Ontario motorists weary of high auto insurance rates can expect relief in the provincial budget later this month.
Finance Minister Charles Sousa says that’s “essential” and has committed to addressing it “in one way or another.”
“I am looking at the auto insurance issue and I will be making a decision as to how I will be introducing it. It is essential that we take the steps necessary to reduce those premiums,” Sousa told reporters at Queen’s Park Friday.
But whether it will be the 15 per cent cut to premiums the New Democrats have demanded of the minority Liberal government remains to be seen.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath has made it clear that if a cut is not there in some shape or form, she will vote against the budget along with the Tories and trigger a spring election.
“The budget needs to contain some real concrete relief on auto insurance premiums. Not conversation. Not vague plans. Real reductions. The government brought in changes that have saved industry $2 billion a year. It’s time to pass those savings to drivers,” Horwath told the Star.
“The NDP has brought forward certain initiatives that they would like us to address and I have committed to do that,” said Sousa, who has yet to announce a date for his 2013-15 budget.
Sousa said he has heard from the auto insurance industry during his budget deliberations, adding that it, too, acknowledges that premiums are excessive compared to other provinces.
There are still some unknowns in the picture, including whether the cuts would be implemented in one round or over several years and when the budget will actually come down. It was expected some time in mid-April, but Sousa says public consultations will continue through next week.
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