The Ontario NDP is calling on the Ford government to support a bill aimed at ending “postal-code discrimination” in auto insurance.
NDP MPP Tom Rakocevic reintroduced a bill Thursday, co-sponsored by MPPs Doly Begum and Marit Stiles, “to end postal-code discrimination and price gouging,” with a focus on the GTA.
The NDP said its the third time the bill has been introduced. The party said in 2018 the PCs “blocked the bill only to introduce lacklustre measures that failed to address postal-code discrimination.”
Earlier this year, the bill was voted on unanimously but the legislature was then dissolved, the party said.
“Families are paying sky-high auto insurance premiums while big insurance corporations make record profits,” Rakocevic said.
“GTA drivers with clean records continue to be gouged by this unfair practice, which makes life unaffordable in places like Brampton, Scarborough and Vaughan.”
The party wants to see rates based on a driver’s record, not where they live.
“The Ford government must follow the NDP’s lead by making auto insurance fairer for Ontario families. That means finally putting an end to postal code discrimination,” Rakocevic said.
The bill passed its first reading Thursday, but it’s not clear when it will head to the second reading, an NDP spokesperson said.
Global News asked the Ford government whether it planned to support the bill.
Emily Hogeveen, a spokesperson for Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy, didn’t say outright whether the PCs would support it.
“The government understands the concerns of drivers regarding the cost of auto insurance,” Hogeveen said.
“The best way to lower rates for Ontario drivers is to implement broad, systemic reforms, which our government is continuing to work on. We are also cracking down on fraud and abuse in the insurance industry as highlighted in the budget.
“This is on top of the $1.3 billion in relief the minister of finance enabled insurance companies to rebate their customers throughout the pandemic.”
Earlier this summer, Premier Doug Ford suggested that car insurance rates based on postal codes will “come to an end.”
“I know we’re working on a plan for insurance companies,” the premier said at an unrelated press conference on June 30.
“As far as I’m concerned, it’s totally unfair to the people of Brampton or Scarborough that they’re going after these people based on their postal code. That’s going to come to an end real quickly.”
Ford said insurance companies must “treat people fairly right across the board.”
“Insurance companies are making tons of money and it’s coming out of the pockets of Ontarians. So we’re going to be all over them,” he said.
In the Progressive Conservative budget released in April, which doubled as a party platform for the June election, the government said they intended to propose changes that would allow for consumers to have “more options” when purchasing auto insurance.
But the proposal lacked specifics as to what exactly they have in mind.
“Ontario will be proceeding with additional measures to create choice, crack down on fraud and enhance fairness,” the document said in part.