By Staff | June 8, 2006 | Last updated on June 8, 2006
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(June 8, 2006) The C.D. Howe Institute says Canada’s life and health insurance industry has some questions to answer on the issue of banks selling insurance products in branches.

In a recent brief, the institute’s Finn Poschmann said that while the insurers’ argument that consumer choice is better served by maintaining the status quo attracts some sympathy, it’s not so easy to accept the logic.

“Under current legislation, for example, banks may not place pamphlets in branch to advertise affiliates’ insurance products, a seemingly absurd situation,” he writes.

The insurance industry’s arguments are strengthened, however, if the banks’ market power and massive access to data are perceived to be continuing threats to fair treatment for consumers.

Poschmann says the banks must convince Canadians that their data privacy would be properly respected and that they would receive competent advice if they are permitted to market insurance.

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Quebec rejects Crawford panel recommendations

(June 8, 2006) Quebec’s finance minister says he does not support the creation of a single securities regulator, but will continue to champion the passport system.

On Wednesday, the Crawford panel released its final report, calling for the establishment of a Canadian Securities Commission. However, Michel Audet says the model proposed by the panel is “cumbersome and complex,” and at odds with the provinces’ objectives of harmonization.

Still, Audet says he was pleased that Purdy Crawford recommended that Ontario sign on to the passport model, and will make that request at a meeting of ministers responsible for securities regulation to be held in Toronto next week.

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