It’s been a battle of the bills. Last month Milton MPP Parm Gill tabled a bill to end postal code discrimination, which is one of the main causes of higher insurance premiums in places like Brampton as compared to other Ontario cities.
At the same time, the NDP also tabled a similar bill they’d had in the works for months. Since being elected Gurratan Singh, MPP for Brampton East, has been especially vocal on the issue of postal code discrimination. It’s was a cause championed by his brother, Jagmeet Singh, who is now the leader of the Federal NDP and is the former MPP for the now-dismantled riding of Bramalea—Malton—Gore.
On October 16, Gill presented Bill 42 at Queen’s Park, which would effectively require all insurance companies to offer fair premiums to drivers, no matter where they live.
Gurratan Singh presented a similar bill — Bill 44 — and Singh says his bill can deliver, while Gill’s Bill 42 will fall short of delivering the results Bramptonians want.
According to lawyers with auto insurance expertise, Singh’s bill would protect safe drivers across the board, while the PC bill offers vague language that could provide loopholes for insurance companies.
In an open letter to Doug Ford the lawyers stated that Singh’s bill would protect safe drivers everywhere, no matter where they live and that “it is specific that GTA drivers will not be rated differently based on where they live and a safe driver in Brampton will be treated the same as a safe driver from Lawrence and Yonge.”
They went on to say, “simply put, Bill 42 has vague language which creates a loophole that insurance companies can exploit. Lawyers know that insurance companies will take advantage of every loophole, no matter how minor it appears. It means that at the most basic level Bill 42 won’t stop so-called postal code discrimination. Bill 44 will.”
The PCs maintain their bill would be able to achieve the desired results. In a statement, PC MPP in Brampton South Prabmeet Sarkaria said, “MPP Gill’s bill, if passed, would put an end to postal code discrimination. This is the promise we made to Ontario.”
Sarkaria added, “A good driver in Brampton should pay the same rates as a good driver in Caledon. This is the fundamental principle that underlines MPP Gill’s bill.”
He also said Singh’s bill “fails to address the cause of rate discrimination,” and that it would force insurance companies to consider the GTA a single geographic area, which could mean higher premiums across the board for GTA drivers.
Compared to 2017, insurance premiums in Ontario have risen as high as 12 per cent and show no signs of going down. Neither bill has been passed yet, but given that the PCs hold the majority it’s likely that Bill 42 will pass rather than Singh’s proposed Bill 44.
Here’s hoping that whichever bill passes, it delivers the much-desired break in rates Bramptonians and others across the province have been looking forward to.