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Why are electronic pink slips being held up in Ontario?


February 8, 2018   by Jason Contant


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Ontario’s insurance regulator, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO), is still examining some of the complexities surrounding electronic proof of auto insurance (EPAI) before approving their use in the province, offering no timetable to launch EPAI in Ontario.

“As the regulator, it is important that FSCO balance moving quickly enough to support innovation with taking the time needed to ensure consumer interests are protected,” FSCO said in an email to Canadian Underwriter when asked why it is taking longer than anticipated to implement the solution in Ontario.

CCIR recommended Tuesday that EPAI be made available across Canada. While provincial regulators have the legal capacity to allow EPAI delivery, CCIR acknowledged that some jurisdictions still have concerns that need to be addressed about the impact of EPAI, such as privacy and liability. In late January, Nova Scotia’s insurance regulator became the first in Canada to issue a bulletin approving the use of EPAI.

Earlier this week, the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s (IBC) director of media and digital communications, Steve Kee, said insurers understand the need for EPAI, but they don’t have the ability yet to share this information electronically.

FSCO told Canadian Underwriter Wednesday that it continues to work with the Ministry of Finance and stakeholders to enable the broader use of electronic pink cards. In a statement, FSCO said some of the issues being examined surrounding the implementation of EPAI include:

  • Privacy issues concerning police access to other information on electronic devices.
  • Technological factors, including the ability to use locking features on the device to protect privacy, and how to address malfunctions and loss of power.
  • Police inspection and handling of the phones, including liability for damage to a mobile device that may occur during the inspection.
  • Transfer of the electronic card to others when giving permission to others use their vehicle.
  • Application to all classes of automobiles.
  • Use of the electronic card when travelling outside Ontario.

The Ministry of Finance and FSCO are considering various options to address these issues, the regulator said, from device-locking features to consumer education measures.

In 2016, FSCO approved the use of an electronic insurance card for the limited commercial purposes of ridesharing. Since then, the Ministry of Finance and FSCO have been working with their provincial counterparts through the Canadian Council of Insurance Regulators (CCIR), government ministries and agencies and stakeholder groups to address potential issues before moving forward with the full implementation of the electronic insurance card.