Protecting your privacy when using electronic pink slips
In some Canadian provinces – including Ontario, Alberta, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador – drivers can now display an electronic pink slip on their smartphone when asked for proof of insurance.
This provides a more convenient option over paper pink slips, which can be easy to lose and difficult to replace. However, many drivers are wondering what their rights and responsibilities are when handing over their phone to a police officer – and how they can protect their privacy while obeying the law.
What am I required to present when asked for proof of insurance?
It is your responsibility to present legal documentation when asked by law enforcement for proof of insurance. If you live in one of the provinces where electronic proof of insurance is accepted, you can choose to present either your paper pink slip or the electronic copy provided by your insurance broker or carrier.
If using an electronic proof of insurance, it must be the official electronic copy from your insurance provider rather than a photo or screenshot of your pink slip. Ensure you know how to access the official copy and that your smartphone is working properly with a fully charged battery before leaving the house. If your smartphone battery dies or is otherwise unable to access your electronic pink slip, you could face penalties for failure to provide proof of insurance.
How can I restrict access to my personal data?
If your insurance provider can provide an electronic slip, it will typically be accessible through your insurance broker or carrier’s app. Both Apple and Android mobile operating systems give users the option to lock their screen to a single application. Use this helpful guide (PDF) to learn how to restrict your phone’s settings to display only the electronic pink slip. This will fulfill your responsibilities of providing proof of insurance during a roadside stop without compromising your privacy. Once the lock screen function has been activated, it will require your passcode or fingerprint to regain access to the rest of your personal smartphone data.
Can I choose to present a paper pink slip instead?
Yes, you can choose to present either a paper pink slip or an electronic pink slip when asked for proof of insurance. Although the introduction of electronic proof of insurance provides an additional and convenient option for drivers to comply with the law, paper pink slips are still accepted.
If you opt for an electronic pink slip as your primary proof of insurance, it’s a good idea to keep your paper pink slip on hand as a backup. This is helpful in situations where your smartphone is lost, broken or out of battery.
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