Drivers will soon have the option of carrying digital proof of auto insurance instead of the traditional slip of paper, as part of provincial government’s efforts to reduce red tape for Albertans.
Grant Hunter, associate minister of red tape reduction, said Alberta is the third province to enable insurance providers to go digital, which provides more choice to consumers as well as convenience.
Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador have already made the move.
“In an age where technology and innovation is moving fast, this is a step we’re taking to make government more modern, information accessible, and simply put, to make life easier for Albertans,” said Hunter during his announcement in Edmonton.
Reg Warkentin, policy and advocacy manager with the Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce, said allowing proof of auto insurance on a digital device is a “good, common-sense move that will simplify things for customers.”
“So many other aspects of our lives are moving on to our cellular devices. It’s one other thing that makes sense to consolidate. This is a great solution,” Warkentin said.
It will be up to insurance companies to decide whether to provide the option, and up to customers if they want the option.
Cost savings, from things like cutting back on mailing, will be passed on the consumers, according to the insurance industry.
Hunter said the province has made a commitment to reduce red tape in Alberta by one-third and people have shared more than 2,400 ideas to the government’s CutRedTape.Alberta.ca.
Warkentin said the chamber is organizing a red tape reduction community round table for its members to share their ideas on Sept. 9.
He said it can be difficult, costly and time consuming to complete application and permit processes.
“It’s one of those things that’s hard to appreciate until you’ve actually tried to do it yourself,” Warkentin said.
Mayor Tara Veer said the city fully supports the province’s red tape reduction initiative and has identified three areas the province should consider — grant applications and approvals, inter-ministry communications and development approvals.
She said many grants from the province are for one year, but the city has moved to a three-year cycle, which reduces a lot of administrative burden.
“In many instances in municipalities, we actually have staff devoted specifically to grant applications because the process itself is so significant, and at times, cumbersome,” Veer said.
She said the city, or its partner organizations, are often caught in the middle between ministries that have a different understanding, or approach, to an infrastructure project.
The city is also looking at ways to reduce red tape within its own operations in preparation for the next budget, she said.