COVID may still be active around the province, but you won’t catch it on the road anytime soon. It’s one of thousands of personalized licence plate requests rejected by Ontario over the past year.
The Ontario government rejected 3,887 of these plates between May 1, 2019, and May 31, 2020, including many variations of COVID-related plate names. Those include COVID, COVID 19, COVID NO, NO COVID, COVIID19, CVD19, CVID19, 0COVID19, FKCOVID and FKCOVD19.
Some applicants tried to get a little more creative, by misspelling the virus (KOVID 19, NO KOVID, COVET 19), calling it CORONA V or using roman numerals (COVIDXIX).
References to the pandemic were also rejected, including plate requests for PANDEMIK, PAND3MIC, THEVIRUS and MOISTLY, presumably a reference to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s news conference misspeak when discussing how masks prevent people from “speaking moistly” in April.
Plates are rejected for a number of reasons from being too political, too sexual or too violent to religious grounds and derogatory slang.
The province believes all plates related to COVID-19 have been rejected at this point.
“COVID-19 is a global pandemic with socio-economic and political impacts affecting millions of people,” wrote Matteo Guinci in an email from Ontario’s Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, who provided the list of rejections.
“Although the messaging may not be objectionable to some people, it may be upsetting or offensive to others.”
Plates rejected for drugs, politics, violence
The province breaks down the list into multiple categories, depending on why they were rejected. Among the notable rejections from different categories:
Abusive, obscene language and derogatory slang
- AREUDUMB, EFCANCER, H3LLYEAH, IHATE401, LMAO JK, LMAOOO, MEANGRL2, MEANGRLS, MEANGRLZ, SCRWCNCR.
Drugs and alcohol
- 420BLAZE, CANNIBUS, DANK DAD, H3NNESSY, HANGOV3R, IMPAIRED, LUV KUSH, PSYKDLIC, S4NGRI4, STON3R.
Human rights discrimination
- FATNSASY, DAFATBOI, H8BRUINS, HABS H8R, HATEFUL8, HILLBLY1, M3ANGLRZ, OKBOOMER, REDDNEKK, SHETHICK.
Sexual (and eliminatory functions)
- A WEEWEE, CRAPPER, DR PP, FARTER, GOT POOP, I C POOP, MYCIALIS, PISS, SNDNUDE5, UNAUGHTY.
Political figures, dignitaries and law enforcement officials
This category included multiple plates, which had the terms police, OPP, RCMP and TPS on them, short for Toronto Police Service.
- CERB, CLL91ONE, CNN LIES, GADDAFI, HATE GAS, INFOWARS, MASK ON, NO2WAR, TAXSSUCK, THX CERB.
Violence and criminal activity
- AMMO BOX, BOMBERS, CHOPPA, DEATHPRF, DRTYMNEY, GANGWAR, GDFATHR1, KLLR WGN, MOLOTOV, PONISHER.
Clarity, religion most common rejections
The most common rejections were related to clarity and readability, plates which the province deems too difficult to read. A large part of these rejections were related to plates using numbers to spell a phrase instead of letters.
5UPERDAD, ANX1OU5, G4M3OV3R, RAVNCL4W and W4RT H0G all got the boot for that reason. Several Ontario sports references got vetoed for this, too, including TIC4TS, R4PS IN6, R4PSN6IX and R4PTRS.
Plates with too many of the same letters were also rejected, like BLAMMMMM with its five Ms, COOOOOOP with its six Os and HAAAAAAA with its seven As.
The province was strict around rejecting on religious grounds. Multiple references to the devil, evil, heaven and hell all were all rejected, as well as an applicant who wanted the plate ALTARBOY.
Even different gospel writers and their passages get thrown into the rejection pile, like MARK 9 23 and LUKE 51, the verse where Jesus calls his first disciples.
Some plates sound religious, notably 6IIXGOD and GOD5PLAN, but are actually references to Drake and his music, which appear lost on the province.
Who rejects the plates?
Provincial staff review requests when personalized plates are submitted. In some cases, those get escalated if they think the plate might break the criteria. The plate then goes to a group called the Personalized Licence Plate Review Committee. It meets once a week to sort through questionable plates.
Six people sit on the committee, two from the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) and four from Service Ontario. They all have to unanimously agree on approving or denying a plate. Otherwise, it gets further escalated to a manager from the MTO and Service Ontario. CBC News requested an interview with a committee member but was also rejected.
“Each committee member does research on each request and determines if the request meets established criteria, deeming it approved or denied,” Guinci wrote in an email.
That includes using news articles and online dictionaries to figure out why a requested plate may be questionable. In the same time frame May 1, 2019, to May 31, 2020, 29,469 personalized plates were approved.
If a plate gets rejected, the requester can always ask for reconsideration.
About 60 plates are pending reconsideration currently, including one with the name of a porn site, another with the French word for beer and a few COVID-related plates, too.