Does Your E-Scooter Require Automobile Insurance?

The excerpted article was written by Article by Daniel Strigberger

During the second weekend of 2020, much of Ontario suffered from strong winds and heavy rainfall, causing havoc for motorists across the province. The last thing I wanted to do was leave my house. Especially not on an e-scooter.

On January 1, 2020, the Ontario Legislature launched a five-year pilot program with broad rules for the use of Electric Kick Scooters (e-scooters) on municipal roads. Among other things, the rules include several vehicle and safety requirements. These e-scooters must have:

  • Maximum speed capacity of 24 km/h;
  • Maximum weight of 45 kg;
  • Maximum power output of 500W;
  • Front and rear lights;
  • Two wheels with a maximum diameter of 17 inches; and
  • No pedals or breaks

Only one rider is allowed to use an e-scooter and that rider must be standing at all times. No baskets or cargo are allowed on the e-scooter.

Under the pilot program, municipalities must now pass by-laws to allow their use and determine where they can operate safely in their borders.

When I first read about this new pilot program, the insurance lawyer in me naturally wondered whether these devices would require automobile insurance when being operated on municipal roads. I think they might.

Automobile Insurance Requirements in Ontario

The pilot program is silent on automobile insurance, which could lead many people to assume that automobile insurance is not required for using e-scooters on roads. But what does the law have to say about this issue?

My analysis acknowledges that automobile insurance policies provide insurance for automobiles. There is no question that an e-scooter is not an automobile in ordinary parlance. It does not look, feel, sound, smell, or taste like an automobile. It looks more like a cool toy.

However, section 224 (1) of the Insurance Act has an expanded definition of “automobile”:

“automobile” includes,

(a) a motor vehicle required under any Act to be insured under a motor vehicle liability policy, and

(b) a vehicle prescribed by regulation to be an automobile; (“automobile”)

This means that if an Act requires a particular motor vehicle to be insured, it becomes an “automobile” for insurance purposes.

There are two issues here:

  1. Is an e-scooter a “motor vehicle” and, if so:
  2. Must an e-scooter be insured under an automobile policy when it is being driven on a municipal road?

The Insurance Act does not define “motor vehicle”. I turn next to section 1 of the Highway Traffic Act, which states as follows:

“motor vehicle” includes an automobile, a motorcycle, a motor assisted bicycle unless otherwise indicated in this Act, and any other vehicle propelled or driven otherwise than by muscular power, but does not include a street car or other motor vehicle running only upon rails, a power-assisted bicycle, a motorized snow vehicle, a traction engine, a farm tractor, a self-propelled implement of husbandry or a road-building machine; [emphasis added]

Is an e-scooter propelled or driven otherwise than by muscular power? I believe so. Some quick online research on e-scooters reveals that they are propelled by an electric motor, which gets its power from a rechargeable battery that is mounted to the scooter. Depending on the type and model of the scooter, the motor might power the front wheel or both wheels, thereby propelling the scooter forward.

Assuming that an e-scooter meets the definition of “motor vehicle” under the Highway Traffic Act, it would also meet the definition of “motor vehicle” under the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act, which adopts the HTAdefinition of “motor vehicle”.

This is where it gets interesting.

Section 2 (1) of the CAIA requires all motor vehicles that are being driven on highways (which includes municipal roads) to be insured under an automobile policy:

Compulsory automobile insurance

2 (1) Subject to the regulations, no owner or lessee of a motor vehicle shall,

(a) operate the motor vehicle; or

(b) cause or permit the motor vehicle to be operated,

on a highway unless the motor vehicle is insured under a contract of automobile insurance.

So if e-scooters are “motor vehicles” and they are being driven on municipal roads, the CAIA requires them to be insured under an automobile policy. And if the CAIA requires them to be insured under an automobile policy when driven on municipal roads, it appears that these e-scooters suddenly become “automobiles” for the purpose of Ontario’s Insurance Act.


What does this mean for E-scooters?

If an e-scooter is an “automobile” for insurance purposes, using these vehicles on municipal roads opens up all sorts of issues:

  1. An e-scooter would be required to be insured under an automobile policy while it is being driven on an Ontario road;
  2. The owner or lessee of an e-scooter could be charged with an offence under the CAIA if their e-scooters are being operated without insurance;
  3. If the owner or lessee of an e-scooter is injured in an automobile accident while contravening section 2 of the CAIA, they would not be allowed to sue a negligent motorist for personal injuries pursuant to section 267.6 of the Insurance Act;
  4. Where the use or operation of any e-scooter on a municipal road directly causes an impairment, the person would likely be entitled to claim accident benefits – even if the e-scooter was uninsured and even if the incident did not involve any other automobiles.

With this in mind, will automobile insurers consider insuring e-scooters under automobile policies? Will the Legislature carve out insurance requirements for e-scooters? Will I ever be able to leave the house with an e-scooter?

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

Source: Mondaq



What to know about Turo, one of Calgary’s few remaining car share services

What to know about Turo, one of Calgary’s few remaining car share services

The excerpted article was written by Chandler Walter  | Daily Hive: Calgary Urbanized

Calgary’s a sprawling city encompassing a total area of 825.3 square kilometres.

The C-Train and transit buses are perfectly suitable options for Calgarians and visitors to traverse throughout YYC — so long as your destination happens to be close to a stop.

Our Lime bikes and Bird scooters have been tucked away to hibernate over the cold winter months, and Car2Go pulled out of the city back in October.

So where does that leave a car-less Calgarian who’s looking to get into the mountains, or even just pick up someone from the airport?

Well, one of the city’s few remaining options for car sharing is Turo, a peer-to-peer platform that has been described as similar to Airbnb, but for cars.

Basically, it connects car-owning Calgarians with those who are looking to rent a vehicle, allowing for a legal and insured transaction.

“It’s a pretty simple concept, but it’s a really efficient one because it’s really about putting the world’s 1.5 billion cars to better use,” said Cedric Mathieu, Turo Canada’s Managing Director, in an interview with Daily Hive Calgary.

“Cars are an incredibly underutilized asset; people use their cars less than 5% of the time, and for 95% of the time cars are idle in the driveway or the garage, costing their owners money.”

Mathieu noted that the loss of Car2Go in Calgary was a hit for those who may not own their own vehicles — especially in what can be a painfully cold place to live.

“The Car2Go situation has been a big loss for car sharing in Alberta and in Calgary in particular, though we’re excited to see that other car sharing platforms are looking at the market and considering it for the future,” he said.

“The good news is that there are still car sharing services in Calgary and Alberta, and Turo is one of them.”

There are roughly 1,500 vehicles currently listed on Turo throughout YYC, with about 500 being available for trips on a daily basis, according to Mathieu.

Renting a car may not be the easiest solution for a quick trip — seeing as the minimum rental is for a day and picking the car up from its location can be a journey in and of itself — but Mathieu says that the service is ideal for people who may want to leave the city for a few days or to take a trip into the mountains.

Turo launched in the United States in 2010, and has been operating in Ontario, Quebec, and Alberta since 2016. They most recently entered into Nova Scotia in June of 2019, and Mathieu says that the eventual goal is to offer services from coast to coast.

One of the major hurdles in getting into some of Canada’s provinces, however, is insurance.

Turo has a partnership with Intact Insurance, which is active for all trips and covers the full value of the vehicle plus $2 million in liability.

Those who are putting their own vehicles on the platform don’t have to pay a deductible if a guest accidentally crashes their car or if it gets stolen, as the driver will be on the hook for the deductible — which goes down in price depending on the coverage package they choose at the start of their trip.

Because all Turo trips are operated under the same insurance provider, it creates something of a speedbump for the company when trying to enter provinces such a BC, where private insurance is not allowed.

Still, Mathieu noted in the interview that he has seen a shift in how Canadians are approaching transportation, with apps like Uber and Lyft offering a new option for shorter trips, and Turo and Car2Go providing an alternative to more traditional car rental services — as well as a way for car owners to get some extra value out of their vehicles.

“Cars are, in a sense, the biggest purchase you’re going to make in your life, or maybe the second biggest, after your home, and it’s incredibly inefficient asset when you think about it,” he said in the interview.

“The amount of money that is put into it, the level of depreciation that the car is going to experience almost immediately after you buy it, and then the money you’re going to invest in maintaining and insuring and parking that car, it makes it one of the worst investments you can make, actually.”

A view that the owners of the 32,000 vehicles across Canada may have also taken prior to signing their ride up for service.

Mathieu also noted that the wide variety of vehicles offered through the platform could be a draw, especially for those who may need something a little extra, like ski racks or a baby seat.

At this rate, we’ll just take anything that warms up quick — seeing as the shoelace express in -30°C weather can be a very painful option.

Auto insurance in N.B. likely to see double-digit increases in 2020

The excerpted article was written BY

Car insurance rates are likely to see a hike this year, according to experts.

New Brunswick’s consumer advocate for insurance says rate percentage increases could jump by double digits, with several applications before the province’s insurance board.

“Now we have all those fancy sensors and all those things, so a regular or a small fender bender or accident that we used to have a couple of years ago, now the amount to repair accidents, it costs much more than it used to,” says advocate Michèle Pelletier. “I think in 2020, it’s going to be about the same thing as it was in 2019; insurers are still filing for substantial increases, two-digit increases.”

A hearing held by the New Brunswick Insurance Board started Tuesday in Fredericton, following an application from Echelon General Insurance Company, seeking a 30 per cent rate increase for private passenger vehicles. Pelletier says the request has since been modified, and the company is now asking for a 51 per cent increase. She says Echelon is a mid-market company, however, for consumers who have been involved in multiple accidents or people with speeding tickets.

Sonnet Insurance Company, which has a hearing in Saint John in February, is seeking a 50 per cent increase, according to the board’s website. There are notices for other applications seeking increases, as well.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) says there’s been a gap between claims and premiums.

“From 2014 to 2018, claims cost have increased over that period 22 per cent. Now if we look at premiums from 2013 to 2018, the average written premium increased 11.5 per cent,” says Amanda Dean, the Atlantic region’s vice-president for IBC.

Drivers who spoke to Global News in Moncton Tuesday didn’t take the news too well.

“I believe that the increases are a little exuberant,” says Gus Dublin. “What we do pay for insurance is probably already high enough.”

“Car insurance is crazy these days,” says Bruno Gallant.

Charline Bourque always shops around to find the best rate, but still says “(it’s) ridiculous because I find (rates) are quite high already.”

Meanwhile, Pelletier says New Brunswick still has one of the lowest premiums in the country.

Dean says insurance companies across the country are seeing “claims pressures building,” although to varying extents, but notes that increases in New Brunswick are a result of claims filed in New Brunswick


DriveSmartBC: An Overview of Car Insurance for BC Drivers

Chances are good that when you think about car insurance your first thought is about how much it is going to cost you rather than how well it is going to protect you if something goes wrong. You might even be tempted to shade the truth about who will be driving your vehicle or how they will be using it to reduce those costs. Be very careful how you make decisions about insurance as making poor choices can put you at huge financial risk post crash.

Insurance is a contract between you and an insurance company. Pay the premiums and the company will protect you from financial losses specified in the contract.

The risk is spread among all the policy holders in an effort to make the premiums more affordable, but you may have to pay a higher premium if you are at higher risk for making a claim. Penalty point and driver risk premiums are used by ICBC in addition to your collision history to set rates.

The surest way to keep premiums low is to keep the number of claims low. This concept appears to be lost on many drivers today. Some make no connection between the way they drive and the risk that they present.

We consider insurance so important that a policy must be in effect in order to drive. You must carry a liability card while driving and produce it to police on demand. Should you be involved in a collision, you must produce particulars of the liability card in writing to anyone suffering loss or injury or who witnessed the collision if they request it.

In British Columbia, we all have to buy our basic third party liability insurance from ICBC. This protects us from the damage that we do to others if we are at fault in a collision. Basic Autoplan covers up to $200,000.00 but a quick look at some of the case law on this site will suggest that this is nowhere near enough. An honest, careful discussion with your Autoplan Agent can help you decide what is appropriate for your circumstances.

We can buy additional third party insurance and coverage for our own damage; collision, fire, theft, vandalism and other losses from ICBC or other private insurance companies. In this case, it could pay you to compare insurance companies to see if their rates for similar or better coverage costs less than an ICBC policy.

According to Hergott Law, the best $25.00 that you will ever spend on insurance is for Underinsured Motorist Protection.

Now that you are insured, be careful not to do anything that would breach your contract. Driving while impaired, without a driver’s licence or with a suspended licence, evading police action, racing or making a misrepresentation on the application for insurance can all void your coverage.

In some contract breaches, ICBC will pay for damages done to others and then expect you to reimburse the cost. The corporation may also cancel or refuse to issue a driver’s licence or vehicle licence and number plates for outstanding motor vehicle-related debts.

Cst. Tim Schewe (Ret.) runs DriveSmartBC, a community web site about traffic safety in British Columbia. For 25 years he was an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, including five years on general duty, 20 in traffic and 10 as a collision analyst responsible of conducting technical investigations of collisions. He retired from policing in 2006 but continues to be active in traffic safety through the DriveSmartBC web site, teaching seminars and contributing content to newspapers and web sites.

Click here to share your comments by e-mail.


The path to fair and effective regulation of the collision repair industry

The excerpted article was written By Andrew Shepherd |

In our last epistle in this space, we discussed the world-leading approach of Canada’s public insurance provinces in adopting ‘universal’ collision repair standards covering training, equipment and business operations. Manitoba, Saskatchewan and B.C. are addressing consumer safety and insurance cost control through the regulatory powers of government insurance agencies.

In Saskatchewan, this involves a two-tier accreditation scheme with a top tier modelled after the manufacturers’ specifications for operation and repair, and with these, the ‘rights’ to repair a far greater number of collision types. Tier 2 will have similar training requirements without the same investment in equipment. The sweetener in the deal is a payment of up to $15,000 per shop to compensate for investments in training and equipment.  The tiered system is very similar to that operating in Manitoba since 2018 and that proposed for BC in the coming months.

By any standard—no pun intended—these three western provinces are taking an enlightened approach to improving safety and controlling escalating insurance rates. But if training, equipment and operational standards are an obvious answer, how are other provinces following suit?

It is true that a provincial insurance agency provides an ideal regulatory mechanism to drive changes to the collision repair industry, and there are no signs that other provinces are considering this direction, but there is a wide range of alternatives to government regulation.

Quebec’s insurance approach might be called ‘quasi-regulated’—the Groupement des assureurs automobiles (GAA) was created in 1978 to bring risk sharing, claims settlement and rate-setting standards to private insurers operating in the Province. Clearly, it would be an easy step to adopt training and equipment standards as well.

Ontario, with the largest population of collision repair facilities, has been very active in looking for ways to reduce insurance costs. AIA Canada has been in discussion with Ontario’s Conservative government regarding the adoption of the Canadian Collision Industry Accreditation Program (CCIAP) as a form of industry self-regulation. These discussions are based on an AIA White Paper entitled “Collision Repair Facility Accreditation: Implications for the industry and the public and the role of a national accreditation program – An AIA Canada Position Paper”—available on the AIA website. Alberta has recently created an expert advisory committee to review the province’s automobile insurance system to reduce costs for consumers—they may well consider the same options being reviewed in Ontario.

One could confidently predict a trend to further regulation of the repair industry, particularly as we move rapidly toward autonomous vehicles, increased complexity and growing safety concerns. Industry self-regulation, through programs such as CCIAP, provides governments with an effective model which avoids red tape and reduces public costs – and at the same time serves the collision repair industry itself by avoiding the regulatory burden of paperwork, licenses and inspectors.

Andrew Shepherd is the executive director of I-CAR Canada, a non-profit organization that provides collision repair training and ongoing education. He can be reached at

New numbers confirm Alberta drivers facing higher auto insurance costs

By Dean Bennett


EDMONTON _ New numbers confirm that many Alberta drivers are getting hit with rate hikes, and even some sharp spikes, in their auto insurance.

The Automobile Insurance Rate Board says that 27 insurers operating in Alberta were granted rate hikes in recent months, ranging from less than one per cent to almost 30 per cent for basic coverage on private passenger vehicles.

But the board, in its latest report, stressed that it now expects the changes to work not only for insurers, but also for drivers who were having trouble getting the coverage they needed under the old rate cap.

“Following nearly two years of rate restriction, some Albertans found it difficult to obtain the coverage they required or access to payment plans,” said the board in its fourth quarter report, issued Friday.

“These actions by insurers were directly related to their inability to receive approval for rates commensurate with the risk.

“The (board) expects insurers who received approval for a rate increase to cease practices that limit access to certain coverages for Albertans.”

The board said more than 92 per cent of the insurers offering coverage for private vehicles asked for rate changes.

The move comes after the insurance industry warned repeatedly that sharply rising payouts in recent years had put it in a financial squeeze, and those problems were worsened when a five per cent ceiling on rate hikes was imposed two years ago by the former NDP government.

Last fall, the new United Conservative government lifted that cap, saying it wasn’t working because some Albertans were not able to access certain non-mandatory coverages or payment plans.

Celyeste Power with the Insurance Bureau of Canada said the new hikes are about 10 per cent on average per insurers, but that average will vary widely depending on driver records and how many drivers each firm insures.

She said the increase is not a surprise.

“Insurers actually don’t want to increase rates. They would rather keep their customer happy, give them the best rate possible,” said Power.

“But we have seen increasing claims costs over the past few years that have become quite unsustainable, and that’s when you see premiums follow.”

She said she hopes longer term reform will come from a provincial panel currently reviewing the entire auto insurance system to determine ways to improve it for the industry and drivers.

The panel is to report back in the spring.

Alberta Finance spokeswoman Jerrica Goodwin, in a statement, stressed that the board makes its rate decisions independent of government.

“Today’s release shows many companies with combined rate hikes below five per cent,” said Goodwin.

“Given the numerous options available, we encourage Albertans to shop around for the best rate.

“We will be taking action in the coming months to address long-term affordability in a sustainable manner.”

Jon Carson, the Opposition NDP critic on auto insurance, said the five per cent cap was reasonable, noting some firms in the latest report managed to keep their hikes to five per cent or less.

He urged the government to bring the cap back, adding that the UCP removed it last August with no consultation.

“Albertans are paying hundreds of dollars more in auto insurance alone and that’s very concerning,” said Carson.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 10, 2020.

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