It’s no secret that car insurance rates are high in Ontario and particularly costly in some of its major municipalities–Brampton included.
The problem, a complex one that has a lot to do with how many collision and other claims are made in a certain area, is difficult to solve.
And now the province is asking residents for help.
The Ontario Government says it’s inviting drivers and consumers to share their views on how to lower the province’s auto insurance rates.
“The previous government’s failed system of stretch goals on auto insurance is clearly broken. Auto insurance rates in Ontario are among the highest in the country, and action is needed,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Finance. “We want to hear directly from you on how to improve the system.”
Consumers and businesses are invited to share their views clicking here and providing input no later than Feb. 15, 2019.
The consultation, which the PC government has dubbed the “Putting Drivers First” consultation, will coincide with a review of Ontario’s auto insurance rate regulation system, jointly conducted by the Ministry of Finance and the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario.
The province says the review will examine practices in other jurisdictions and identify opportunities to achieve greater efficiencies and introduce more competition in the system.
The call for lower auto insurance rates is far from new.
Last fall, NDP MPP Gurratan Singh (Brampton East) held a press conference at Queen’s Park to announce he was tabling a bill to end what he called “postal code discrimination” for auto insurance.
It was subsequently voted down by the ruling PCs.
Interestingly enough, PC MPP Parm Gill from Milton also put forward legislation to do the same thing.
For many residents in Brampton and Mississauga, auto insurance is a hardship.
According to recent data released by online car insurance marketplace Kanetix.ca, of all the cities with the most expensive car insurance, Brampton is number one and Vaughan is number two. Mississauga comes in at number three.
In Brampton, premiums sit around $2,268. In Vaughan, drivers pay an an estimated $1,825. In Mississauga, drivers pay about $1,788. Mississauga is followed by Markham at $1,785.
Brampton boasts a more expensive premium than Toronto, where the estimated premium is $1,743, according to Kanetix.ca.
The province says the consultation represents the latest step to get auto insurance costs under control in Ontario. It also says it plans on working with Gill on his proposed legislation that, if passed, would eliminate the unfair practice of discriminating against drivers simply based on where they live.
It also says it’s working to create a regulatory framework that allows for a more modern auto insurance sector, including electronic communications, and electronic proof of auto insurance, as well as moving toward full electronic commerce.
But while residents are anxiously awaiting insurance relief, not everyone is convinced that the consultation is a good idea–including Singh himself (the MPP and official opposition critic for auto insurance who first tabled anti-postal code discrimination legislation).
“People in Brampton and all across Ontario already know exactly what is wrong with the auto insurance system in this province — insurance companies are allowed to gouge drivers, and families are paying too much. What they need is a government that will take real and immediate action to end postal code discrimination and bring down the highest auto insurance premiums in the country,” he says.
In an NDP news release, Singh argues that the PCs are stalling.
“Instead, Doug Ford and his government are stalling by holding a ridiculous, completely unnecessary consultation on an issue that people across the province already agree on.
Singh went on to remind residents that the PCs voted his legislation down in 2018, before going on to speculate that the Ford government is buying time to consult industry insiders that it’s friendly with.
“Ontarians need a government that will act to make their lives more affordable, and have their backs when insurance companies try to take advantage of them. Instead, Doug Ford is preparing to consult his insider friends in the insurance companies, so they can keep making record profits on the backs of Ontario families. People deserve better.”
What do you think of the consultation process?