Auto insurance premiums in Ontario are continuing to fall, but still not at the levels promised by the liberal government two years ago. The Financial Services Commission of Ontario announced that rates are down just under seven per cent over the last three months, however that period included the deadline for the government’s promise to slash premiums by 15 per cent in two years.
That pledge was made by Finance Minister Charles Sousa on behalf of the liberal government two years ago last month, but while rates have fallen steadily the government missed its goal by a long way. Another half percentage point slipped off average auto insurance premiums for the quarter ending September, highlighting that progress is being made, but it is slow progress.
The rate has now fallen 6.96 per cent since the government made its pledge, which is still good news for the 9.4 million drivers in Ontario. While the government missed its target by a big margin, Sousa is still claiming a win and is welcoming plaudits for getting premiums to fall. The Minister did admit however that “there is still work to be done”.
Those who think the government has failed in its promise and even says the original pledge was made dishonestly, and that it was a pledge the authorities could ever make good on.
“It really comes down to this — the Liberals are not committed to making this a priority,” said New Democrat MPP Jagmeet Singh (Bramalea-Gore-Malton).
“They’re not hesitating to reduce costs for insurance companies and reducing benefits . . . they’re just not tying them together with rate reductions.”
Sousa has defended the promise and even said the government will fulfil its commitment eventually, although he admitted it was a case of taking things one step at a time. The Insurance Bureau of Canada backed up the government and called the drop good news, and said a stabilized market with lowering premium rates is the best scenario.
Progressive Conservative MPP Vic Fedeli was much less enthusiastic and said the government’s failures were shameful in missing the 15 per cent promise by so much.
“It’s always next year, next time, we’re almost there . . . those are hollow words.”
SOURCE: Toronto Star