What Ontario's major political parties are promising for auto insurance rates

·4 min read
Feel like your auto insurance rates are too high? Here's how the major parties are planning to tackle that cost if they're elected on June 2. (Alex Lupul/CBC - image credit)
Feel like your auto insurance rates are too high? Here's how the major parties are planning to tackle that cost if they're elected on June 2. (Alex Lupul/CBC - image credit)

Ontarians pay the second highest auto insurance premiums in Canada, according to data from the General Insurance Statistical Agency. The average yearly insurance payment in 2018 was $1,505, behind only British Columbia at $1,832 — and that province has since taken steps to lower costs significantly.

The punishing cost of auto insurance is a perennial campaign issue in Ontario, with seemingly every general election bringing lofty commitments to make coverage more affordable. With life becoming more expensive on all fronts, the issue is particularly urgent this time around.

So it's not surprising some of the major political parties are promising ambitious steps to lower the cost of your car insurance.

Here's a look at what they're pledging to do.

Progressive Conservatives

The government launched a plan to reform the auto insurance business in 2019, called Putting Drivers First: A Blueprint for Ontario's Auto Insurance System.

The Progressive Conservatives are touting their record under that plan, saying they were able to increase the types of auto insurance available, as well as allow electronic proof of insurance.

But the party has committed to do more if it forms government again after the June 2 vote.

First, it wants to continue to boost the number of auto insurance options available — but it's not very specific about what it will do or how it will do it.

"The current mandatory insurance product may not offer the choices Ontario drivers deserve," the PC's pre-election budget reads. "This is why the government intends to propose changes that over time would provide consumers with more options when purchasing automobile insurance."

Cracking down on insurance fraud — the prevalence of which is often cited as a major factor in Ontario's high premiums — would also be a priority, PCs say. The party says it would pass legislation to make it mandatory for insurance companies to provide the province's financial services watchdog, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA), with fraud data and information.

The PCs also say that under their government, the FSRA began work to reform how auto insurance rates are formulated.

"As part of the new strategy, FSRA will be developing a new framework for ensuring fairness in rates that would replace outdated guidance," the budget says.

That includes potentially changing differences in rates between cities and regions, according to the document.

A PC government would also review the requirement that workers access benefits through their employer before making a claim with their insurance provider.

"The government will review how drivers access benefits when extended health-care plans are involved to ensure the system remains modern and works well for accident victims when they need it most," the budget says.

NDP

The New Democrats are pledging to reduce the cost of auto insurance, and significantly.

Leader Andrea Horwath says the party would lower rates by 40 per cent within two years and ban all rate increases for 18 months.

The party says it would use that time to have a commission explore a different system for auto insurance, including a public system overseen by the province.

"Ontario drivers pay some of the highest insurance premiums in Canada, and rates are climbing again. For many families this is a crushing cost," the NDP platform says.

"For years, Liberal and Conservative governments have allowed auto insurance rates to climb and have ignored basic issues of fairness. In communities like Brampton, a driver will pay premiums nearly twice as high as a driver with the same driving record in other parts of the GTA. That's not fair."

The party wants to ban "postal code discrimination," meaning drivers would not have to pay higher auto insurance premiums because of where they live.

The party also says it will "explore every avenue possible" to lower the cost of insurance and improve service in the industry, but doesn't say what that would involve.

The platform also says the NDP will "put drivers first" at the FSRA, but doesn't elaborate.

Liberals

Right now, the Liberal platform does not mention auto insurance premiums or any plan to reform the auto insurance industry.

Leader Steven Del Duca has commented on the issue, saying on the campaign trail that a Liberal government would "continue to look for ways to make auto insurance accessible and affordable and fair for people regardless of where they live in this province."

CBC News has reached out to the party for further details.

Green Party

The Greens do not explicitly mention auto insurance in their platform.

In an email to CBC News, a party spokesperson said the Greens are opposed to "any policies that will increase fossil fuel consumption from cars."

Instead, the party is focusing on making electric vehicles and public transportation more accessible and affordable, the spokesperson said.

Looking for more details about the platforms of the four major parties in this June's Ontario election? Head to this story where you can read the platforms for youself.

You can also use Vote Compass to compare your political views to those of the major parties.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting