Automobile owners in New Brunswick are one step closer to going paper-free with a recent move in New Brunswick to allow for electronic proof of automobile insurance.
On Feb. 1, 2023, the New Brunswick Registrar of Motor Vehicles issued a Bulletin approving the use of an electronic version of the motor vehicle liability insurance card (commonly referred to as a "pink card.").
New Brunswick's Motor Vehicle Act requires that the pink slip, which evidences proof of compulsory automobile insurance, be carried in the vehicle or by the operator at all times. Insurers are required to issue a pink slip in a form approved by the Registrar of Motor Vehicles.
Electronic pink cards were initially introduced in Canada in 2018 with Nova Scotia being the first province to approve digital pink cards. Since January 2018, Alberta, Newfoundland & Labrador, Northwest Territories, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and Yukon have followed suit with provincial regulators issuing parameters for insurers issuing electronic proof of insurance.
As in other provinces and territories, insurers that issue electronic proof of insurance must comply with specifications, which include:
- Customers must be advised electronic pink slips are optional and if a paper pink slip is requested, it must be provided at no additional cost;
- Customers must be made aware of the risks and limitations of an electronic pink slip such as power outages that could affect the accessibility of the pink slip;
- Insurers must ensure that the electronic pink slip has the same data fields, working and overall appearance as the paper version of the paper pink slip (including being pink in colour);
- The insurance card must be viewable using lock screen capability, meaning, it can be viewed by third parties while the phone is locked protecting the rest of the data on the phone.
Insurers in New Brunswick are not required to offer an electronic pink slip. Owners/insureds should give consideration to practical limitations of electronic pink slips including loss of power, low signal, and software issues. Where other drivers operate the insured vehicle, consideration should be given to having a paper copy of the pink slip in the vehicle at all times so to ensure compliance with the Motor Vehicle Act.
At Gowling WLG, we are committed to monitoring legislative and regulatory developments by industry sector. For any questions you may have about digital proof of insurance in Canada, our Insurance and Professional Liability Practice Group would be pleased to assist.