Bill 15 – New Auto Insurance Legislation

Bill 15, introduced in the Ontario Legislature on July 15, 2014, is a combination of two earlier bills which died with the spring election call. You can read Bill 15 in its entirely on the Legislative Assembly of Ontario website.

It is divided into 5 areas, being amendments to the Consumer Protection Act, the Highway Traffic Act, the Insurance Act, the Repair and Storage Liens Act and the Financial Services Commissions Act.

Key points are:

  • the right to sue for disputed Statutory Accident Benefit Schedule claims will be eliminated
  • both insured persons and insurers have the right to apply to the Licence Appeal Tribunal to resolve disputes
  • much will still be left for regulations to be drafted at a later date, including transitional rules and opting out rules for the arbitral process
  • there are provisions to “grandfather” the existing Financial Services Commission of Ontario mediators and arbitrators as it relates to pending disputes, even once Financial Services Commission of Ontario is disbanded

Bill 15 was introduced at the same time as auto premium rate announcements were made and the news wasn’t good for the Liberals who had promised an 8% reduction in auto insurance premiums by August of 2014. Premiums are only down 5.44% since the government promised the 15% reduction. One insurer, Security National, was just approved for a rate hike of 4%…not the direction the government wants to see.

With the Liberal’s now enjoying a majority, extreme pressure to fulfill the promise of a 15% rate reduction by August of next year, and much of this having been previewed and debated a few months ago, don’t look for a lot of debate on this legislation. This bill will likely be fast tracked, without public hearings. It is possible this bill will be pushed through by Labour Day, depending on how long the legislature sits this summer.

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