Lower Auto Insurance Rates Act defeated by Conservatives

On April 18, 2019, my bill entitled “The Lower Automobile Insurance Rates Act” was debated at Queen’s Park and defeated by the Conservative Government.

Driving in Ontario means one must purchase auto insurance.  The most frustrating is that while Ontario drivers have the least accidents per capita, we pay some of the most expensive premiums in the country.  This is especially true for our community here, Humber River Black Creek.

I have fought this issue for many years, I hosted town halls, wrote articles and conducted research that demonstrated that the roads of our community do not have the highest rate of collisions or vehicular crime.

In late 2018, I hosted a local town hall at St. Basil-the-Great College School to bring details on an NDP Private Member’s Bill that would have treated all GTA postal codes as one when setting insurance rates.  This bill would have lowered auto insurance rates in our community, but was defeated by the Conservative Government.

My bill, the Lower Automobile Insurance Rates Act, was crafted in consultation with Dr. Fred Lazar of the Schulich School of Business, an economist and expert on auto insurance.  His widely publicized research demonstrated that Ontarians were overpaying insurance companies by an estimated $1 billion a year.

This bill would have reduced the excessive profit margin auto insurance companies seek when setting premiums, reduced their operating costs (which includes their marketing, commercials and legal fees when fighting against paying out claims), and increased transparency, especially in the area of setting rates based on postal code.  On April 3, I hosted a packed town hall update meeting at Driftwood Community Centre to share the details of my bill, and received strong support from those present.

Unfortunately, the Conservative Government voted down this bill with one Conservative Member of Provincial Parliament going as far to say, “What’s wrong with racking up profits?”

The issue of auto insurance reform is not going away, and I will continue to keep up the pressure because Ontario’s drivers deserve respect.

This Premier is no Santa

Make no mistake, premier Doug Ford is on Santa’s naughty list.  In fact, the Conservative government has generated a surprising amount of naughtiness in only six months since they took office.  Here are several examples:

  1. Inflating deficit numbers to justify cuts: In September, the Conservative Minister of Finance proclaimed the province’s deficit to be much higher than what the Liberals had claimed. The Ford Conservatives have used this inflated number over and over again, as a tactic to justify their callous cuts to vital services and programs Ontarians rely on.
  2. High price firings and appointments: It seems that not a week goes by without news of someone getting fired or hired as a result of Ford’s meddling.  The former Hydro One CEO was canned, and walked away with about $9 million in cash and stocks, while an Ontario Power Generation executive was fired on the first day of his job and paid out up to $500,000. As I write this, controversy surrounds the appointment of the premier’s personal friend as head of the OPP.  
  3. Voting against auto insurance reform: The Ford government voted against an NDP Private Member’s Bill that would have put an end to postal code discrimination on the part of auto insurers, and ensure that the entire GTA is considered as a single region when determining auto insurance rates.
  4. Leaving Humber River-Black Creek out in the cold: The Ford government has shown our community little regard, and it keeps making life harder for Ontarians. This is evidenced by the Conservative Minister of Community Safety adding to the stigmatization of the Jane and Finch community, the government introducing legislation to allow gas companies to raise the cost of heating our homes, allowing developers to potentially build on the once-protected Greenbelt, cutting an increase to minimum wage as well as two paid sick days for workers, rolling back protections of temporary workers, and much more.

Although it appears this government is doing a great job of imitating Ebenezer Scrooge, you can count on the NDP opposition to fight for the people of Humber River-Black Creek, and for all Ontarians. I wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas, happy holidays and health and joy in the New Year.

NDP keeps pushing for auto insurance reform

Over 150 local residents packed an auto insurance town hall meeting I hosted in November to pressure this government to bring down the unfair auto insurance rates we pay in our community.

The community meeting was part of a series of auto insurance town halls Ontario’s NDP is holding across the GTA, each packed with people demanding change.

Our community continues to pay some of the highest auto insurance rates in this country even though we do not have the highest number of accidents on our streets.  In fact, there are even some in this community who are unable to drive because the insurance is simply unaffordable.

Ontario’s NDP has been fighting against auto insurance postal code discrimination for years but the Liberals, and now Doug Ford’s Conservative government, sided with big auto insurance corporations over the people.

In 2012, former NDP MPP Jagmeet Singh (and current federal NDP leader) tabled a private member’s bill that would have ended postal code discrimination, but both the Conservatives and the Liberals voted against it, and the bill failed. Later, the NDP extracted a promise from the provincial Liberals to reduce auto insurance rates by 15 per cent, but the Liberals simply broke their promise.

Most recently in October 2018, an NDP bill by MPP Gurratan Singh who attended our community meeting, called for auto insurance companies to treat the GTA as a single postal code when determining insurance rates.

Unfortunately, Doug Ford’s Conservative government voted against this NDP bill that aimed to bring down insurance rates for drivers. What’s more, one of the first things the Ford government did when taking office was to pave the way for a nine per cent hike to auto insurance rates.

Our community is tired of being taken advantage of by auto insurance corporations and deserve to be treated fairly.  I will continue to keep up the fight.