Advertisement

Alberta freezes auto insurance rates for the rest of 2023

Alberta is implementing a freeze on auto insurance rates for the rest of 2023.  (Lars Hagberg/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Alberta is implementing a freeze on auto insurance rates for the rest of 2023. (Lars Hagberg/The Canadian Press - image credit)

The Alberta government will not approve auto insurance rate increases for the remainder of 2023.

Finance Minster Travis Toews and Affordability and Utilities Minister Matt Jones said in a news release Thursday the province will also look at short- and longer-term measures to get insurance rates in check.

Some rate increases will still go ahead if they were previously approved or if a driver incurs an at-fault claim or a ticket. Drivers can also see increases if they move to another address or insure a different vehicle.

The move comes several years after the UCP government decided not to renew the five per cent rate cap implemented by the previous NDP government.

These caveats prompted NDP finance critic Shannon Phillips to call the announcement a "fake freeze."

"The UCP lifted the rate cap brought in by our Alberta NDP government and insurance premiums skyrocketed," she said in a news release.

"Auto insurance rates went up as much as 30 per cent during the pandemic — a time when Albertans were driving and working less — and the UCP did nothing. "

The pause on insurance increases reverses what Toews and the UCP government has insisted for years — that rate caps don't work and only put a Band-aid on deeper problems.

Toews told reporters at the Alberta legislature Thursday that a temporary freeze isn't the same as a cap.

In December 2019, the government announced the creation of a committee to look at the root causes of the increases.

The report was made public in October 2020. It recommended the province abandon its tort system of insurance and move to a private, no-fault model.

While the government took action on several smaller, short-term measures, Toews said the government would study the more transformative recommendations.