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B.C. moves to eliminate annual replacement of licence-plate decals

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In a move to open the door to online insurance renewals, the B.C. government has introduced legislation to eliminate the need to update licence-plate decals annually.

The proposed legislation would allow ICBC to look at decals that don’t expire or are valid for longer than a year.

It would also authorize the public insurer to issue other documents, or take other actions, with respect to the validity of a licence rather than issuing decals.

“This bill introduced today is one component of moving to online sales,” Attorney General David Eby said.

“During the pandemic, we have had email and phone renewals and it’s going very well. But one of the challenges has been delivering the decal.”

READ MORE: ICBC and insurance brokers launch task force for online auto insurance renewals

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Because of the public-health orders and Canada Post delays during the COVID-19 pandemic, drivers were told to replace the sticker as soon as they could.

“We really need to get into the 21st century,” Canadian Taxpayers Federation B.C. director Kris Sims said.

“Lots of insurance companies across Canada have offered online renewals for years. It’s kind of sad we had to get to the point of a pandemic to consider this program.”

The task force will try to determine what the online system will look like, how much it may save drivers, and what types of car insurance can be renewed online.

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In the 2016/17 fiscal year, which was 15 months long due to fiscal calendar transition, brokers were paid $510 million by ICBC. In 2017/18 brokers were paid $434 million and last fiscal year the bill was $490 million.

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The province will not move towards getting rid of decals until it consults with law enforcement, brokers and other stakeholders.

Eby said the province hopes to “go to law enforcement and other key stakeholders to make sure if we proceed with regulations to extend the decal or eliminate it entirely that police, for example, would still be able to do their jobs.”