Our political advocacy initiatives intersect with many of these proposed changes – we recently had the opportunity to present our priorities and positions in a pre-budget submission to the budget committee.
The Government continues working towards establishing the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA), with the goal of it being fully operational by April, 2019. New amendments to the Insurance Act are being introduced which, if passed, would:
- “…provide the FSRA with the authority to make rules requiring insurers to provide claims and repair history information to motor vehicle dealers for disclosure to prospective used vehicle purchasers.”
- “…clarify the use of electronic communication by insurers and consumers, including certain insurance applications, policies and forms.”
We’ve begun building our relationship with the new regulator, recently meeting with several FSRA Board Members, and we’re in frequent dialogue with the Finance Minister’s Office regarding the modernization of insurance regulations to support progressive methods of conducting business.
In late 2017, the Government announced the Fair Auto Insurance Plan. In this budget, as a next step, they announced the investment “…in the development of Pathways Care that will support catastrophically injured persons through the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation (ONF).” The ONF is a partnership with Spinal Cord Injury Ontario, who will be expected to work closely with the insurance industry among others.
Within the budget there are several mentions of how the Government’s supporting both Fin Tech and AI through various government grants and tax incentives. We’re working closely with the Finance Minister’s office discussing these opportunities and how they affect both members and consumers. Interestingly, our discussions often include current industry capabilities versus the direction of innovation in this specific area. We’re also closely collaborating with industry partners to align technology strategies to support the broker value proposition and broker-consumer relationships.
“The IBAO is pleased to see that the government is continuing to work towards modernizing insurance regulation,” IBAO CEO Colin Simpson told Thompson’s Daily.
The budget also clarified some of the Ontario Government’s positions on cannabis legalization, carving out funding for drug-impaired driving prosecutions, as well as initiatives on road safety, and education.
On taxation, the Ontario Government proposes following suit with the federal measure on income sprinkling and passive investment income. They plan on:
- “… extending the tax on split income rules to adult family members who are not active in the business, with certain exceptions, beginning with the 2018 taxation year.”
- “…[phasing] out the federal small business limit…for Canadian controlled private corporations (CCPCs) … that earn between $50,000 and $150,000 of passive investment income in the taxation year.”
There’s an emphasis on championing women’s economic empowerment and trying to close the gender pay gap, which we are in support of. IBAO Chair Traci Boland outlined the progress the broker channel has made recently to Canadian Underwriter, but there is still room for improvement. Some of the Government’s initiatives include:
- “… a pay rate or scale for all publicly advertised job vacancies…”
- “… employers [will be] prohibited from asking job applicants about their prior compensation…”
- “Businesses are encouraged to set a target of appointing 30 percent women to their boards of directors and achieve this target by 2020 to 2022.“
There are many other areas of interest in the budget that you will undoubtedly find of personal interest, including more details on the move to reduce the costs of Hydro for personal and business use and further investment in Health, Child and Senior Care. As changes are proposed and implemented, we’ll continue to advocate for brokers and their customers.