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Alberta

Auto Insurance affordability: Province says long term solutions may include public insurance offering

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Good drivers to benefit from auto insurance changes

New reforms will address the pressing issue of automobile insurance rates in the province as the government explores longer-term solutions.

Alberta’s government is exploring every possible avenue to provide relief to Albertans. Albertans with good driving records would experience price protection, ensuring their insurance rates do not increase higher than inflation. The proposed reforms would start Jan. 1, 2024.

“We know that Albertans have been struggling with their auto insurance rates and that’s why we’ve been working hard to find solutions. I’m pleased that we can work to bring forward these new measures to help. With inflation and the affordability crisis making life more expensive for Albertans, we will continue working to ensure that the measures we take are not only affordable but also sustainable in the long run.”

Danielle Smith, Premier

Alberta’s government will be taking further action to amend regulations, ensuring that insurers must offer payment plan options so Albertans would not have to pay the full amount for their coverage upfront. These changes would ensure the auto insurance industry can continue to cover claims costs and protect Alberta drivers while providing more relief to Albertans.

Additionally, changes would grant Alberta’s Automobile Insurance Rate Board (AIRB) the authority to direct auto insurers to return premiums to Albertans in years when insurance industry profits are significantly higher. AIRB could also request a rate filing from an insurer at any time to review and possibly lower auto insurance rates if needed.

“We understand the struggles many Albertans are facing, and we are working to ensure Albertans can afford the coverage they need. Achieving affordable auto insurance is a major commitment for our government and this is only the first step in delivering on that promise. We value the sustainability of the insurance industry and call for increased collaboration from insurers as we continue the work to address these issues.”

Nate Horner, President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance

“Affordability continues to be a major concern for Albertans when the cost on every day essentials rises and makes it tough to make ends meet. That’s why we continue to build on our existing affordability measures to help stabilize costs. This auto insurance reform will help do this in the short term.”

Nathan Neudorf, Minister of Affordability and Utilities

Alberta’s government is closely examining more long-term solutions to make Alberta’s auto insurance industry affordable and sustainable.

The current rate pause will remain in effect to ease the burden on Alberta drivers until the end of 2023. Proposed reforms for 2024 would not impose a dynamic price ceiling on the rate increases insurers can request but would help control how they are distributed among customers, particularly those with good driving records. Any rate increases in 2024 will be carefully monitored to ensure they are reasonable and justifiable. Albertans should continue to shop around to find the best insurance coverage for them.

“As the consumer representative on the Automobile Insurance Rate Board, I ensure that Alberta drivers are considered in all board decisions, including changes to insurer rating programs. I believe protecting good drivers from unexpected rate increases is a win for Alberta consumers. During a time of affordability challenges, this action will provide price stability and predictability for Alberta families.”

Stephane Lemieux, consumer representative, Alberta Automobile Insurance Rate Board

The government has commissioned an in-depth analysis by an external consultant concerning longer-term reforms. A draft report is expected by the end of 2023, with the final report slated for the first quarter of 2024. The results of this analysis will inform the government’s long-term reforms.

Quick facts

  • The description of a driver with a good record is adapted from the AIRBs guidance for the grid rating program. This includes anyone without the following:
  • one or more at-fault accidents in the last six years
  • any Criminal Code traffic convictions in the last four years
  • any major traffic convictions in the last three years
  • more than one minor traffic conviction in the last three years
  • In Alberta’s competitive marketplace, Albertans can sometimes get better rates by shopping around and exploring their options.
    • Albertans should continue to work with their insurance companies or brokers to get the best rates.
    • Alberta drivers can get discounts of up to 20 per cent for bundling their home and property insurance, in addition to discounts for good driving behavior.

Related information

At 17:00 of the video here, A reporter’s question about a potential public insurance offering in Alberta is confirmed.

This is a news release from the Government of Alberta.

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Alberta

Indigenous-owned LNG projects in jeopardy with proposed emissions cap, leaders warn

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Indigenous leaders meet with Japan’s ambassador to Canada Kanji Yamanouchi. Photo courtesy Energy for a Secure Future

From the Canadian Energy Centre

By Cody Ciona

‘It’s like we’re finally at the table and we’re having to fight to keep our seat at the table’

A proposed cap on oil and gas emissions will threaten opportunities for Indigenous communities to bring cleaner alternatives to coal to international markets, Indigenous leaders warned during a recent webinar. 

Karen Ogen, CEO of the First Nations LNG Alliance, fears Indigenous-led projects like Cedar LNG and Ksi Lisims LNG are threatened by the cap, which is essentially a cap on production. 

“If we’re going to help China and India get off of coal and help reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, it makes common sense for us to be selling our LNG to Asia and to other countries. To put a cap on, it would just stop us from doing that,” Ogen said. 

“It’s like we’re finally at the table and we’re having to fight to keep our seat at the table.” 

Indigenous communities across Canada have increasingly become involved in oil and gas projects to secure economic prosperity and reduce on-reserve poverty. 

Since 2022, more than 75 First Nations and Metis communities have entered ownership agreements across western Canada. Among those are key projects like the Coastal GasLink pipeline and the joint investment of 23 communities to obtain a 12 per cent ownership stake in several oil sands pipelines. 

The planned federal emissions cap will stall progress toward economic reconciliation, Ogen said. 

“Our leaders did not accept this and fought hard to have rights and titles recognized,” she said. 

“These rights were won through persistence and determination. It’s been a long journey, but we are finally at the table with more control over our destiny.” 

Chris Sankey, CEO of Blackfish Enterprises and a former elected councillor for the Lax Kw’alaams Band in B.C., said the proposed emissions cap could stifle Indigenous communities pushing for poverty reduction. 

“We’re working hard to try to get our people out of poverty. All [the emissions cap is] doing is pushing them further into debt and further into poverty,” he said. 

“When oil and gas is doing well, our people do well.” 

Together, the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion, LNG Canada project and Coastal GasLink pipeline have spent more than $10 billion in contracts with Indigenous and local businesses

Indigenous employment in the oil and gas industry has also increased by more than 20 per cent since 2014. 

For Stephen Buffalo, CEO of the Indian Resource Council, an emissions cap feels like a step in the wrong direction after years of action to become true economic partners is finally making headway. 

“Being a participant in the natural resource sector and making true partnerships, has been beneficial for First Nations,” he said. 

“So, when you see a government trying to attack this industry in that regard, it is very disheartening.” 

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Alberta

Taxpayers Federation hoping for personal tax relief in Alberta budget

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From the Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Albertans need income tax relief now

Author: Kris Sims 

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling on the Alberta government to stick to its promise of cutting its income tax in tomorrow’s provincial budget.

“Cutting the provincial income tax was a huge campaign promise from the UCP and it needs to happen right away,” said Kris Sims, CTF Alberta Director. “Finance Minister Nate Horner should announce this income tax cut in the budget tomorrow.”

The provincial budget will be presented Feb. 29.

During the 2023, election the UCP promised to create a lower income tax bracket for the first $59,000 of earnings, charging eight per cent instead of the current 10 per cent.

The UCP said that move would save Albertans earning $60,000 or more about $760 per year.

The Alberta government currently charges workers who make under $142,292 per year a 10 per cent income tax rate.

By comparison, British Columbia charges an income tax of five per cent on the first $45,654 of earnings and seven per cent up to $91,310.

In B.C., a worker earning $100,000 pays about $5,857 in provincial income tax.

In Alberta that same worker pays about $7,424 in provincial income tax.

“Taxpayers need to see a balanced budget, spending restraint and our promised lower income taxes in this budget,” said Sims.

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