07/15/2015 16:34 EDT | Updated 07/15/2016 01:12 EDT

Ontario won't meet goal of 15% cut in auto insurance premiums by August

TORONTO — Auto insurance premiums in Ontario rose slightly in the second quarter of this year, despite the Liberal government's pledge to lower rates an average of 15 per cent by next month.

The Financial Services Commission of Ontario, which regulates the province's insurance sector, says rates for 26 companies representing 52 per cent of the market increased an average of 0.6 per cent in the second quarter.

The government announced in April that premiums were down an average of seven per cent since the summer of 2013, after decreasing 0.95 per cent in the first quarter of this year.

The New Democrats demanded the Liberals promise the 15 per cent auto insurance rate cut in exchange for supporting the 2013 provincial budget, avoiding the defeat of the then-minority government.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada admits auto premiums in Ontario are 45 per cent higher than Alberta's and about twice as high as those in the Maritime provinces.

Finance Minister Charles Sousa took steps in this year's budget to reduce insurance rates for some drivers by telling companies to offer an unspecified discount to those who use winter tires.

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The Canadian Press