We recently looked at how technology is shaping the auto industry, and ridesharing is a big part of that. Ridesharing is widespread across the U.S., but the rate of its adoption in Canada has varied significantly by province. While some jurisdictions moved quickly to open up the market, others have been more reluctant. One significant issue is how insurance products accommodate car sharing. Here's a snapshot of how the industry is moving and how it may affect car insurance in Toronto, Vancouver and other major centres with significant ridesharing populations.
Ontario has been at the forefront of ridesharing adoption. By making a regulatory change in 2016, the province made it possible for insurance companies to offer appropriate products. As a result of an update to regulations under the Insurance Act, it is now possible for companies to sell commercial fleet insurance that applies to vehicles hired online. After this important legal update, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario approved specific insurance products for ridesharing companies.
Those approvals included an Aviva policy for Lyft and Intact policy for Uber. In addition to these legal changes, the province has provided useful information to drivers and consumers about how Ontario auto insurance applies to their activities, including that drivers need to tell their personal insurer that they also use their vehicle for ridesharing purposes.
Compared to Ontario, ridesharing adoption has been quite slow in British Columbia. In the fall of 2018, the provincial government introduced a law that would allow the industry to enter the B.C. market. It is expected to take until the fall of 2019, however, before the province's monopoly auto insurer, ICBC, will create appropriate products. In response, the Insurance Bureau of Canada issued a press release indicating that private insurance companies were willing and able to fill the gap as they had done in other provinces. Meanwhile, advocacy groups like RidesharingNowForBC are pushing for quicker adoption of transportation alternatives.
Ridesharing services entered the Quebec market with a pilot project run by Uber. Due to pressure from increased regulations, however, Uber was contemplating leaving Quebec in late 2017. The new regulations included mandatory driver training and police-conducted background checks. Uber agreed to follow the new rules and stayed in Quebec, however, and its pilot project was extended for an additional year in 2018. According to the CBC, the government wants more time to study how ridesharing impacts the taxi industry. Taxi drivers have filed a class-action lawsuit against the province, saying their expensive taxi permits have lost value with the introduction of ridesharing.
Driver or Passenger - Check Out Montreal and Toronto Auto Insurance Options
Ridesharing is the latest evolution of Canadian transport options. If you're considering becoming a driver or curious to know more about your BC, Quebec and Ontario auto insurance choices, check out Rates.ca. The site's search-by-postal code tool makes it easy to find car insurance options wherever you live in Canada.