Ontario considers highway signs promoting safe texting zones for drivers

Ontario is considering the idea of putting signs on highways to alert drivers about upcoming areas where they can safely pull over to text or check their emails.

All three parties voted in favour on second reading of a private member’s bill from Progressive Conservative Vic Fedeli to create so-called safe texting zones.

Fedeli says signs on highways would inform drivers of about 185 existing areas such as commuter parking lots, transit stations and rest stops where they can safely pull off to use their smart phones or tablets.

He got the idea while driving through Pennsylvania and New York, and saw signs in both states promoting safe texting zones, and says it would not require any new infrastructure.

Fedeli says increased fines are not enough to curb distracted driving habits, and believes safe texting zones will save lives and help educate motorists about the dangers of texting behind the wheel.

The Ontario Provincial Police reported in March that distracted driving was the cause of more deaths on provincial highways than any other factor for the third consecutive year, contributing to 69 deaths in 2015.

Fedeli says he’s had widespread support from police, insurance companies, the Canadian Automobile Association and the Ontario Safety League for his Safe Texting Zones Act.

“It sends a clear message to distracted drivers that there is no longer any excuse to endanger themselves and those they share the road with,” said Fedeli.  “Their text can wait until the next texting zone.”

Ontario stiffened penalties for distracted driving last fall, with a set fine of $490 that a judge could increase to $1,000, plus three demerit points on conviction.

Safe texting zone signs will be especially important in helping educate younger drivers about the dangers of distracted driving, added Fedeli.

“Texting is so popular with young people who are new drivers as well, and this has surpassed drunk driving (as a cause of accidents) and has become so very, very serious that it needs that extra little nudge, that extra reminder that says: ‘It can wait,”’ he said.

New Democrat transport critic Wayne Gates told the legislature that it’s not just the younger drivers who text.

“Older people, seniors are doing it, and young people are doing it, and it’s putting people at risk,” said Gates.

Private member’s bills rarely become law in Ontario, but Fedeli is confident his will either be passed or be adopted by the Liberal government after members from all sides of the legislature spoke in favour of it.

“It really is a bill that I expect will come into law in Ontario one day,” he said.


ICBC calls on drivers and motorcycle riders to share the road

ICBC calls on drivers and motorcycle riders to share the road

While motorcycles only make up only about three per cent of insured vehicles in B.C., they’re involved in almost one-in-10 road fatalities. With motorcycle awareness month underway, ICBC is calling on drivers to share the road with motorcycles now and throughout summer.

Crashes involving motorcycles peak at this time of year. In May and June, approximately four riders are injured in B.C. every day. In July and August, that number rises to six riders injured every day.*

“This year the warmer weather arrived early so all drivers need to already be thinking about sharing the road responsibly to reduce crashes involving vulnerable road users like motorcyclists,” said Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “Most car crashes involving motorcycles happen in intersections. Drivers need to always look out for motorcyclists ― especially when turning left. And riders should never assume a driver has seen them.”

“Motorcycles are inherently smaller and riders aren’t protected by a frame, seatbelts, airbag and bumpers,” said Mark Blucher, ICBC’s president and CEO. “As a result, motorcycle crashes also tend to lead to more severe injury claims compared to those involving vehicle drivers.”

ICBC’s message for riders is to wear all the gear, all the time. The right motorcycle riding gear, including a helmet that meets approved safety standards, is the best protection against severe injuries in a crash. Check out the Gear it or Shear it videos on icbc.com to see a graphic illustration of the difference between wearing riding gear and street clothes.

“Too often police officers see the devastating results of motorcycle crashes,” said Superintendent Derek Cooke, Vice-Chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee. “We’re asking motorcycle riders and their passengers to be visible, dress appropriately, pay attention and focus on driving because we don’t want you to be a statistic. And to other drivers, please be alert to motorcycles – give them their space and remember that there are no minor incidents involving motorcycles.”

Tips for drivers:

  • Always scan intersections and look carefully for motorcycles.
  • When turning left — look for oncoming motorcycles. Motorcycles can be hard to see, especially at night, at dusk, in bad weather or in heavy traffic. The safest choice is to yield the right of way to an oncoming rider as it can be hard to tell how fast they’re travelling.
  • Make eye contact — whenever possible, let motorcyclists know that you’ve seen them.
  • Don’t assume that a rider in the left part of the lane is planning to turn left. Some riders do this to be more visible.
  • Watch the rider for clues — sometimes a motorcycle’s turn signals are hard to see. If the rider shoulder checks or the motorcycle leans, the rider is probably planning to change lanes, adjust lane position or turn.

Tips for riders:

  • All the gear, all the time ― Choose a jacket and pants made for motorcycle riding; sturdy gloves that cover your wrists and protect your knuckles; and boots that protect your ankles. Street clothes offer little or no protection from the weather or in a crash.
  • Wear bright or reflective clothing that comes with ventilation to help prevent over-heating. Use a safety vest or clothing that features fluorescent material or reflective striping to help make you more visible, day and night.
  • Passengers should also wear motorcycle gear for the best protection.
  • According to the law in B.C., you must wear a motorcycle helmet that meets DOT, Snell or ECE standards. Be sure it displays the proper label and meets safety-helmet labelling requirements.
  • When approaching an intersection, adjust your lane position and reduce your speed so you’ll have time to stop if you need to.

Get more driver and rider tips on icbc.com.

*All statistics are based on a five-year average using 2009 to 2013 police (fatality) and ICBC data. Includes low-speed motorcycles (scooters and mopeds).

Media contact:
Sam Corea


As car insurance costs drop, benefits being cut

As of June 1, a new car insurance policy in Ontario will provide less coverage as a result of an accident. It you want more, you’ll have to pay.


Car insurance premiums have come down in Ontario this year, but less welcome is that you’re going to have less coverage in a standard policy if you get into an accident.

It’s the tradeoff of the Ontario Liberal’s have made as part of their unfulfilled promise to push auto insurance rates down. Yes, rates are slowly coming down, but to pay for it, insurers are being allowed to reduce the amount they pay you for accident benefits.

It’s another piece of the Liberal pledge made two years ago when they were a minority government and picked up as a campaign promise in the election that gave them a majority. They said they would reduce the cost of insuring a car in Ontario by 15 per cent by August, 2015.

We’re still waiting. Nine months after that deadline has passed we’re two-thirds of the way there at the 10 per cent mark.

The Liberals get credit for legislation in the past two years that may help eventually reach the goal. They’ve cracked down on insurance fraud and accelerated the process to settle disputed accident claims. There is more oversight of clinics that offer rehab services.

The latest push takes effect on June 1 and affects any policy renewed thereafter. It reduces the maximum benefit insurers must pay for accidents, including medical treatments, rehab services and attendant care. Insurers have long argued that Ontario’s payment schedule is the most generous in Canada and contributes to our higher insurance costs.

How high are our car insurance costs? The average GTA driver pays $2,203 a year to insure a car, according to the latest figures from the Insurance Bureau of Canada. The average in the Maritimes is $773 and in Quebec $693.

The June 1 changes mean your insurer is on the hook for less in accident benefits so policy costs can drop a bit. If you want to keep the current coverage, you can do so by paying for optional coverage.


Ontario Automobile Insurance Reforms 2016

Ontario Automobile Insurance Reforms 2016

A new standard Ontario automobile insurance policy will come into effect on June 1, 2016.

The new standard includes reductions in coverage particularly as they relate to the Statutory Accident Benefits (SAB) from the current auto policy.

This information is intended to assist brokers in the development and implementation of a plan for communicating with their clients about the Ontario Automobile Reforms. Further, it is designed to provide guidance on receiving and documenting client instructions relating to auto coverage in light of these reforms. Your clients are entitled to your advice on their options under the new standard auto policy. The presence of a clear and consistent approach toward communication and documentation will enable a broker to demonstrate if asked; that meaningful steps were taken to service their clients in a conscientious and
diligent manner.

ILScorp will have a brand new course on the Ontario Automobile Insurance Reforms 2016 available soon.

Highlights Summary

  1. A new standard automobile insurance policy will come into effect on June 1, 2016.
  2. The new standard includes reductions in coverage particularly as they relate to the Statutory Accident Benefits (SAB) from the current auto policy.
  3.  Brokers are specifically encouraged to make all reasonable efforts to advise their clients of these changes.
  4. As policies renew after June 1st, brokers should be prepared to review with their customers how the changes will impact them.
  5. Brokers should ensure client files accurately reflect discussions and instructions received.


As part of the Provincial budget announced on April 23, 2015, the Ontario Government has issued some automobile insurance reforms that will become effective on June 1, 2016. Of particular interest to brokers are a new Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule – Effective June 1, 2016 (“new SABS”). There are a number of other changes to related Regulations which will also be summarized in this document. This best practices document will focus primarily on the impact of the SABS reforms.


The new standard Ontario automobile policy, to be effective June 1, 2016, includes several significant changes from the current standard policy including provisions that will result in lower coverage for clients.


A Summary Chart of the most significant new policy changes that take effect on June 1, 2016, including the current policy provisions as well as consumer choices under the new policy, are set out below:

Most Significant Changes

On June 1, 2016, if a consumer is buying a new policy or renewing an existing one, brokers should be aware of the most significant changes to auto insurance:

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 11.09.58 AM

Some important things to remember about these choices:

Medical, Rehabilitation and Attendant Care benefits for minor injuries are fixed at a maximum limit of $3,500.

If clients purchase both the additional Medical, Rehabilitation and Attendant Care benefit for catastrophic injuries and for all injuries, the total eligible benefit amount for a catastrophic impairment would be $3,000,000.

Other Optional Benefits

There are many other options available to purchase additional or increased benefits and coverages. The following chart lists some but not all of those and indicates if those options will change on June 1, 2016. Clients can also choose not to increase any benefit or coverage. Brokers should let clients know if they had previously purchased any optional benefits. A further review of documents is required as they may have changed.

Ontario Automobile Other Optional Benefits

NOTE: This information is a sample summary and should not be relied upon to be exhaustive. For complete information follow this link:


ILScorp will have a brand new course on the Ontario Automobile Insurance Reforms 2016 available soon.

Aviva Canada has developed an insurance solution for Quebec ride-sharing drivers


Responding to the growing trend of ride-sharing services and the need to protect both passengers and drivers, Aviva Canada – one of the country’s leading providers of home, automobile, leisure/lifestyle and business insurance – is pleased to have developed an affordable and convenient insurance product that would bridge the insurance gap in Quebec, if the government decides to allow ride-sharing programs. Unlike carpooling, ride-sharing drivers and passengers are not covered by their personal automobile insurance policy in case of a claim.

Earlier this year, Aviva Canada made ride-sharing insurance coverage available in the province of Ontario and filed for regulatory approval in Alberta.

“We have developed a simple and affordable product designed for Quebec drivers and passengers that will give them absolute peace of mind while ride-sharing, if the government goes ahead with a dual regulation regime and pending regulatory approval,” said Martin-Eric Tremblay, Senior Vice President for Quebec and Atlantic Canada for Aviva Canada. “We’re thrilled to be providing innovative insurance solutions that meet the ever-changing needs of Quebec consumers.”

The coverage is independent of ride-sharing facilitators and is a simple addition to an Aviva-insured personal auto policy. It would become available for Quebec drivers with the required approval of the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF). Ride-sharing drivers (such as those contracted with UberX and the like) will be protected from the moment they initiate looking for passengers through to collecting and dropping off those passengers. Eligibility for coverage will be based on some simple underwriting criteria (e.g., maximum of eight passengers, licensed for a minimum of six years, no other commercial use, etc.).

This coverage will be available for drivers that spend up to 20 hours a week participating in ride-sharing. The cost for the additional coverage will be calculated using factors such as time spent ride-sharing, area driven and driving record.

To be clear, Aviva Canada does not endorse Uber, or any other specific ride-sharing program. Aviva takes no position on the regulatory or public policy questions raised by ride-sharing, which are best left to elected government officials. It is Aviva’s view that regulation needs to work for consumers and respect the need to evolve in their best interests as innovation brings the need for new products.  As an industry leader, Aviva Canada will continue to proactively address gaps in insurance coverage that potentially leaves ride-sharing drivers and passengers without appropriate protection and benefits in Quebec.

About Aviva Canada
Aviva Canada is one of the leading property and casualty insurance groups in the country providing home, automobile, leisure/lifestyle and business insurance to more than three million customers. A wholly-owned subsidiary of UK-based Aviva plc, the company has more than 3,500 employees, 25 locations across Canada and approximately 1,500 independent broker partners.

Aviva Canada invests in positive change through the Aviva Community Fund, Canada’s longest running online community funding competition. Since its inception in 2009, the Aviva Community Fund has awarded $6.5 million to over 222 charities and community groups nationwide.

For more information visit AvivaCanada.com

SOURCE Aviva Canada Inc.

Canadians more satisfied with car insurance, but pricing still a problem

Canadians more satisfied with car insurance, but pricing still a problem

Excerpted article was written by DARREN MCGEE | The Globe and Mail

Auto insurance is a sore spot for many Canadians. Many believe they are paying too much for premiums while receiving too little in return.

However, those perceptions are changing. An annual study released Wednesday indicates customer satisfaction with auto insurance has increased for the first time in five years.

The J.D. Power 2016 Canadian Auto Insurance Satisfaction Study – this is the ninth edition – measures customer satisfaction with Canadian auto insurers, factoring in non-claim interaction, price, policy offerings, billing/payment, and claims. Insurers were ranked in four regions: Alberta, Atlantic, Ontario and Quebec. Insurance is government-run in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Improvements were noted in each of the five categories, although pricing remained a problem.

In Ontario, for example, where the Liberal government promised to reduce auto insurance rates by 15 per cent, the survey said the percentage of customers who experienced a rate increase rose to 21 per cent, up from 20 per cent in 2015. However, Ontario saw the most significant improvement in customer satisfaction.

“Rate reductions rarely affect every customer equally, with lower-risk customers, who typically have lower rates to start with, frequently being the first, and sometimes only, customers to see an actual price decrease,” said Valerie Monet, director of the insurance practice at J.D. Power. “Improvements in process and customer service benefit everyone and drive the overall improvements noted in Ontario.”

The study, conducted between Jan. 21 and March 7, is based on replies from almost 11,000 auto insurance policy holders.


Customer satisfaction (based on 1,000-point scale)

  • Overall 758 (+8 over 2015)
  • Quebec, 786 (+3)
  • Atlantic, 768 (+6)
  • Ontario, 753 (+9)
  • Alberta, 743 (+8)

Highest-ranking companies (by province)

  • Alberta: The Co-operators, TD Insurance
  • Atlantic: The Co-operators, Intact
  • Ontario: The Co-operators, State Farm, Intact
  • Quebec: The Personal, Industrial Alliance, Promutel

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