Quebec to Review Insurance Legislation

par Hubert Roy | April 01 2015 09:35AM

Carlos Leitão

Quebec's insurance industry should expect a thorough overhaul of the many laws that govern it. They will be reviewed over the course of the next year. In its 2015-2016 budget, the provincial government indicated that internet sales will also be included in its revisions to the province's Insurance Act.

Quebec's Minister of Finance Carlos Leitão is promising to review the legislative and regulatory framework of the province's financial sector. The minister indicated that laws governing the financial services regulator, the Autorité des marchés financiers, would be revised in 2015-2016, as would the Act respecting financial services cooperatives and the Act respecting insurance. The minister has also promised to publish implementation reports on the Act respecting the distribution of financial products and services (Bill 188).

Several sources have told, a sister publication of The Insurance and Investment Journal, that the implementation report on Bill 188 was on the minister's desk. He is in the process of determining the best time to make it public.

The legislation governing the AMF will undergo a broader review. It has already been decided that the AMF's Bureau de décision et de révision, an administrative tribunal specializing in financial markets, will become the Tribunal administratif des marchés financiers. The government's purpose in revising this law is to reassess the AMF's mission, as well as its financing structure and governance.

The minister confirmed that a bill will be tabled to redesign the province's Insurance Act. The budget document includes a passage suggesting that the portions dealing with internet sales could be included in the review. "The insurance sector has also had to respond to fast-paced changes in the market and the introduction of new technologies in the last few years," it reads. "The new law on insurers will strengthen the protection of insured persons."

Recently, the Godbout Commission proposed that government harmonize the tax on insurance premiums with the Quebec Sales Tax while retaining the exemption granted to life and health insurance premiums. This measure was not retained in the budget. There is, however, an indication that the Quebec Ministry of Finance is studying the question.

The Quebec government also reiterated its objection to the creation of a single, national securities commission, saying in the budget that the federal government's project "would be damaging for the public investor as well as for Quebec’s business community".