In Canada, the regulation of financial services is the purview of the provinces, which is why car insurance requirements vary from province to province. Furthermore, some provinces have a public insurance program, others have a private system, and in some, it’s a mix.
Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia use a public system, whereby auto insurance is provided by a Crown corporation that sets and reviews rates annually. Insureds still have the option to purchase additional, non-mandatory coverages from private insurers in these provinces, however.
Quebec is a lot different: the public covers personal injury insurance, whereas private companies cover property insurance.
A private system is in place in the rest of the provinces: Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Ontario, Alberta, and the territories; however, most of these provinces have financial regulatory bodies (like the Financial Services Commission of Ontario) that review and regulate auto insurance rates.
Most of the provinces and territories require a minimum liability limit of $200,000, with the exception of Quebec and Nova Scotia, where it’s $50,000 and $500,000, respectively; however, it’s always recommended to increase this to $1 million or $2 million due to the large costs associated with lawsuits.
The only provinces that require direct compensation—property damage coverage are New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Quebec, and the only province where accident benefits coverage is not mandatory is Newfoundland and Labrador.
All-perils coverage (where everything is covered except what’s listed in your policy as excluded) is mandatory in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
According to the latest data provided by each province and each territory, the following are the average auto insurance premiums paid by region, according the Quebec public insurance organization, the Groupement des assureurs automobiles (GAA):