ICBC problems start at the top

"Groups like the Fraser Institute think that the review somehow validates their support for a private auto insurance regime."

Workers at ICBC weren’t surprised by the government review showing more and higher-paid managers at the Corporation while the number and wages of union employees declined. There’s no doubt that’s a problem? It’s part of what we’ve been saying for over two years as we’ve been attempting to bargain for a fair deal.

What is more surprising is that groups like the Fraser Institute think that the review somehow validates their support for a private auto insurance regime.

The one thing they’re right about is that BC drivers are paying too much for car insurance, but privatization isn’t the answer. Executive salaries, insurance fraud, and poor coverage levels are more widespread in the private sector.

Public auto insurance companies also have an incentive to invest a portion of profits in making roads safer for everyone, as ICBC continues to do. Those of us who were around before ICBC was founded in 1972 remember it was brought in for those reasons, which are still valid today.

So where is the real issue? The biggest problem at ICBC, is that the government hasn’t stayed true to ICBC’s break-even mandate. Christy Clark’s government is treating ICBC as their cash cow, raiding over $1.2 billion from the corporation’s coffers even as they ask ICBC workers to continue their wage freeze and B.C. drivers to pay higher insurance premiums.

That money isn’t even going into improving roads or transportation – it’s going into general revenue.

British Columbians need to know savings will be used to reduce rates for drivers and keep the unionized workforce at ICBC from falling further behind. With public insurance we can choose to hold the government accountable to make that happen. In a private system, we’d have no options.

Jeff Gillies

Vice-President, COPE 378

Vancouver