Montreal

SAAQ rejects 1,500 personalized licence plates for being vulgar, racist

More than 30,000 Quebec motorists have applied for a personalized licence plate since the service was launched last summer, earning the the province about $3 million in the process.

Applications for plates saying 'UPYOURS' and 'ASSMAN7' not approved

Personalized licence plates don't come cheap in Quebec — each one costs about $250 and $34.50 to renew them each year. (Radio-Canada)

More than 30,000 Quebec motorists have applied for a personalized licence plate since the option to get one became available last summer, earning the province about $3 million in the process.

So far, 28,500 personalized plates have been issued, and Quebec's automobile insurance board (SAAQ) considers this a notable achievement.

"It's a success," said SAAQ spokesperson Mario Vaillancourt.

"We always said that as soon as we reached 23,000, we would achieve profitability. Although the pace has slowed down a bit since then, there are still a lot of requests coming in every week."

But not all applications are accepted.

The SAAQ refused more than 1,500 requests for plates determined to be vulgar or racist.

Vaillancourt said a committee of employees meets weekly to analyze the applications in all languages and reject those that are considered inappropriate.

Some approved, revoked later

Once approved, licence plates may still be revoked. About a half dozen plates were removed after being approved this year.

For example, one of those withdrawals concerns a slang term used to insult Indigenous people. A public complaint led to its revocation and removal.

"We do a very rigorous and serious job, but it can happen, for example, that an expression like that, even if we made all possible verifications, is approved," said Vaillancourt.

Plates with the inscriptions "BLKPWR," "ASSMAN7," "SAPOUUD" and "UPYOURS" are also among those that were withdrawn after having having first received the green light from the SAAQ.

It costs $249.50 to purchase a personalized licence plate — and $34.50 to renew each year.

Based on a report by Radio-Canada's Éric Plouffe

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