Ontario budget 2024: Certain mandatory auto insurance requirements to be reduced

The Ford government has tabled the most expensive budget in Ontario's history, with a $214 billion spending package and a ballooning deficit. But as Tina Yazdani reports, critics say the budget fails to make significant investments in key sectors.

Billed in the 2024 Ontario budget as a way to keep costs down for drivers, the Ford government has moved to make certain required, provincial provisions of automobile insurance optional.

Officials said while collision coverage related to medical, rehabilitation and attendant care benefits would remain mandatory, all other benefits would become optional.

They said in instances where drivers, for example, might have access to workplace benefits so there could be an opportunity to not pay twice.

The legislation bringing in the change would also require health and rehabilitation benefits to be paid for by automobile insurance companies first before extended health care plans. This would apply to every type of collision and related injury. The change was billed as a way to “help reduce paperwork and red tape.”

Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy said it supports “convenience and choice.”

“This is something we are committed to because we want insurance to be affordable for many,” he said.

Ontario NDP leader Marit Stiles criticized the move and said similar initiatives haven’t helped.

“This is going to force Ontarians who are looking for more affordable options frankly to take on additional risk that they shouldn’t be forced to take on,” she said, referring to concerns raised by the party’s caucus.

Ontario Liberal Party leader Bonnie Crombie said more about what’s being proposed needs to be understood, adding that all drivers need to be protected. She said more needs to be done in communities like Brampton that are facing exorbitant rates.

It’s not yet clear when the changes could take effect.

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