Ontarians pay the second highest auto insurance premiums in Canada, according to data from the General Insurance Statistical Agency. The average annual insurance payment in 2018 was $1,505, trailing only British Columbia at $1,832 – and that province has since taken steps to significantly reduce costs.
The exorbitant cost of car insurance is a perennial campaign issue in Ontario, with every general election seemingly bringing lofty pledges to make coverage more affordable. With life becoming more and more expensive on all fronts, the issue is particularly pressing this time around.
It is therefore not surprising that some of the main political parties are promising ambitious measures to reduce the cost of your car insurance.
Here’s a look at what they’re committed to doing.
In 2019, the government launched a motor insurance reform plan, called Putting Drivers First: A Blueprint for Ontario’s Automobile Insurance System.
The Progressive Conservatives are touting their record under the plan, saying they have been able to increase the types of car insurance available, as well as allowing electronic proof of insurance.
But the party has pledged to do more if it forms government again after the June 2 vote.
First, he wants to continue to increase the number of car insurance options available, but he isn’t very specific about what he will do or how he will do it.
“The current mandatory insurance product may not offer the choices Ontario drivers deserve,” says the PC’s pre-election budget. “That’s why the government intends to introduce changes that over time will give consumers more options when buying car insurance.
Tackling insurance fraud — the prevalence of which is often cited as a major factor in Ontario’s high premiums — would also be a priority, according to PCs. The party says it would pass legislation to require insurance companies to provide the province’s financial services watchdog, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA), with fraud data and information.
PCs also say that under their government, the FSRA has begun working to reform the way car insurance rates are formulated.
“As part of the new strategy, FSRA will develop a new framework for ensuring fair rates that would replace outdated guidelines,” the budget says.
This includes potentially changing rate differences between cities and regions, according to the document.
A Progressive Conservative government would also consider requiring workers to access benefits through their employer before making a claim with their insurer.
“The government will review how drivers access benefits where supplementary health insurance schemes are involved to ensure the system remains modern and works well for crash victims when they need it most” , indicates the budget.
New Democrats are committed to reducing the cost of auto insurance, and significantly.
Leader Andrea Horwath said the party would cut rates by 40% within two years and ban any rate increases for 18 months.
The party says it would use the time to have a commission explore a different system of auto insurance, including a public system overseen by the province.
“Ontario drivers pay some of the highest insurance premiums in Canada, and the rates are climbing again. For many families, this is an overwhelming cost,” the NPD platform says.
“For years, Liberal and Conservative governments have allowed auto insurance rates to rise and ignored fundamental issues of fairness. In communities like Brampton, a driver will pay almost twice the premiums of a driver with the same driving record in other parts of the GTA. It is not fair.”
The party wants to ban “discrimination by postcode”, which means that drivers would not have to pay higher car insurance premiums because of where they live.
The party also says it will “explore all possible avenues” to reduce the cost of insurance and improve service in the industry, but does not say what that would entail.
The platform also says the NDP will “put drivers first” at the FSRA, but does not elaborate.
Currently, the Liberal platform does not mention auto insurance premiums or any plans to reform the auto insurance industry.
Leader Steven Del Duca commented on the issue, saying during the election campaign that a Liberal government would “continue to look for ways to make auto insurance accessible, affordable and fair for people no matter where they live in this province.” .
CBC News has contacted the party for more details.
The Greens do not explicitly mention car insurance in their platform.
In an email to CBC News, a party spokesperson said the Greens oppose “any policy that will increase the fossil fuel consumption of cars.”
Instead, the party is focused on making electric vehicles and public transport more accessible and affordable, the spokesperson said.
Looking for more details on the platforms of the four major parties in Ontario’s June election? Head to this story where you can read the platforms for yourself.
You can also use Vote Compass to compare your political views to those of major parties.