plate provider.

The province has said peeled plates are a violation of the Motor Vehicle Act and drivers can be pulled over. (Philip Drost/CBC)

Duguay said switching manufacturers is not an option, and hopes the company can figure out what's going wrong. 

If people have plates that are illegible because of peeling, Duguay recommends they get them replaced right away. 

"Take it very seriously," he said.

About the Author

Philip Drost

Philip Drost is a reporter with CBC New Brunswick.

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