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The Dispatch: November 2021

This month, we cover how Canadians are getting lit up, electric aircrafts, and the perks of buying direct insurance.

by Team Onlia
Welcome back to the Dispatch, Onlia's monthly dive into the intersection of transportation, tech, and everything else you need to know about safety and insurance. This month, we're looking at electrified aviation, camo street racers, and the benefits of buying direct.

Government: Decoded

Your work-from-home life may be coming to a close soon, leaving you to rethink your commuting life. If you're one of the hundreds of thousands of people still trying to get their driver's licence sorted, then Toronto's transit system may be the ticket, says the TTC. They've released a welcome back video to get us all in the mood for…. transit? Whether it's to work, school, or errands, the TTC is open and cheesy as ever.

Ontario has paid its fair share to open up the 427, much to every commuter's delight. The highway extension had remained closed for months, as we recently reported, due to a rumoured failure to pay situation. The 10 km extension opened (for real) in September, helping commuters get that much farther north on a speedy highway, saving them a reported 25 minutes per round trip. Hello, snooze button.

Canada got lit up last month; Transport Canada's Vehicle Lighting Regulation came into effect on September 1, 2021. All new vehicles sold in Canada are required to have increased lights for dark conditions, including tail lights that automatically turn on with daytime running lights, a combination of front, side and rear lights, or a dashboard that stays dark until drivers turn on front and rear lights. The updated standards help eliminate "phantom vehicles" — vehicles driven in the dark without lights. While the updates only apply to new vehicles (including motorcycles and heavy trucks), you can keep roads safe in your current ride by always turning on your lights as the sun sets or when inclement weather rolls in.


If you didn't think electric vehicles would ever truly take off, NASA has another thing coming for you. The U.S. space agency is developing electric propulsion technology for aircraft in partnership with GE Aviation and MagniX. Recognizing the enormous environmental load posed by burning fossil fuels, this $253.4M USD partnership will equip aircraft with electric powertrains, hopefully introducing an electric flight to aviation fleets by 2035. NASA's focus is short-range and regional flights, hoping to balance the necessary weight of batteries with flight distance. Like it or not, electric transportation is here to stay — even Lamborghini working on a battery-powered solution, to the dismay of car aficionados everywhere.

In a bit of confusing news, Tesla has now opened up its Full Self Driving Beta. Any Tesla driver with a high driving score can access the FSD mode, a driver-assistance mode that takes over driving tasks such as lane changes, navigating highways, and rolling in or out of a parking spot. FSD even enables vehicles to drive at a slow speed with no one behind the wheel. We're all for innovation, but Tesla's rollout comes as the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigates the company. The early access beta version hasn't even been fully debugged yet, potentially leading to even more collisions. Despite this, enthusiasts are already testing it out on busy Toronto streets.

In what some are comparing to a reality television show, Ontario's wild west of tow truck regulations is again in the spotlight. Rife with murder, arson, gangs, and threats, members of the tow truck industry are fighting for business on the side of the highway. New rules have come into effect (again) to try and curb the violence, requiring operators to register annually for licensing and comply with limits to minimize preferential treatment.

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Insurance demystified

Technology has a trend of disrupting antiquated industries — and insurance is no exception. With more parts of everyday life moving online, it’s only natural that insurance does, too. People can buy insurance like they buy groceries; hop online, a few clicks, and boom. You’re done. Buying direct isn’t a completely new concept, but change can be scary. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be.

Digital insurance providers like Onlia make it easy to get covered in a matter of minutes. With clearly worded policies and a customer service team there to help when you need it, there’s not much you’re sacrificing when you opt to self serve.

Using financial comparison platforms to find is one way more Canadians are taking their finances into their own hands. By learning about coverages and what they need to be protected for, people can do their own research to find plans and options that best suit their lifestyle. Moreover, the choices are boundless — you can compare prices across as many competitors as you’d like before making a choice, rather than being presented with the best from just a small sample size.

Personal finance guru Lesley-Anne Scorgie talks more about the perks of buying direct and the digitization of insurance on the Safe + Sound Magazine.

Transportation fails

Camouflage probably won't help you if you're opting to race your Mustang down a highway at 187 km/h. The Ontario Provincial Police picked up the optimistic driver after racing another vehicle down Highway 10 near Caledon. One driver fled the scene, and we are really hoping it was the one from the camo Mustang. Now you see them; now you don't… because their licences were suspended and the cars impounded.

Toronto's drivers have a lot to look out for: cyclists, buses, streetcars, pedestrians... And haircuts? In a hyped-up stunt that could only be for TikTok, an 18-year-old Toronto barber gave a haircut in the middle of the Yonge and Dundas intersection. Drivers were understandably annoyed, and the police were called. But the barber kept cutting his client's hair, all to the tune of Drake's newest album, Certified Lover Boy. This brings a whole new meaning to "cutting a corner."

Down the road

Is it too early to think about the holiday season? Probably not if you're planning on ordering online or travelling across the country. Before the next Dispatch drops, consider ordering your holiday gifts now. Shipping delays and a potential truck driver shortage may spell out shopping headaches at the busiest time of year. Planning to take a domestic flight? Check that your driver's licence hasn't expired over the course of the pandemic — some travellers are getting turned away at the gate for outdated ID.

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