Ontario bill proposal would introduce public broker disciplinary hearings

Published: November 30, 2017

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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Ontario’s budget implementation bill (currently not passed) carriers a new rule that would make it mandatory for disciplinary hearings of the province’s brokers to be made public.  

Speaking to Canadian Underwriter on Wednesday, the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario (IBAO) said the organization has supported an “increased transparency of Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario.”

The Registered Insurance Brokers Act in its current form states that any RIBO Discipline Committee hearings are to be closed to public. The only exception to the current rule is if the broker subject to investigation requests and open hearing.

Bill 177, the Stronger, Fairer Ontario (Budget Measures) Act, is before the legislature and aims to change the RIBO governance laws. The Discipline Committee is made of four brokers and one public member. Under its remit, RIBO “conducts hearings very similar to that of a court of law.”

The bill would give the committee more powers beyond its existing ability to find facts, decide guilt, suspend, restrict, fine, or revoke brokers. Under new powers, it would have jurisdiction over the conduct of brokers.

Teresa Armstrong, NDP MPP for London-Fanshaw, is a former broker says the liberal government is trying to “rush” the bill.  

“As I was looking through that [legislation], I thought, ‘Oh, my goodness, they’ve put that in a finance bill,’” Armstrong said of the proposed RIBO rule changes. “How does that affect the registered brokers’ association in a financial way? Is the government providing more funds? Are they taking away more funds? What’s happening here? But actually, it’s about jurisdictional conduct over members.”