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NDP drives hearings on auto insurance

New Democratic consumer affairs critic Jagmeet Singh and Timmins-James Bay MPP Gilles Bisson claim it’s time for an open, honest debate on getting Ontario’s sky-high auto insurance rates under control.
New Democratic consumer affairs critic Jagmeet Singh and Timmins-James Bay MPP Gilles Bisson claim it’s time for an open, honest debate on getting Ontario’s sky-high auto insurance rates under control.

“Drivers across Ontario are paying the highest auto insurance premiums in Canada,” Singh said, in a press release. “That’s not a record to be proud of. The same-old tired ideas put forward by the McGuinty Liberals just aren’t working for drivers. I look forward to hearing from the insurance industry, but also from those that often get left out of this debate: the drivers paying the bills.”

Ontario has the highest auto insurance rates in the country. According to a recent Auditor General report, Ontario premiums – which average a little more than $1,400 per vehicle – are as much as 75 per cent higher than other provinces. This is why New Democrats have arranged open hearings on auto insurance: to push for solutions, according to a press release.

“Life is expensive enough in the north without sky-high insurance bills making life even more expensive,” Bisson said. “When a driver in Manitoba is paying hundreds of dollars less than the same driver would in Ontario, we have a problem. Let’s have an open and honest debate about how we get costs under control.”

Singh has also proposed a private member’s bill that would ban insurer’s practice of discriminating by neighbourhood. On May 22, the Insurance Bureau of Canada issued a release stating the Bill would increase costs for northern drivers, yet insurers stated the opposite to independent researchers with Ontario’s Legislative Research Branch, saying, “Bill 45 would result in cross-subsidization between GTA communities… but not between the GTA and other communities (like the north),” according to the NDP. Furthermore, IBC's own technical study of Bill 45 by J.S. Cheng & Partners Inc. doesn't even mention the possibility of a negative impact on the north or rural areas.

“If Dalton McGuinty and the insurance industry want to have a debate, then I urge them to support our efforts to do exactly that,” Bisson said.

Posted by Arron Pickard