TORONTO, June 29, 2020 /CNW/ – Today, the Ontario government announced the creation of a new task force to improve provincial oversight of the towing industry. The task force will help develop a regulatory model to increase safety and enforcement, clarify protections for consumers and improve towing industry standards. It will also consider tougher penalties for offenders.
“IBC applauds the Ontario government for taking action against criminal activity and violence in the towing industry,” said Kim Donaldson, Vice-President, Ontario, IBC. “Insurance fraud is a safety issue for consumers. Lives can be put at risk as a result of these criminal actions. Insurance fraud costs Canadians in higher insurance premiums, and strains our already burdened health care services, emergency services and court systems,” added Donaldson.
The task force will review a number of topics related to the towing industry, which could include provincial oversight of safety, consumer protection, improved industry standards, training and background checks.
As part of the review, the task force may consider opportunities for increased protections for consumers against the first-to-scene unethical business practices that lead to accident chasing, insurance savings through a crackdown on insurance fraud rings, and improved consumer choice for payments and repairs. The province is also reviewing ways to clear accidents faster from the roadside, which would minimize lane reductions and reduce congestion on Ontario highways.
About Insurance Bureau of Canada
Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.
P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 128,000 Canadians, pays $9.4 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $59.6 billion.
For media releases and more information, visit IBC’s Media Centre at www.ibc.ca. Follow us on Twitter @IBC_Ontario or like us on Facebook. If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.
SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada
Safety measures still in place; limited capacity and high demand for appointments expected
Appointments can be booked for all drivers who are required to take a road test for any class of driver’s licence or motorcycle endorsement.
Only drivers who have reached the required age and are fully eligible to take that test can request an appointment. Drivers must first purchase a road test receipt, which can be done by calling or visiting a motor licence issuer (find one near you here). Once they have the receipt, drivers must complete and submit the “Road Test Appointment Request” form on SGI’s website at www.sgi.sk.ca/covid-19, under the “Driver Testing” section. Customers must have a receipt or they won’t be able to book an appointment.
Important notes: Drivers — and supervising drivers for Class 5 applicants – will also need to download and complete waivers to bring to their road test appointment. (Find the waivers under “Driver Testing” at www.sgi.sk.ca/covid-19.)
Drivers who wish to book a test are advised that testing capacity is still very limited due to stringent safety protocols which significantly reduces the number of tests that can be provided. Due to testing being unavailable or highly restricted for the past several months, it’s expected that there will be a high demand for road tests, so drivers are asked to be patient as they may still face a longer-than-normal wait. Anyone who cannot get an appointment will be placed on a wait list and contacted via phone or email when an appointment becomes available.
Drivers who don’t have an urgent need to get their licence are asked to consider waiting to make their appointments in order to make more spots available to others with more pressing needs.
The COVID-19 pandemic shut down driver testing in all classes in mid-March. SGI re-introduced road tests on a limited basis – with modified testing procedures to allow for physical distancing – with priority given for commercial Class 1 and 3 licences, then for Class 5, 4, and 2 licences for people who worked in health care or agriculture and applicants who had booked a driver’s exam prior to the COVID-19 shutdown.
“We are grateful for the patience of the thousands of learner drivers who have been unable to book road tests since mid-March,” said Penny McCune, Chief Operating Officer of the Auto Fund. “Saskatchewan was the first province to resume offering road tests of any kind and we are the first to re-open testing completely across all classes. We will continue to explore ways to increase our testing capacity, with a priority on keeping our customers and employees safe and not contributing to the spread of COVID-19.”
In order to serve as many customers as possible, examiners have been working overtime and SGI has hired additional staff. Testing is available in Regina (two locations), Saskatoon (two locations), Prince Albert, Swift Current, North Battleford, Yorkton, Meadow Lake, Humboldt, Weyburn, Kindersley, Lloydminster, Tisdale, Estevan and Moose Jaw.
Learner drivers who may have to wait several weeks for their appointment are also encouraged to use the extra time to practice with their supervising drivers and to study the Driver’s Handbook to increase their chances of passing.
For information on how other SGI services have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and what changes are happening, visit www.sgi.sk.ca/covid-19 and look under the “Driver Testing” section for information specific to driver exams.
Manager, Media Relations
TORONTO _ Insurance companies have provided $685 million in relief to Ontario drivers using their cars less during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the province’s finance minister says more should be done.
The regulatory body said about 70 per cent of policy holders are receiving some form of relief, with an average savings of $150.
The Financial Services Regulatory Authority said the $685 million in relief amounts to about five per cent of the total annual premiums Ontario drivers pay.
Finance Minister Rod Phillips said 10 out of the 14 major insurance companies have provided rebates to customers.
Phillips announced a regulatory change in April to enable the companies to provide auto insurance premium rebates to consumers for up to 12 months after the emergency has ended.
Phillips said he will look at the companies not supporting their customers and will publicly name them if necessary.
“I believe there’s still more that can be done,” he said in an interview. “I don’t believe all of the companies are participating at the level that they should.”
Phillips has said rebates should be commensurate with the scale of difficulty Ontario families are facing.
“People made it clear they weren’t driving as much, there were fewer accidents,” he said. “I made it clear to the insurance industry we wanted them to take care of their clients during this difficult time.”
The NDP has called on the Ontario government to mandate a three-month, 50 per cent discount on auto insurance.
WINNIPEG _ Manitoba drivers could soon be paying less for their vehicle insurance.
Manitoba Public Insurance has applied for an average 10.5 per cent cut in overall rates, which it says would save the typical passenger vehicle owner about $130 a year.
The Crown corporation says if regulators approve the move, it will be the largest cut in three decades.
The requested rate change varies widely for different kinds of vehicles _ from an 11 per cent reduction for private passenger vehicles to a 1.8 per cent increase for motorcycles.
The corporation recently offered one-time rebates to drivers, due largely to reduced traffic and accident claims during COVID-19 restrictions.
President Ben Graham says the new rate decrease is possible because of a number of factors, including better management of expenses at the corporation.
Kayla Goodfield Writer, CTV News Toronto
TORONTO — Dozens of vehicles stolen throughout the Greater Toronto Area and destined for Libya and Turkey have been recovered after they were stopped by Canadian border officials and Italian police officers.
Back in April, members of York Regional Police’s financial crimes unit were contacted by officers with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) regarding an ongoing investigation.
The CBSA had previously flagged the export of a 2018 Audi Q7 and deemed it to be suspicious. Throughout their investigation they realized that the same vehicle was being probed as part of an auto finance fraud investigation being conducted by members of York Regional Police.
“Investigators discovered a number of other vehicles involved, many destined overseas,” officers said in a news release issued on Wednesday.
According to investigators, these vehicles were in shipping containers destined for Libya and Turkey, but were flagged while on stopovers at two Italian ports in Salerno and Tauro after officials notified the Polizia di Stato, the national police of Italy.
“Through a collaborative effort, York Regional Police along with CBSA officers and the Italian National Police identified 40 vehicles that were obtained by fraud or stolen from York Region and the Greater Toronto Area,” police said.
Thirty of the vehicles were seized at the Italian ports and the other 10 were seized by the CBSA before they could be exported from Canada. The vehicles seized in Italy are worth approximately $1.5 million, according to police, and the other vehicles are worth more than $300,000.
“York Regional Police are working with the CBSA, Italian State Police and the Insurance Bureau of Canada to have the vehicles returned to Canada where they can be returned to their lawful owners,” officers said.
Furthermore, after a search warrant was executed by officers at the offices of RS Royal Services, located on Bakersfield Street in Toronto, additional vehicles are being investigated as part of this case.
“This investigation is ongoing,” police said.
Anyone with further information is asked to contact York Regional Police’s financial crimes unit at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 6612 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
CTV News Toronto