Ontario’s Doug Ford to make case for NAFTA deal to U.S. counterparts

By Shawn Jeffords

THE CANADIAN PRESS

TORONTO _ Vowing to stand with the federal Liberals, Ontario’s Progressive Conservative premier-designate said he will travel widely in the United States in a bid to help bolster continuing and complex NAFTA talks.

Doug Ford emerged from a nearly hour-long meeting Thursday afternoon with Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and Canada’s ambassador to the United States, pledging his help in trade dispute. The businessman and owner of a label-making business with a branch in the U.S., leaned on his background in sales to tell reporters that he will help federal efforts by travelling to the U.S. to discuss trade with U.S. politicians.

“It’s going to be a full court press,” Ford said. “I’m going to be travelling to every single state because nothing is better than meeting someone eye-to-eye. I can get on the phone, but nothing is better than visiting someone eye-to-eye.”

Ford, whose Conservatives won a majority last week, will be continuing work begun by outgoing Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne, who spent months meeting with American governors stressing the importance of reaching a new NAFTA agreement. Ontario will not sit on the sidelines, he said.

“My friends, we must stand together during these critical negotiations because there’s so much at stake,” he said. “Jobs across our economy, workers and their families, entire communities are all counting on us to defend Ontario’s interests and Canada’s interest.”

Freeland said the trade discussions are a non-partisan issue and praised Ford and all of Canada’s premiers for presenting a united front to the U.S.

“We’ve been very effective as a country in playing as Team Canada in this very critical negotiation,” she said. “I’m really grateful for all the work that premier’s across the country have been doing in being part of the Team Canada effort. As premier-designate Ford has said, it really has been a non-partisan effort.”

Freeland, who had been Washington earlier Thursday meeting U.S. Ambassador Richard Lighthizer, said she told the trade czar she would be would be meeting with Ontario’s premier-designate this afternoon.

“I think he was a little bit surprised,” she said during brief introductory remarks before her meeting with Ford. “I think that was a very important signal and message of Canada being absolutely unified when it comes to this very important issue.”

Freeland said she also consulted Ford on retaliatory tariffs that will be imposed on the U.S. in response to “illegal” tariffs Donald Trump slapped on Canadian steel and aluminium imports.

`”On July 1, Canada’s retaliation list will come into effect,” she said. “I want to be clear with Canadians, this is a perfectly reciprocal, measured response.”

Earlier this week, Ford met with auto and steel industry representatives affected by the trade talks and said recent American tariffs on aluminium and steel would hurt jobs on both sides of the border.

Ford’s remarks Thursday echoed his support for the federal government during the tough trade talks. Ford said that while he understands Trump was sticking up for his country in recent remarks criticizing Canada and the prime minister, “name-calling” won’t help resolve disagreements on trade between the two countries.

His comments come after Trump called Trudeau  “weak” and “dishonest” in a Twitter tirade the weekend after the prime minister spoke against American tariffs on steel and aluminium.

Why do my car insurance rates spike based on where I live?

Excerpted article was writen by 

Are my car insurance rates higher based on where I live? Is it based on the number of accidents in my postal code? It doesn’t make sense that we have to pay if a terrible driver from somewhere else gets in a crash here. – Jerry, Brampton, Ont.

If you dent somebody’s hood far from your ‘hood, your neighbours’ rates take the hit.

“It is based on your address, where the car is garaged – not where the claim occurred,” said Pete Karageorgos, director of consumer and industry relations with the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC).

So if your neighbour in Brampton got in a crash at King and Yonge Streets in Toronto, it counts as a claim for your neighbourhood – not in Toronto.

The number and cost of overall claims – including thefts and crashes – by people living in your area is one of the things insurance companies are allowed to look atwhen they set your rates.

“Territory is considered for auto insurance in Ontario as well as most every other province, including [British Columbia] and Manitoba,” Karageorgos said. “It’s used as a way to group people because premiums are determined by claims.”

The Ontario Liberals and New Democrats promised to stop this insurance industry practice in the provincial election campaign.

“The [Progressive Conservatives] have been pretty quiet in the whole insurance issue,” said Anne Marie Thomas, senior manager of partner relationships for rate-comparison site Insurancehotline.com. “The NDP also said they will lower insurance rates by 15 per cent.”

In a platform scrapped after Doug Ford became party leader, the Ontario Progressive Conservatives had promised an end to “geographic discrimination” while not allowing insurance companies to raise rates in other parts of the province.

So why is it an issue? Because your rates could, potentially, be close to $1,000 a year higher than someone who lives a kilometre or two away. For instance, according to numbers released by Kanetix last fall, Brampton is the most expensive city for insurance in Ontario. There’s an average $2,268 annual premium for a 35-year-old driver of a 2014 Honda with a clean driving record.

But next door in Georgetown, that rate is $1,151.

And, while the average rate for Toronto overall was $1,743, there were 22 Toronto neighbourhoods where it was over $2,000 a year.

The average rate province-wide for that Honda driver? It’s $1,316 a year, Kanetix said.

WHY INSURANCE COMPANIES GO POSTAL

Ontario allows insurance companies to have up to 54 territories – Toronto can have up to ten – and each insurance company decides where those are, Karageorgos said.

The province approves rates and annual increases based on each company’s claims costs.

“Each company can look at the province and slice it up differently,” Karageorgos said. “That’s why it’s important to shop around.”

But eliminating what the NDP has called “postal-code discrimination” might have a cost to people living in cheaper areas.

“If you think about it, insurance companies aren’t going to do things at a loss – so if rates go down somewhere, they’re going to up somewhere else,” Thomas said. “The majority of the money [insurance companies] make is from investments and not underwriting – for every dollar they take in, some companies are paying out as much as $1.30 in claims.”

The Ontario Trial Lawyers Association (OTLA) said insurance companies are making record profits in Ontario – about $1.5-billion in 2016 alone.

The association issued a report last month stating that Ontario consumers have been overpaying by about $143 per policy every year.

“Insurers are not required to be transparent and clear in their auto profit reporting,” OTLA president Ronald Bohm said in an e-mail. “[They] have been crying poor and getting [the] government to allow them to cut benefits to those seriously injured in accidents.”

The IBC disagrees with the report, and spokesman Steve Kee said it had “serious errors.”

Ontario’s average rates, now about $1,500 per year, make it the second-most expensive province for insurance in Canada, IBC said. The most expensive? That’s B.C., where the average is nearly $1,700 a year, including basic and optional coverage, IBC said.

Both the OTLA and IBC say lowering Ontario insurance rates requires overhauling the whole system.

“The problem has been created over the years because each government comes in and cherry picks what they’re going to fix,” IBC’s Karageorgos said.

Getting rid of location-based auto insurance rates won’t reduce premiums: Insurers

Bryan Passifiume | Toronto Sun

After Thursday, your address may no longer impact your car insurance bill.

All three major parties have expressed varying degrees of interest in eliminating location-based insurance rates that use your postal code to determine premiums.

Data from insurance aggregator Kanetix says north Brampton boasts Ontario’s highest rates, with an average premiums topping $2,398 annually.

That’s a bit less than Toronto’s most expensive rates, $2,384 a year in north Scarborough.

Kanetix.ca insurance expert Anne Marie Thomas attributed the high rates to previous claim histories in the area.

“It’s how often do they happen, and how big they are when they do happen,” she said.

In some cases, motorists could pay hundreds more than those living across the street.

Homeowners living at Lawrence Ave. and Scarlett Rd. pays $600 less annually than those a block east at Weston Rd.

In Brampton, living north or south of Mayfield Rd. translates to a $1,234 difference in your policy.

Twenty kilometres northwest of Brampton in Erin, that gap increases to $1,380.

The NDP and Liberals have incorporated a pledge to eliminate location-based ratings, while the Progressive Conseratives talked about it last year. A PC spokesman could not be reached for comment.

“It’s not right that someone living in Brampton should have to pay much, much more than someone living in neighbouring Caledon for the exact same insurance,” the Ontario NDP said in a statement to theToronto Sun.

“The NDP plan reduces auto insurance rates by 15%, and ends neighbourhood discrimination.”

Pete Karageorgos, of the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), said companies don’t arbitrarily set rates — they’re regulated by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO.)

Thomas said eliminating location-based rates would mean relief for some, but pain for others.

“It means that Brampton rates would go down, but Ajax would go up,” she said.

Reducing fraud is a better way to reduce rates, she said — a $1.6 billion-per-year problem according to the IBC, adding $246 annually per auto insurance policy.

Lawyer Jerome Kennedy wonders ‘what it is that we’re doing here’ if board not making recommendations to gov’t

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CAA Brings Pay-Per-Km Insurance to Canada

Source: AutoTrader

Pay-as-you-drive insurance is coming to Canada. CAA Insurance is launching a new way for drivers who don’t cover much mileage to benefit on their premiums.

The new program is called CAA MyPace, and it is launching in Ontario in July. It lets drivers pay for their car insurance in 1,000 km blocks. Pay a base yearly rate, and then each time you use up your 1,000 km block, the system alerts you and lets you pay for another.

CAA Insurance pitches the new plan at drivers who cover less than 9,000 km per year, like seniors and drivers who mostly use public transit. “Over the last number of years, auto insurance has been front of mind for a lot of Ontarians,” said Elliott Silverstein, manager, government relations, CAA South Central Ontario. “Today’s announcement provides an additional layer of choice for those who are low-mileage drivers and marks an important step in the modernization of insurance in Ontario.”

To monitor your driving, the program uses a device that plugs into your vehicle and monitors the distance covered. But unlike some other insurance options that track your actual driving and give you a discount based on your driving habits, this one is only looking at your kilometers.

It’s not the first time for usage-based car insurance in Canada. Insurer Aviva tried a pilot of a similar program, but it was discontinued in 2010 before a mass rollout to consumers. High costs related to supporting the program were given as a major reason for the cancellation, which monitored acceleration, braking, time of vehicle use and other driving patterns.

This type of insurance was initially popularized in the UK. It has also made an appearance in the US through National General Insurance and GM’s OnStar program. That program uses GM’s OnStar in-car telematics service to track driving distance, instead of a separate device. The program advertises that drivers who cover less than about 24,000 km per year can save on their insurance, and provides a further discount to OnStar subscribers.

We reached out to GM Canada to see if it was planning to extend the service to Canadian OnStar subscribers. A spokesperson from GM told us that the service is currently being explored for the Canadian market.

Evan is based in Halifax, and has been a car nut for as long as anyone can remember. He autocrosses, does lapping days and TSD rallies, breaks cars and then fixes them again.

RoadSafety: Canadian kindness ends at street level in Toronto

In Toronto, the battle for space on the street amongst pedestrians, cyclists, motorists and drivers can be heated. Because, let’s face it: we Canadians may be known for our polite ways, but that ends at street level in Toronto. A lack of empathy, compounded by low awareness of the rules of the road, seems to be at the core of the issue.

Passion for space on the streets is justified, of course: in 2016, for example, 171 pedestrians and 42 cyclists were killed or seriously injured in a collision with a motor vehicle and 145 drivers were killed or seriously injured due to aggressive and distracted driving1. While there is considerable effort underway towards improving road safety, such as Toronto’sambitious Vision Zero road safety plan, the numbers say we all need to do more.

That’s why RSA Canada is calling for a truce.

On June 2, RSA Canada, one of Canada’s leading property and casualty insurers, will be officially launching TruceTO, an initiative which aims to bring harmony to the debate around street safety in Toronto. The goal behind TruceTO is to make Toronto one of the first cities in North America to officially call a truce between pedestrians, cyclists, motorists and drivers.

A recent survey commissioned by RSA Canada2, found:

  • 50 per cent of Toronto pedestrians and drivers admit they don’t always know when cyclists have the right of way
  • 33 per cent of cyclists report seeing an unfamiliar road sign recently
  • More than 75 per cent of street users across the board agreed that road rage is a serious issue in Toronto

As such, education is also a key focus of this initiative. The central hub at www.truceto.com will house a variety of informative and engaging content through the year, in infographic, podcast and video format.

“The success of any street safety program is determined by a reduction in injuries and fatalities, through influencing policy change and road infrastructure,” said Donna Ince, Senior Vice President for Personal Insurance at RSA Canada. “However, it is important in the short-term to turn the heat down in the ongoing debate among the city’s road users. That is why we are taking on the unique role as a mediator to unite Torontonians based on their shared desire for – and right to – safer streets.”

The survey also revealed that more than 70 per cent of pedestrians, cyclists and drivers agree that they collectively play a role to improve safety on our street. By calling a truce between all road users, RSA wants to take the antagonistic discussion off the streets and give Canadians an opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions on better sharing the road.

“As providers of auto insurance, RSA has a vested interest in road safety as a whole,” added Ince. “That said, in order to be productive and create real change, the conversation around street use needs to shift away from victim-blaming and towards a multi-lateral, action-oriented discussion.”

RSA Canada invites all Torontonians to the TruceTO launch event scheduled for June 2 at 464 King Street West (King Street West and Spadina Avenue) between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Those who can’t make it to the event are still welcome to take the pledge to be a better road sharer at www.truceto.com and by using #TruceTO on social posts. Attendees will also have the chance to participate in a driving simulation provided by DriveWise, a leading Canadian driving school, where they can quite literally, put themselves in the driver’s seat to better understand and better navigate our changing streets – bike lanes, construction zones and pedestrian crossings, to name a few. TruceTO aligns with RSA’s corporate purpose of Making Life Better Together and supports its Corporate Responsibility Safe, Secure World pillar, which focuses on safeguarding our customers from everyday risks. To learn more about RSA Canada’s corporate social responsibility, visit https://www.rsagroup.ca/about-us/corporate-responsibility/our-corporate-responsibility-journey.

About RSA:

With a 300-year heritage, RSA is a multinational quoted insurance group. Focusing on general insurance, RSA’s core markets are the UK & Ireland, Scandinavia and Canada, with the capability to write insurance business across the globe.  RSA’s core businesses have approximately 13,500 employees with net written premiums of £6.3bn in 2016.

About RSA Canada:

The RSA Canada group of companies includes Roins Financial Services Limited, Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada, Quebec Assurance Company, Johnson Inc., Unifund Assurance Company, Western Assurance Company, Ascentus Insurance Ltd., Canadian Northern Shield Insurance Company and RSA Travel Insurance Inc. (collectively, “RSA Canada”) and is part of a group of companies headed by RSA Insurance Group Plc. RSA Canada employs more than 3,000 people across Canada and is one of the oldest insurance companies in the country with roots dating back to 1833.

©2016 Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada. All rights reserved. RSA, RSA & Design and related words and logos are trademarks and the property of RSA Insurance Group plc, licensed for use by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada. RSA is a trade name of Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada.

Toronto Police Service Public Service Data Portal

According to a survey of 1,560 Canadians conducted between December 15 and 22, 2017 by Maru/Matchbox, with a margin of error of +/- 2.6%, 19 times out of 20

SOURCE RSA Canada

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