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business briefing

Briefing highlights

  • Ontario to review rates
  • Markets at a glance
  • Aphria confirms departures
  • GM raises earnings estimates
  • U.S. inflation dips to 1.9 per cent
  • From today’s Globe and Mail

Ontario reviewing rates

The Ontario government has launched a review of auto insurance rates.

And it wants to hear from you, a move certain to draw a flood of responses given the hot-button nature of the issue.

Under the catchy catch phrase of “Putting Drivers First,” the Conservative government said its Ministry of Finance and Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario will also review the rate regulation system.

This review will look at how other jurisdictions handle the issues and, at the same time, “identify opportunities to achieve greater efficiencies and introduce more competition in the system,” the ministry said.

There are almost 10 million drivers in the province whose rates are regulated.

“Auto insurance rates in Ontario are among the highest in the country, and action is needed,” Finance Minister Vic Fedeli said this week as he launched the review.

And, of course, he couldn’t resist a shot at the fallen Liberal government that he helped to oust, saying its “failed system of stretch goals on auto insurance is clearly broken.”

The government said it’s also working with MPP Parm Gill on proposed rules that would “eliminate the unfair practice of discriminating against drivers simply based on where they live,” and modernize the system to make it more e-based.

It wants to hear from drivers, consumers and the industry.

You can have your say here, and you’ve got until mid-February to answer the survey questions. Example: “I feel confident that if I am injured in a car accident, I will receive my benefits from the insurance company in a timely manner.” Agree, disagree, etc.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada, the group representing the property and casualty industry, said it welcomed the move.

“We have been calling for changes to how auto insurance is regulated for years,” said Kim Donaldson, its vice-president for Ontario.

“The province’s auto insurance system is outdated and Ontario drivers pay too much for their insurance. We believe there is a better approach.”

Barclays analyst John Aiken cited the fact that a report commissioned by the previous Liberal government of Kathleen Wynne found Ontario had “the costliest auto insurance premiums in the country [in 2016], even while the province also boasted some of the lowest numbers of accidents and fatalities.”

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Markets at a glance

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Aphria confirms departures

Aphria Inc. confirmed today that two key executives will step away from the Canadian cannabis grower in the coming months.

Chief executive officer Vic Neufeld and co-founder Cole Cacciavillani, both in their sixties, will step down from their roles as hand over the reins to chair Irwin Simon and president Jakob Ripshtein, the Leamington, Ont.-based company said in a statement. Mr. Neufeld and Mr. Cacciavillani will serve as special advisers until a new CEO is appointed.

Their departures were first reported Thursday night by The Globe and Mail’s Marina Strauss and Christina Pellegrini, and come weeks after Aphria was targeted by two short-sellers for one of its recent transactions.

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