Edmonton

Wildrose slams use of robocalls for vehicle registration renewal

The Wildrose is slamming the Alberta government for spending money on robocalls reminding drivers to sign up for online vehicle registration reminders, an amount the government revealed to be $40,000.

'If they are going to continue doing this, then the costs are going to escalate'

The province contracted Twilio, a company based in San Francisco, to call vehicle owners reminding them to sign up for online vehicle registration reminders. (Travis McEwan/CBC)

The Wildrose is slamming the Alberta government for spending money on robocalls reminding drivers to sign up for online vehicle registration reminders, an amount the government revealed to be $40,000.

"I want to know how much money the NDP is spending to fix a problem that didn't exist in the first place," said MLA Wayne Anderson.

In March, the province announced it would no longer mail out reminders to renew vehicle registrations, encouraging drivers to sign up for online reminders, a plan they said would save $3 million a year.

Anderson said he's received dozens of complaints from seniors and people living in rural areas since.

Recently, the province contracted Twilio, a San Francisco-based company, to call vehicle owners reminding them to sign up for online vehicle registration reminders. 

In a statement Monday, Minister of Service Alberta Stephanie McLean said the cost totalled $40,000.

"Service Alberta held an open and competitive procurement process to secure a vendor to place one-time calls to Albertans," she said. "Twilio was the only bidder that met all mandatory requirements. It also had the lowest price."

Anderson was still unhappy.

"That money has left our province for a company that is external to Alberta," he said.

"Is this a one time only fee? My only concern is if they are going to continue doing this, then the costs are going to escalate."

He says from the beginning the province should have given Albertans the option to keep the paper reminders or switch to electronic version.

According to the province, there's been a 62-per-cent increase in renewals since the end of the paper reminders.

Between April 1 and Aug. 31, about 1.2 million registrations were renewed, compared to 446,875 in the same period last year.

now