Will winning Ontario party push for public auto insurance market?

Published: May 28, 2018

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones



Ontario is moving towards election and we have already written about political parties building their campaigns on auto insurance promises, specifically the elimination of territorial assessment of premium cost.

That pledge would not go down well with insurance companies, who insist location is a key factor in determine how much customers should pay for their auto coverage. However, according to new research consumers would remove private insurance companies from the equation if they could.

If an election were to be held today consumers would choose for the auto insurance market to be public. This would mean Canada’s largest driver market would get its basic auto coverage solely from a public government-run provider, as is the case in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. Currently, Ontario is a private market with companies providing coverage to customers.

While consumers may want a public auto solution, no running party is making such a pledge. Forum Research announced a week ago that the New Democratic Party is likely to win the election by majority when the ballots are counted on June 7.

The NDP is running on several significant auto insurance promises, although creating a public market is not one of them. The party says it will reduce auto insurance premiums in Ontario by 15%, a pledge originally made by the ruling Liberals. In 2013 the party pledged to reduce average premiums by 15% before August 2015. That self-imposed deadline passed with only incremental improvements and since auto insurance rates have returned to growth in Ontario.

The Liberals were burned by the false promise, with Premier Kathleen Wynne later admitting it was a “stretch goal” disguised as a campaign pledge. NDP criticized the vote grabbing pledge but has now made a similar goal. While no plans are on the table for a public market, the NDP says it is ruling nothing out.

“We will look beyond the current system if insurance providers do not provide the savings people deserve,” the NDP says in its party platform.