Ridesharing is likely to be adopted in a legal and regulated manner by many Canadian cities in 2016 and several bodies are shifting their focus to providing auto insurance coverage for those wo drive for services such as UberX.
Tim Hudak, the MPP from Niagara West-Glanbrook, has now called on Charles Sousa, the Ontario Finance Minister, to create a path that will allow companies to offer dedicated auto insurance coverage for ridesharing services within Ontario. Hudak said he thinks Sousa should look to create something that is “affordable” and “comprehensive”.
Hudak says the political fighting surrounding ridesharing is helping no one and he has created the Opportunity in Sharing Economy Act, a private bill focused on finding insurance paths for sharing services in various sectors. The bill is currently before the Finance Committee.
Uber and its UberX service are the most prominent company in the drive sharing industry and have caused controversy in Canada throughout 2015. The service operated unregulated and has been called a bandit taxi service, however Toronto has voted to regulate UberX in 2016 and other cities will almost certainly follow in due course.
More problematical is the fact that virtually all UberX drivers (there are 20,000 in the Greater Toronto Area alone) are operating without sufficient auto insurance. They use their personal policies, which do not cover them for operating in a commercial capacity, while simply getting commercial coverage does not help because many use their UberX vehicle as their daily driver.
Ontario based Intact Insurance has said it is looking into an Uber specific insurance policy, and that is something Hudak says he want the province to pursue. The Insurance Bureau of Canada’s director of policy, Ryan Stein, has said current policies are not sufficient to cover ridesharing, but Sam Moini, a TTA spokesperson, has explained that “there is already an insurance product UberX drivers can purchase: the OPCF 6A.”
Moini says the reason UberX drivers are not seeking coverage through OPCF 6A is because “To do so would alert their insurance company that they are carrying fares for money, and they risk having their policies cancelled as we saw happen with Aviva in October.”