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Ontario has become the fourth Canadian province to approve the use of electronic proof of auto insurance (EPAI) for drivers, effective immediately.
Ontario’s Minister of Finance, Rod Phillips, announced the approval on September 5th. This follows the lead of Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia was the first province to approve electronic pink slips in January 2018.
Phillips said there will be a one-year phase-in period, during which time insurers will continue to issue paper versions as well as electronic versions for customers that request that option.
“This period will also [allow] consumers, regulators, insurers and law enforcement – all groups that we’ve consulted with extensively on this – [to] see if there are any changes that are necessary to make this program better,” Phillips said during the press conference. “Rummaging through your [glove compartment] for your little pink slip is not something that should be necessary in 2019.”
The electronic pink slips in Ontario will feature “sophisticated safeguards,” Phillip said. “They can’t be edited or altered. Features cannot be included to enable anyone to track your location or collect, use or disclose your data without explicit permission from you.”
Ontario’s budget in April 2019 indicated that it would bring EPAI to Ontario drivers and allow for “more competition in the auto insurance market.” Earlier this year, the government commissioned a poll of Ontarians about ways to make auto insurance more accessible, more affordable and more convenient, Phillips said. Fifty-one thousand people provided comments, including 68% who said that they believe insurers needed to provide them with more options in terms of online and digital tools.
Phillips said the government needed to work with insurers, consumer groups such as CAA, law enforcement, and officials and experts in privacy. It also consulted with the other provinces that approved EPAI. “It took us that time to make sure it would be done right.”