QUEEN’S PARK – Small trucking and tourism businesses that are struggling to stay afloat in Northern Ontario are being weighed down by brutal insurance costs and the Ford government must take action now, said NDP MPP Michael Mantha (Algoma-Manitoulin) during question period Thursday.
“Insurance premiums are killing businesses left and right in Ontario,” said Mantha. “Small trucking businesses in Northern Ontario and across the province are facing brutal insurance costs, a shortage of drivers, and many of them have no choice but to leave the business.”
Mantha told the legislature about a local trucker who lost his business due to impossible insurance costs. He said the Ford government should be supporting an NDP motion calling for a strategy to resolve the business-killing insurance costs, and truck driver shortage in the province.
“John Grégoire from my riding of Algoma-Manitoulin told me that after changing his truck, his insurance went up from $10,000 to $35,000 a year. He had no choice but to go work for a bigger trucking company.” said Mantha.
“Will this government support MPP Guy Bourgouin’s motion for a truck owner-operator strategy to tackle the truck driver shortage, and the increasing truck insurance costs hurting truck owner-operators?”
MPP Bourgouin’s motion will be debated at Queen’s Park next week on April 29.
Mantha said the Ford government has also allowed insurance premiums to hit the tourism industry hard.
“Many businesses are being forced to close and others are struggling to stay open because they have lost their customers because people cannot travel. But regardless of their situation, they still have to pay for liability insurance,” said Mantha. “Many of them have lost 90 per cent of their clientele and revenues, but costly insurance expenses just keep adding to their increasing debt every month.
“Will this government help struggling tourism-based businesses with their insurance liability payments and their increasing debt, or will it simply continue to let the industry suffer?”