Ontario’s insurance regulatory, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario [“FSCO”], has now approved a policy submitted by the Aviva Insurance Company of Canada to cover ride-hailing drivers – the first of its kind in Canada.
It is important to note this is in no way an approval of ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft, but is a welcome addition to fill a growing gap in insurance coverage on Ontario’s roads.
FSCO does not create Ontario’s laws or by-laws. It regulates insurance. Currently most ride-hailing drivers are very likely not properly insured. While taxi operators are required to carry expensive commercial insurance to reflect their increased time behind the wheel, increased passenger load and higher likelihood of being involved in an accident, many individuals who sign up as drivers with Uber or Lyft do not purchase additional insurance.
Personal insurance policies may not have to respond to claims involving anyone operating a vehicle for a commercial purpose. This puts not only people utilizing ride-hailing services at an unacceptable risk, but everyone on Ontario’s roads who may be involved in accidents with these vehicles as well.
Uber and other ride-hailing services continue to operate in a legal grey area, and that dispute has not been resolved by this new coverage option. However we applaud the availability of new insurance tools being available until lawmakers can figure this out. There is no reason to leave injured people caught in the middle of a regulatory mess without adequate insurance coverage.
This new option does not mean every ride-hailing driver has already called their insurer and added this protection overnight. We recommend that all drivers speak to their insurer to ensure they are properly covered and that all passengers ask their drivers if they are carrying adequate coverage.
Nicholson Gluckstein Lawyers