Ontario lawmakers say the provincial government is on track to drive down auto insurance rates by 15 per cent by August 2015, and they will introduce a number of measures to cut down on fraud to help meet that target.

Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa says Ontario's minority Liberal government will introduce legislation Tuesday, aimed at:

  • Reducing the wait time when an auto insurance claim is in dispute
  • Reducing costs when a vehicle has been towed and is in storage
  • Providing stricter oversight to health clinics to ensure they are not double-billing and taking advantage of collision victims

"These actions…will protect consumers against fraud. These actions will reduce cost in the system and these actions will reduce rates for Ontario drivers," Sousa told reporters Tuesday morning.

The province's insurance regulator, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario, has already approved premium cuts for this quarter, averaging 3.9 per cent. Since last August, the government said rates have decreased a total average of 4.66 per cent.

"Our efforts are working," Sousa said. "In the first six months, rates have decreased by almost five per cent and we're on track to achieve a 15 per cent reduction within those two years."

But some critics, including the Ontario NDP, have accused the Liberals of moving too slowly on that promise.

"The Liberal government is telling drivers to wait before they see a reduction when we know that they move so quickly to reduce the costs and increase the profits of insurance companies," NDP consumer critic Jagmeet Singh told The Canadian Press in January.

On Tuesday, Sousa responded to the criticism, saying rates cannot "magically fall."

"To reduce rates in realistic, practical and lasting way, we must look at the entire picture, the big picture."

With files from The Canadian Press