Unredacted 2014 ICBC report says decisive government action was needed
The former BC Liberal government didn’t want you to see it, but now the Vancouver Sun has released a 2014 report warning ICBC of big financial problems ahead.
Eight different pages from the report by Ernst and Young had redactions, with recommendations former Transportation Minister Todd Stone says he didn’t even get to see.
Even current Attorney General David Eby couldn’t see them because of cabinet confidentiality rules, which former Finance Minister Mike de Jong has yet to waive.
But citing the public interest – the Vancouver Sun has put the whole thing online.
Vancouver Sun legislative reporter Rob Shaw, speaking with guest host Simi Sara on The Jon McComb Show, said looking back at it now of course the current reforms look like a good idea.
“The key to this report, if you go on our website and read it, is it was written in 2014, which is the year after Christy Clark won re-election in 2013. At a time when the Liberals were saying ‘don’t worry, we can keep your rates low at ICBC,’ at a time that everything looked okay at ICBC. Because the Liberals were taking money from the profitable optional business of ICBC, and dumping it on the basic rates to artificially keep them low.”
When asked who saw the report, Shaw said that when the paper published the initial story there was a series of questions asking who did what, and when.
“It emerged that, actually, this report first went to what’s called ‘Treasury Board’, which is this really powerful section of the government, just a key few cabinet ministers on it. And the Finance Minister presides over Treasury Board.”
“Mike de Jong was responsible having these sections eliminated, because as he put it to me in an interview, ‘We weren’t gonna act on them, as government, so they didn’t need to be in the report.'”
The report warned the public auto insurer of a serious financial crunch coming their way – and suggested definitive government action.
Attorney general Eby responded to the publishing of the report by saying, “The only thing that really surprises me about all of this is that it took a news organization to be more transparent that the previous government.”
He said what’s new to him in the missing pages is detailed discussion about potential savings at ICBC from capital ratios.
Eby requested a briefing on that by the afternoon, as well as any differences in the rate rating schedule.
“Which is basically that bad drivers should pay more and good drivers should pay less, which is something that are moving ahead with in consultatin with British Columbians.”
Among the recommendations were capping minor injury payouts – like the new NDP government introduced earlier this month.
The public insurer posted a $1.3 billion loss for the 2017-18 fiscal year.
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