Ontario MPPs Support Electronic Insurance Verification

An electronic insurance verification system aimed at getting Ontario’s uninsured drivers off the road could be one step closer to reality.

MPPs unanimously approved a private member’s resolution to implement the system—one that will allow licensing agencies and police officers to ensure that insurance policies are in force—during the September 24 legislative session. “We now have an all-party directive to prioritize this project,” says MPP Frank Klees (Newmarket-Aurora), the Conservative Transportation Critic.

Klees tabled the resolution to address Ontario’s estimated 400,000 uninsured drivers and gaps in the existing process to check for insurance coverage. It also calls for amendments to the Highway Traffic Act that will see that vehicles without insurance impounded.

“In Ontario, our system is lax, and people aren’t taking insurance seriously,” he says. With no way to properly determine coverage when drivers apply for licenses or are stopped on the street, “people will take advantage.” During the September 24 debate, Klees noted the request for insurance information on a licence application doesn’t include a corresponding check for coverage. “In fact, if you were to write in that application form that the name of the insurance company is Bozo the Clown Insurance and the policy number is 1234, you would have your licence issued and you would have your licence plate issued, because nothing is done with that information,” he said.

Now, Klees says, “it’s up to the government to get on with implementation. He will meet with Minister of Transportation Jim Bradley next week to ask for a specific timeline for the project.

At present, fines for driving without insurance range from $25,000 to $50,000, while those who lie about having valid insurance face a $500 fine, Liberal MPP Michael Brown (Algoma-Manitoulin) noted during the legislative debate, adding that work is already ongoing on the matters Klees raised. “We believe the government is working very diligently on the file that the member suggests. We are supportive of his efforts, and we hope he continues to be supportive of ours.”

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