Ontario NDP reintroduces bill to end ‘zip code discrimination’ in auto insurance

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The Ontario NDP is calling on the Ford government to support a bill to end “zip code discrimination” in auto insurance.

NDP MP Tom Rakocevic on Thursday reintroduced a bill, co-sponsored by MPs Doly Begum and Marit Stiles, “to end zip code discrimination and price gouging,” with a focus on the GTA.

The NDP said this is the third time the bill has been introduced. The party said in 2018 that PCs “only blocked the bill to introduce lackluster measures that failed to tackle postcode discrimination.”

Earlier this year, the bill passed unanimously, but the legislature was later dissolved, the party said.

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“Families are paying exorbitant auto insurance premiums while big insurance companies are making record profits,” Rakocevic said.

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“GTA drivers with clean records continue to be abused by this unfair practice, which makes life unaffordable in places like Brampton, Scarborough and Vaughan.”

The party wants rates to be based on the driver’s record, not where they live.

“The Ford government must follow the NDP’s lead by making auto insurance fairer for Ontario families. It means finally ending discrimination by zip code,” Rakocevic said.

The bill passed its first reading on Thursday, but it’s unclear when it will pass second reading, an NDP spokesperson said.

Global News asked the Ford government if it plans to support the bill.

Emily Hogeveen, spokeswoman for Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy, did not say outright whether the Tories would support him.

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“The government understands drivers’ concerns about the cost of car insurance,” Hogeveen said.

“The best way to lower rates for Ontario drivers is to implement broad systemic reforms, which our government continues to work on. We are also cracking down on insurance fraud and abuse, as outlined in the budget.

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“This is on top of the $1.3 billion in aid the finance minister has allowed insurance companies to reimburse their customers throughout the pandemic.”

Earlier this summer, Premier Doug Ford hinted that auto insurance rates based on postal codes “will end.”

“I know we are working on a plan for insurance companies,” the prime minister said at an independent press conference on June 30.

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s totally unfair for people in Brampton or Scarborough to go after these people based on their postcode. It will end very quickly.

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Ford said insurance companies must “treat people fairly in all areas.”

“Insurance companies are making tons of money and it’s coming out of the pockets of Ontarians. So we are going to be everywhere with them,” he said.

In the Progressive Conservative budget released in April, which served as the party platform for the June election, the government said it intended to propose changes that would give consumers “more ‘options’ when purchasing car insurance.

But the proposal lacked specifics as to what exactly they had in mind.

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“Ontario will take additional steps to create choice, crack down on fraud and strengthen fairness,” the document says in part.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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