NDP motion calls for Ontario truck insurance relief

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Ontario NDP MPP Guy Bourgouin (Mushkegowuk-James Bay) has officially introduced a motion calling on the provincial government to tackle rising insurance costs faced by owner-operators.

“Today is a victory for all the truckers in northern Ontario and across the province who are facing crippling costs in their industry. The passing of this motion in the legislature is an acknowledgement that action is needed to deal with the astronomical insurance costs facing truckers, and the driver shortage in this province,” he said in a related statement.

Guy Bourgouin, MPP for Mushkegowuk – James Bay. (File photo)

The motion calls on the government to review underwriting rules and risk classifications that “gravely affect” owner-operators, re-evaluate truck driver training standards and costs, and require fleets to provide drivers a letter of experience on request.

Insurers use the letters of experience when determining premiums. Ontario was also the first province to require mandatory entry-level training standards before Class A/Z licensing tests.

“We’re looking at insurance gouging,” Bourgouin said during an online press conference earlier in the day. “How does a small business survive? The owner-operator survive?”

He referred to an owner-operator who had to park a truck because a new driver’s work history couldn’t be confirmed to the satisfaction of insurers.

Rising costs, missing drivers

Debbie Paquin of Laflamme Trucking in Hearst, Ontario, said during the press conference that her business saw insurance costs increase from $2,800 to $6,500 in 2018, without reason. “No fines, no nothing,” she said.

While they now need to pay $15,000 for Facility Association insurance to cover her son, who paid $10,000 for a six-week training course to earn a licence, Paquin earned her own licence in a single day in 1996.

“We’re missing truck drivers but we can’t insure them,” she said.

Angela Price, an experienced roll-off and heavy-haul truck driver from Kawartha Lakes, said she has been unable to find work because she can’t get a required letter of experience from a previous insurer.

“I’ve had five companies come to me to ask me to work, and I can’t get insured with their policy,” she said.

“I can’t do anything. It seems inconceivable to me that I’m qualified but unemployed for a year.”

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John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking, trucknews.com, TruckTech, Transport Routier, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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  • We need minimum gov insurance for all fleets of under 25 units be wheelchair accessible vans, taxi , bus or truck. Take one cent per liter of the carbon tax to assist in insurance fund to insure new drivers for the first 3 years for fleets that agree to pay truck drivers that have 5000 hours experience for O T R drivers at $28.50 plus medical care and local new truck drivers of local new truck drivers of $20 per hour once 5000 hours experience a rate of $24.00 per hour for local truck drivers and the shortage in Ontario of truck drivers would be gone in 6 months. Large private insurance companies delay claims making many people homeless and with Ford cute not get proper food and medical care that are former truck drivers.

  • Don’t mix this up. Insurance rates are through the roof due to the poorly trained and inexperienced people that are now driving trucks. Driver shortage has nothing to do with this. Seems you guys can’t write an article without dropping that line in there.