Parties At Odds Over Ontario Car Insurance Winter Tire Discounts

October 20, 2015 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
October 20, 2015 - says that the recent plan to reward drivers using winter tires is a good idea, and a money saver for consumers. However, has the government done enough to appease drivers after missing a pledge to lower auto insurance premiums by 15 per cent and is it more than a coincidence that the discounts have been announced just a week before consumers go to the ballots?

The Ontario Ministry of Finance announced last week that drivers in the province who use winter tires this cold season will be able to have discounts on their auto insurance. Finance Minister Charles Sousa said consumers will be able to have mid-policy discounts and lower rates on new coverage policies when they install winter tires.

However, critics of the liberal government and opposing parties have called the move an opportunistic grab for last minute votes as the government seeks re-election in October 19th's Canada 2015 elections. That may be a fair claim considering the winter tire discounts will not come into effect until January 1st 2016, so the government could easily have announced this initiative next week and the effect on the consumer would be the same.

The Conservative opposition to the liberal government has been particularly critical of the policies employed for the auto insurance industry over the last two years. That was the time frame offered by the Liberal's when they pledged to slash insurance premiums by 15 per cent, a goal they ultimately failed to achieve.

Sousa claims that insurance rates will continue to fall and the evidence over recent years shows that indeed premiums have consistently fallen. However, Shop Insurance Canada, a leading auto insurance industry expert, says that the Ontarian government has not done enough to meet a pledge made two years ago. It is something parties vying against the Liberal's in the elections this week agree with:

"It really comes down to this - the Liberals are not committed to making this a priority," said New Democrat MPP Jagmeet Singh (Bramalea-Gore-Malton).
"They're not hesitating to reduce costs for insurance companies and reducing benefits … they're just not tying them together with rate reductions."

The 2013 pledge stated auto insurance premiums would fall by 15 per cent in two years, a deadline that passed in August. Instead insurance premiums have fallen by 6.96 per cent in that time, well short of the promised amount made by Charles Sousa in 2013. Any drop in premiums is welcome, as is the decision to implement a winter tire discount program, but increasingly it looks as though the government is trying to save face and garner last minute votes.

With elections looming, the government is merely smoothing relationships with consumers who are aware it missed a target pledge. Clouding over the issue by promising further declines in premium costs and using a winter tire program may help the government deceive the consumer base long enough to win office again and paper over the cracks in the auto insurance industry long enough to last through the elections.

Critics of the government say authorities in Ontario would have served the 9.6 million drivers in Ontario better by working harder to implement its original pledge. The winter tire program forces the hand of insurance providers, but it is something of a token gesture considering 45 per cent of insurers in Ontario already offer winter tire discounts.

Luke Jones is a journalist professional at, Canada's authoritative expert in car insurance news, information, and rates. Compare quotes from up to 25+ different car insurance providers in minutes.

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