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Sousa predicts car insurance rates will drop after mandating winter tire discount

WATCH ABOVE: Charles Sousa, Ontario's Minister of Finance, announced Wednesday that insurance companies will have to offer discounts to drivers using winter tires beginning January 1, 2016.

TORONTO – Finance Minister Charles Sousa says he’s very confident auto insurance rates for Ontario drivers will drop again when new figures are released Thursday.

The Liberals promised to cut car insurance premiums an average of 15 per cent by last August as part of a deal to get NDP support for the 2013 budget when they were still a minority government.

Sousa admits the government missed that target, but says some companies have lowered rates an average of 10 per cent or more, while others haven’t reduced them nearly enough.

Premiums actually increased slightly during the second quarter, but Sousa says new legislation will help lower costs for insurance companies, which he insists will lead to reduced premiums on an ongoing basis.

He says the government is also working with the insurance sector to find ways of lowering premiums for new drivers who often cannot find an affordable rate.

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Insurance companies must also offer a discount starting Jan. 1, 2016 to drivers who install winter tires on their vehicles, but there is no regulation saying just how much of a cut in premiums must result.