Author Archives: Admin2

Have you followed every opportunity when a claim goes wrong?

In a LAT decision released in January of 2022 ( Jarrett v Aviva https://canlii.ca/t/jlw35) the courts started the year off by reminding Ontario’s injured car crash survivors they shouldn’t look to the justice system to hold insurers accountable for their poor claims handling practices.

This isn’t new but it was a little bit like saying the quiet part out loud with “The legislature made a choice as to what disputes would be within the exclusive jurisdiction of the LAT, and what remedial powers the LAT would have. That was a policy choice it was entitled to make.” Arbitrator Craig Mazerolle went on to say, “Without a regulation allowing for damages, I am satisfied that the Legislature understood the consequences of its actions during the transfer of accident benefit disputes to the Tribunal, and it—in turn—decided not to provide the Tribunal with the power to grant damages (as used to be ordered by the courts).”

Suffice to say that most consumers wouldn’t know that Ontario legislators decide what coverage will or won’t be available to them, nor would they know that there are no safeguards in place to ensure that Ontario’s insurance companies actually stand behind the contracts they have with Ontario drivers. As Arbitrator Mazerolle explains it in Jarrett v Aviva, “despite the applicant’s arguments about the lack of remedies available to those who claim bad faith adjusting of designations, as well as the special role of punitive damages noted in Whiten—it was within the Legislature’s purview to remove this remedial power from the Tribunal.”

Any hope of accountability is explained away with a quote from a 2021 LAT AABS decision “an insured person’s right to file bad faith claims for punitive damages is no longer available. Further, that this was a policy choice made by the legislature. In coming to that conclusion, the Court states that the purpose of the legislature’s policy decision was to reduce insurance rates and provide for the fast and efficient resolution of disputes and avoid a duplication of processes. Of significance, the Court states that the legislature must have considered “the importance of its objectives of efficiency and cost reduction to outweigh the loss of insured individuals’ access to the courts and to the full range of remedies available there.”

In the Jarrett v Aviva decision it is clear the courts follow the legislation to the letter and squarely lay the responsibility for failing consumers at the legislators’ feet with, “the Tribunal must respect the Legislature’s role in crafting social policy, and, in turn, it must respect the choice to not include punitive damages in its remedial toolbox”. This profound failure to protect consumers from ultra-rich and unaccountable insurance companies has left Ontario’s injured patients with no tools in their toolbox and with little hope of recovering the costs of their recovery journey. Of great concern to all of us should be the fact that taxpayers pay when insurers don’t by way of social support like OW and ODSP along with increased OHIP costs as consumers frantically search for ways to recover from their injuries.

The previous Liberal government is responsible for the mess we find ourselves in today with some 16,000 injured car crash survivors applying for hearings at the LAT in just the last year alone in order to get the benefits they paid for. The Liberals made promises of ‘more choices’ but ended up making bad deals with insurers and leaving patients in the lurch. It’s created a huge backlog of cases because the current Conservative government has done nothing to course correct the downward spiral of insurance quality that was kick-started by the Liberals removing disincentives for insurers who behave badly. Quietly the significant interest insurers had to pay claimants for overdue benefits disappeared from legislation along with the ‘special award’ payable for bad behavior. The reality is the insurers are in the game to make profit, not friends. And screwing Ontario patients out of the resources they need is a profitable endeavor that has no downside because there’s no accountability and there is no price to be paid for manhandling their own customers.

So what is a car crash survivor supposed to do? How can we change insurers’ claims handling practices? If the last stop on the road to recovery is a court that won’t or can’t help us, what steps should we take? I put the question to some of our supporters and was surprised to hear of some good outcomes coming from unexpected places and some suggestions.

If the Brokers are the individuals who sell us the product and tell us it’s good coverage, why are we not looping them into the catastrophe that blows up our lives when the product they sold us turns out to be useless? Apparently some are willing to step up and reach out on their customer’s behalf to the insurer that THEY recommended. It’s true that many Brokers are now owned and operated by insurance companies but not all are, and every one of them ought to know which companies behave badly. One Broker we know of did reach out to their customer’s insurance adjuster and somehow effected a change that helped get their customer the help they needed.

And what about your insurance company’s Ombudsman? They all have one dedicated to their company and as one lawyer recently reminded FAIR, sometimes it only takes fresh eyes or a new perspective to change the course of adjusting a claim. It may be more likely a lawyer who would be more successful at effecting change at this level but for those self representing it is worth a try. And if not successful with your insurance company Ombudsman, there is always the General Insurance Ombudsman to follow up with (although the GIO website indicates they will only get involved if there is not a legal case ongoing) and it is another step to put pressure on an insurer to do the right thing.

There is also the FSRA complaints system that considers whether your auto insurance company has violated Ontario’s Insurance Act and/or regulations or has been subjecting you to Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices (UDAP). You do not have to access any of the above suggestions before making a FSRA complaint and there is a lot of information on their website that will help you articulate how your insurance company may have broken the rules.

Last, but not least, what about your local MPP? The legislators who enacted the current legislation are mostly out of the picture now but those who currently represent you are the representatives who can and should make legislative changes to protect vulnerable car crash survivors. In addition they need to know how badly Ontario’s patients are being treated in what is a private medical system where profit is more important than recovery and how that affects us all. A phone call to an insurer from an MPP could make all the difference in how your claim is handled.

We aren’t convinced that our past legislators truly “understood the consequences of its actions during the transfer of accident benefit disputes to the Tribunal” or that they understood the outcomes, both physical and financial, for both injured car crash patients or for the taxpayers when changes to coverage to assist insurers were made. Ontario cannot afford to bargain away more coverage so informing government representatives is a significant action that might cause hesitation to undermine justice going forward.

By Rhona DesRoches Feb 2, 2022

UPDATED -Is it fair that taxpayers are funding CMPA to defend doctors but not patients when medical harm is done?

The CMPA, a non profit organization, uses our tax dollars to pay lawyers to defend doctors accused of medically harming patients and this results in preventing all opportunity to ‘learn from their mistakes’.

When car crash survivors complain about the poor quality of their insurer medical exams and reports Ontario’s doctors can make use of CMPA funds to protect them from accountability while Ontario’s patients are expected to pay for their own legal representation. This failure to reign in doctors and improve the patient care is leading to poorer outcomes and access to recovery resources and it leads to individuals becoming dependent on social supports when they can’t get what they need.

According to Teri McGrath @Teri4112 recently seen on W-5 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Z35oDSnZ7g, “Our tax dollars, $520,000,000.00+++ is needed to help patients/families who have been harmed rather than CMPA lawyers who use “a scorched-earth policy which is a military strategy that aims to destroy anything that might be useful to the enemy.”

UPDATE from Teri McGrath, September 21/21:

Tim Mitchell, who did a one man protest at the CMPA office in Ottawa last January is going to go ahead with the Oct. 6, 2021 protest 11 – 2 pm at: CMPA office (875 Carling Ave., Ottawa). He will have a few posters ready if anyone wants to join him.

For anyone who wants to protest but can’t make it to Ottawa, it has been suggested that you do your own protest locally at the provincial Minister of Health office/legislative buildings (he/she determines the amount of the rebate) on the same day, Oct 6. Addresses attached. No need to get super organized, just show up with family and friends.

Attached is a pamphlet you can use to hand out. I suggest you keep the placards simple saying Defund The Canadian Medical Protective Association. And if you are concerned about push back from your doctor, go incognito and wear a mask, hat and sunglasses. Also bring your wheelchairs, walkers and canes. Contact your local news media and let them know what is happening.

As we know, actions speak louder than words. So this is an ideal opportunity to respectfully let the Ministers and CMPA know that patient abuse has got to stop. – Teri McGrath

CMPA facts tri-fold pamphlet blue

Addresses for provincial Min of Health offices

You can get involved by sending a letter to your provincial auditor about the harm when our tax dollars are used to unfairly protect one party over another:

template Letter to Prov AG about CMPA taxpayer funded protection for Drs and not patients.

https://www.cmpa-acpm.ca/en/about

https://www.cmpa-acpm.ca/en/membership/fees-and-payment

FSRA releases its revised Proposed Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices (UDAP) Rule for public consultation – Due August 11, 2021

The proposed rule will replace the existing UDAP Regulation and is aimed at making the supervision of insurance more transparent, dynamic, and flexible. It also focuses on the need for stronger consumer protections by clearly defining outcomes that are unfair or otherwise harmful to consumers.

https://www.fsrao.ca/engagement-and-consultations/fsra-releases-its-revised-proposed-unfair-or-deceptive-acts-or-practices-udap-rule-public-consultation

What we know so far on submissions to Fraud and Abuse consultation from Minister of Finance office

[CLOSED] Proposed Fraud and Abuse Strategy for the Auto Insurance Sector

In the current auto insurance sector, “insurance fraud and abuse” is neither defined in legislation nor regulation, nor is there an accurate quantification in the size and scope of fraud and abuse. Past governments, regulators and industry have attempted different approaches to identify and measure fraud and abuse. As a result, the industry has taken individualized approaches for managing fraud and abuse, which has created further inconsistencies. https://www.ontariocanada.com/registry/view.do?postingId=37747&language=en and https://www.ontariocanada.com/registry/showAttachment.do?postingId=37747&attachmentId=49356

RESPONSES so far:

FAIR submission to Proposed Fraud and Abuse Strategy for the Auto Insurance Sector 21-MOF010

FSRA Consumer Advisory Panel (CAP) Fraud & Abuse Consultation Submission

Ontario Rehabilitation Alliance Submission to the Ministry of Finance Fraud and Abuse Consultation

Ontario Psychological Association (OPA) Submission to Fraud and Abuse Consultation

OTLA MOF Submission – Proposed Fraud and Abuse Strategy – July 12 2021

The Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) Submission to the ON Ministry of Finance and FSRA

Ongoing consultations related to Ontario auto insurance

From the Minister of Finance office:

Proposed Fraud and Abuse Strategy for the Auto Insurance Sector- DUE: July 12, 2021.The Ministry of Finance (MOF) and Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) are consulting on a Fraud and Abuse Strategy (F&A Strategy)

https://www.ontariocanada.com/registry/view.do?postingId=37747&language=en

***

Recent consultations (now closed)

From the Financial Services Regulatory Authority:

Survey of Auto Insurance Claims Process for Individuals with Communication Disorders

Brain Injury & Auto Insurance Study 2020 ABISS and McMaster

Survey of Auto Insurance Claims Process for Individuals with Communication Disorders After Traumatic Brain Injury
Laura Brooks, Daniella Reid, Yvette Hou, Aileen Zhou
McMaster University
Research Supervisor: Sheila MacDonald
Principal Investigator: Dr. Lyn Turkstra
July 26, 2020

Acquired Brain Injury Survivor Solutions (ABISS) is a group of Ontarians who have sustained a brain injury from a MVC. Through conversation, they discovered a number of common experiences with insurance claims processes that seemed to have a significant impact on their recovery. Many of the members experienced breaches of privacy; a sense that insurers were starting from a basic premise of mistrust (i.e., that they were lying about their injury until proven truthful); inappropriate or unfair questioning from insurers, examiners, and insurer-hired medical professionals; duplicative and unnecessary, yet mandatory, insurer examinations; and insinuations that non-injury related life circumstance or history was responsible for their deficits or rehabilitation needs. The discovery of these common experiences led the group to question whether these barriers in the insurance claims process were universal among those with brain injury following MVC.

Brain Injury & Auto Insurance Study 2020 Full Report

Acquired Brain Injury Survivor Solutions (ABISS) • www.abiss.ca • McMaster University

June 24, 2020

FSRA Encourages Ontario’s Auto Insurers to Explore Further Relief Measures as COVID-19 Continues to Impact Consumers

  The Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) today announced that Ontario auto insurers reported that Ontario consumers are receiving $685M in total premium relief in the form of premium deferrals, rebates, refunds, rate reductions and other means during the COVID-19 emergency 
 
_______________________________________________________________

Statutory Accident Benefits for Car Accident Victims in a COVID-19 World

In the new norm of COVID-19, insurance companies need to be more flexible than ever in how they communicate with their customers. They also need to allow virtual care or treatment when it is a reasonable alternative for their insureds 
 
_____________________________________________________________

Canada should abolish the civil jury service

Canada’s already beleaguered court system has suffered from delays and a lack of modernization for decades, but now with the new constraints imposed by coronavirus restrictions, the courts are facing an even greater obstacle. Civil juries are ill-equipped to weather social distancing, and should no longer be maintained as part of the Canadian court system. 
 
_____________________________________________________________

Obtaining the Name of the Person who Doored You

In the past, the Toronto Police Services Board refused to release the identities of drivers who door cyclists by stating that it is considered an “incident” as opposed to a reportable motor vehicle accident and by relying on the personal information exemption under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.S.O. 1990. 
 
_____________________________________________________________

Toronto cop part of organized crime group involved in vicious tow truck wars, chief says

A corrupt Toronto police officer was part of a criminal organization that used stolen encrypted police radios to unfairly profit in southern Ontario’s lucrative and dangerous tow truck wars, police said Monday. 
 
_____________________________________________________________

COVID-19 Raises Profile of Virtual Care

Starting in late February, Sunnybrook doctors saw the COVID-19 patients through video conferencing. The appointments covered care strategies and offered peace of mind. Sunnybrook also sent the patients mini oxygen saturation monitors for home use. 
 
_____________________________________________________________

What we can learn from chronic pain narratives

Percolating through the rich fabric of life among one in five Canadians today is a silent epidemic capable of bringing lives to a screeching halt. Even if patients can miraculously endure the long wait-list times to see a physician, they are often met with a disappointing lack of symptom relief. In the meantime, 6 million Canadians grapple with the wrath of chronic pain tearing their lives apart, with more than half suffering from depression and nearly 35 per cent contemplating suicide. 
 
______________________________________________________________
 
Stay safe, Stay healthy
 
As the days lengthen, grow warmer and we are drawn more outside, I can’t help but to continue to celebrate the beginning of the season that welcomes longer days and excessive sunshine. COVID is having a profound impact on all of us especially crash survivors that are recovering as medical treatments have been put on hold as well as our social interaction. The last few months have been extremely challenging for so many and connecting with crash survivors is crucial more than ever.
 
______________________________________________________________
 
Peter B. Cozzi Professional Corporation v. Szot, 2020 ONCA 397 (CanLII), <http://canlii.ca/t/j89x1  
[52]      The principles governing the granting of a charging order under s. 34(1) were summarized by this court in Weenan v. Biadi, 2018 ONCA 288, 141 O.R. (3d) 276, at paras. 14-15:

•        To obtain a charging order on the monies in issue, the onus is on the solicitor to demonstrate that a charging order is warranted;

•        The decision is discretionary. In deciding whether to exercise that discretion, the court must “balance the circumstances and equities of each case and client”; and

•        To obtain a charging order, the solicitor must demonstrate that:

                             i.        the fund or property is in existence at the time the order is granted;

                           ii.        the property was “recovered or preserved” through the instrumentality of the solicitor; and

                           iii.        there must be some evidence that the client cannot or will not pay the lawyer’s fees.

[53]      The appellant asserts that the motion judge erred in concluding that the appellant had not established that his work was instrumental to the recovery or preservation of the property. Repeating the argument he made before the application judge, he contends that he arranged for the ATE Policy and performed the work on Mr. Nguyen’s civil action that led to payment of the policy proceeds.

[54]      The application judge rejected these arguments. She found that the appellant “simply sold Mr. Nguyen the ATE Policy” as an insurance intermediary. She agreed with the submission of the PGT that the appellant “should not be rewarded for brokering a contract between Mr. Nguyen and DAS when he knew that Mr. Nguyen had a litigation guardian and was incapable of entering into the contract.” She also found that the ATE Policy proceeds were not the “fruits of the litigation” because “Mr. Nguyen recovered nothing in the litigation and is more indebted after the litigation than before it. Since no property was recovered or preserved in the proceeding, there can be no charging order.”

[55]      We see no error in the application judge’s findings or in her exercise of discretion based on the evidence before her.

[56]      We also agree with the submission of the PGT in its factum that “the facts of this case are nothing less than shocking”, and that it would offend the principles of fairness and justice to reward the appellant, through the payment of fees and disbursements, for entering into the CFA with Mr. Nguyen, brokering an insurance contract between him and DAS, and having Mr. Nguyen sign a direction to him, when he knew that Mr. Nguyen was incapable of making these decisions and had a litigation guardian from whom the appellant was supposed to take instructions.

D.           DISPOSITION

[57]      The appeals are dismissed. The appellant is ordered to pay costs of $20,000 to the respondent Mr. Szot and $11,000 to the PGT, inclusive of disbursements and taxes.

June 17, 2020 + submissions to MAG re Civil Juries

FAIR Submission to MAG Consultation re: Civil Juries
 
This is an opportunity to take a progressive turn in modernizing the administration of Ontario’s justice system. Auto accident litigants are not criminals, so being judged by one’s own peers has little meaning and there are no checks and balances or accountability for juries. Judges must provide reasoning for their decisions so eliminating juries and the need to withhold knowledge of a ‘secret deductible’ from jurors would go a long way to establish faith in our courts whose current state is one of a system that has squandered the public’s trust by failing to provide accountability while allowing insurers to overuse and abuse the courts in the name of higher profits. 
_________________________________________________

What we know so far about submissions on the Jury issue

OTLA Submission to MAG on Civil Juries

Rastin Letter to MAG re civil juries June 15, 2020

Canadian Defence Lawyers   https://issuu.com/enzadel/docs/submission_re_civil_juries_cdl

Zarek, Taylor, Grossman, Hanrahan     http://ztgh.com/system/frame/posts/pdfs/000/001/397/original/Zarek_Taylor_Grossman_Hanrahan_-Submissions_on_Civil_Jury_Trials_dated_June_15__2020.pdf?1592247977

Globe and Mail article https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-legal-community-given-until-june-15-to-provide-input-as-ontario/

IT IS TIME TO ABOLISH JURY TRIALS IN CIVIL MATTERS  https://www.mcleishorlando.com/blog/it-is-time-to-abolish-jury-trials-in-civil-matters/

Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey should not be rushing to axe civil juries, FOLA warns https://www.canadianlawyermag.com/practice-areas/litigation/ontario-attorney-general-doug-downey-should-not-be-rushing-to-axe-civil-juries-fola-warns/330582?utm_source=GA&utm_medium=20200617&utm_campaign=Newsletter-20200617&utm_content=AE1FF389-FA2E-4B96-8FEA-FEEF64C1AAE4&tu=AE1FF389-FA2E-4B96-8FEA-FEEF64C1AAE4

We continue to update at:  http://www.fairassociation.ca/2020/06/what-we-know-so-far-about-submissions-on-the-jury-issue/ 

_________________________________________________ 

REMINDER: A Survey of Access to Rehabilitation Insurance Coverage for Adults with Brain Injury Caused by Motor Vehicle Collision  

Please note the deadline to complete the survey is Friday, June 19th, 2020.

If you have questions or need more information about the study itself, please contact student investigator Laura Brooks by email at brookl2@mcmaster.ca, or call Dr. Turkstra at 905.525.9140 Extension 28648.

The goal of this research project is to help us better understand the experiences that those with brain injury following a motor vehicle collision have with their auto insurance claims.

https://surveys.mcmaster.ca/limesurvey/index.php/241452?lang=en  

____________________________________________

Ontario drivers have seen auto insurance savings but minister says more needed

Insurance companies have provided $685 million in relief to Ontario drivers using their cars less during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the province’s finance minister says more should be done.
 
________________________________________________________________
Insurance industry employees have come forward describing incidents of being “muscled” by body shops, police say, as a joint-forces operation into the tow-truck wars across the Greater Toronto Area made eight more arrests.
 
______________________________________________________________

Insurance regulator explains why it slashed 73% of regulatory guidance

Ontario’s new financial services regulator launched last June with a mission to reduce the regulatory burden for industry players. One year into the job, that’s exactly what the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) has done.
 

______________________________________________________________
Discoverability and Tomec Once Again

In an interesting sequence of events following an 2003 accident, the Applicant presented for the 2nd time a claim for ACB upon being deemed a CAT in January 2015. Without referencing the original ACB denial in March 2012, the insurer proceeded to request two IEs in May and June of 2016 and agreed that ACB was payable, upon submission of receipts.
 
_______________________________________________________________

Law Society of Ontario alleges dozens of personal injury websites are ‘misleading’

The Law Society of Ontario has alleged that a North York lawyer received client leads through a network of 31 websites apparently belonging to separate putative firms, many of which have domain names suggesting that they are personal injury law firms.
 
______________________________________________________________

Ontario’s court of appeal ramps back up to 15-20 appeals per week

As courts across the country have struggled to continue operating in light of COVID-19 and the physical distancing required, Canadian Lawyer has surveyed chief justices of courts across Canada on how they are managing the crisis.
 
______________________________________________________________

Settlement Smarts

To get you ready for this, we’ve created the Settlement Smarts primer to help you prepare and navigate the settlement processes you may encounter during your time as an SRL. This primer contains both personal and strategic tips specific to the process. We hope that it will provide you with a helpful starting point.
______________________________________________________________

BrokerLink: How to lower your car insurance premium in Ontario

In the province of Ontario, every single driver is required to have a current and up-to-date auto insurance policy. This policy must include four mandatory coverages: Liability, Accident Benefits, Direct Compensation and Uninsured Automobile.
 
______________________________________________________________

OCF Claim Forms

OCF Claim forms can be a big headache. Car accidents litigation should be simple to understand. But in Ontario, it’s far from simple. The forms are intimidating, long, and hard to understand. It’s scary; especially after you’ve been left seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident when you’re at your most vulnerable.

______________________________________________________________

Martin Regg Cohn: Doug Ford says he wants to fight racial injustice. So why is he undermining tribunals that help do just that?

Behind the scenes, behind the bench, the untold story of systemic racism and injustice is of a Progressive Conservative government that is systematically undermining accountability — by dismantling the judicial tribunals that safeguard us against racial discrimination, environmental degradation, social privation and tenants’ rights.
 
______________________________________________________________

PM announces extension of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that the government is extending the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) by eight weeks, to ensure Canadians have the help they need as they transition back to work. This extension will make the benefit available to eligible workers for up to a total of 24 weeks.
______________________________________________________________

Providing virtual care during the COVID-19 pandemic

Many regulatory, public health, and government authorities encourage virtual care—via telephone, video platforms, and so on—as an alternative to face-to-face visits in an effort to limit direct contact as part of the COVID-19 response.
 
______________________________________________________________

New TBI Report Card Released for Ontario

The report card has been released by The Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation and captures regional and provincial data on 11 metrics of prevention, acute management, rehabilitation and reintegration continuums of care. The latest report uses data from 2017/18. The report is filled with valuable data for health care professionals, therpists and family members of those with serious TBI.
 
______________________________________________________________

V1301 – A Return to Work Does Not Negate an Attendant Care Benefit

The road to recovery following a motor vehicle accident can be long and hard; the disruption to activity and employment can be significant. For those who suffer severe injuries, a return to work can be extremely challenging. When a person succeeds in such a return to work, it can often be at great cost in terms of physical, emotional and cognitive energy.
 
______________________________________________________________
V1302 – Psychotherapy Rates: Why is the Debate Ongoing?

In July of 2019, we highlighted the alarming trend whereby accident benefit carriers were imposing reduced rates upon psychotherapists; rather than approving the typically requested rate of $149.61 per hour, as afforded per the Fee Guideline to psychologists and psychological associates, insurers were demonstrating variability in their approach to approvals of psychotherapists. With partial approvals sometimes being rendered at rates as low as $58.19 per hour, we witnessed impact to our clients in that they were challenged to access care within their communities.
 
______________________________________________________________

What Are Invisible Injuries?

So many injuries don’t come up on a scan or x-ray; they’re not always immediately ‘visible’ and their lack of tangibility make them harder to assess, both from a medical perspective and a claim perspective. But for you, the victim, this lack of visibility doesn’t make them any less real or painful.

June 10, 2020

Why Ontario auto liability coverage should get cheaper

Ontario auto insurers may have a hard time raising rates as much as they were before May 15; a major factor could be a controversial change to the dispute resolution process that took effect four years ago. 
 
_________________________________________________________________

Ontario’s FSRA releases guidance on auto insurance claimants during the pandemic

The Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) has released guidance on how auto insurance claimants for statutory accident benefits (SABs) can expect to be treated by insurers and health service providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
 
________________________________________________________________

Tomec v Economical Mutual Insurance Company, 2019 ONCA 882 (CanLII), leave to appeal to the SCC ref’d 2020 CanLII 37601 (SCC)

In Tomec v Economical Mutual Insurance Company, 2019 ONCA 882, the Ontario Court of Appeal allowed an insured’s appeal from an application for judicial review of a decision of the Licence and Appeal Tribunal to deny enhanced housekeeping and attendant care benefits.  The unanimous panel concluded that the rule of discoverability applied to s. 281.1(1) of the Insurance Act and to s. 51(1) of the old Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule such that the two-year limitation period to dispute benefits could not run before an insured was determined to be catastrophically impaired (CAT). 
 
_______________________________________________________________

Guide to Automobile Accident Benefits Forms

Statutory Accident Benefits (“accident benefits”) are available to those who are injured as a result of the “use or operation of a motor vehicle”. This includes passengers, drivers, cyclists, or those who are injured by motor vehicles as pedestrians. Accident benefits are available regardless of fault and are therefore often referred to as “no-fault” benefits.  
 
______________________________________________________________

Conducting Virtual Examinations for Discovery

Given the continued suspension of operations of Ontario courts and tribunals,[1] the Advocates’ Society recently issued a guide to Best Practices for Remote Hearings.  As the Ontario Superior Court has recently ordered examinations to be conducted virtually, here are ten important tips for conducting virtual examinations for discovery adapted from the guide. 
 
______________________________________________________________

Ontario Attorney General seeks input on removing juries from civil trials

In a letter obtained by Law Times, Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey has sought the input of key stakeholders in the legal community about the possibility of removing juries from civil trials to help address additional court backlog resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. 
 
________________________________________________________________

Will COVID push more lawyers into retirement?

James Wilber, a legal consultant at Altman Weil, left readers with a foreboding message earlier this year: “Goodbye Boomers, it’s been great to know you.” As a result of the pandemic, wrote 70-year-old Wilber, there could be “a push toward transition and retirement for the oldest lawyers among us.” 
 
______________________________________________________________

Customers not lauding insurers’ relief measures, but they aren’t shopping around either

The majority of Canadian motorists surveyed are not satisfied with the financial relief measures offered by their insurers, a recently-released Leger Marketing poll indicates. 
 
______________________________________________________________

MINISTRY OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

______________________________________________________________

Workplace safety tribunal shares best practices for teleconference hearings

The document — which applies to new or ongoing prehearing conferences, applications and hearings conducted via teleconference before the tribunal — seeks to ensure that these proceedings keep progressing amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The tribunal will flexibly adapt this guidance to suit the particular facts of each case and will update it as the situation continues to evolve. 
 
______________________________________________________________

UPDATED: What emergency relief will insurers offer customers? Here’s what they told us

Canada’s P&C insurance industry should follow the example of the banking sector and show a united front in presenting options to clients adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to some brokers. 
 
______________________________________________________________

Crowd forms at sole Service Ontario location open for written driver’s tests

A large crowd of new drivers gathered outside the Service Ontario centre at Toronto’s College Park this morning waiting to write their driver’s license test. 
 
______________________________________________________________

Ontario’s social assistance regime ‘discriminating’ against structured settlements

Structured settlements are an important option for personal injury claimants in Ontario. Contrary to the more conventional lump sum payment that most personal injury claimants go for, a structure is a financial package, designed to meet a particular plaintiff’s needs through periodic payments, either for a fixed term or for the plaintiff’s life. In recent years, structures have grown increasingly popular among plaintiffs and insurers. 
 
______________________________________________________________

Feds to send $600 to some Canadians with disabilities

OTTAWA — Canadians with disabilities will be sent a one-time tax-free payment of up to $600, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Friday, in an effort to help offset the financial pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
 
______________________________________________________________

Monitoring the CRPD: Your Feedback Matters

The Canadian Human Rights Commission is Canada’s human rights watchdog, with a responsibility to both promote and protect human rights. As a part of that role, the Commission was recently given a new responsibility to monitor the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in Canada. 
 
______________________________________________________________

Canadians with lifelong disabilities can lose disability tax credit

Morley, 49, was diagnosed with myalgic encephalomyelitis, commonly known as chronic fatigue syndrome, in 2010. The condition means even the small, routine tasks of everyday living leave him utterly exhausted and in need of prolonged rest, he said. 
 
______________________________________________________________

Areas of Concern for Disabled People in Accessing Communities of Care During COVID-19

I, Amanda Lin, Student Engagement Facilitator for the School of Disability Studies at Ryerson University, had the pleasure of interviewing Loree Erickson, the current Ethel Louise Armstrong Post-Doctoral Fellow. The following blog post is a summary of the highlights from our hour-long conversation together. 
 
______________________________________________________________

Telogen Effluvium, aka Stress-Induced Hair Loss

There’s a condition some doctors don’t tell their patients about. It sneaks up on an unsuspecting person.  When you tentatively voice your worry about it, doctors may dismiss you because hair loss isn’t as debilitating as a concussion. Relatives tease you or pretend it’s not happening. Neither reaction makes you feel better as day after day, your hair silently leaves your scalp. You find strands and strands of hair on your pillow, in your sink, on the floor. Your brush waits for that first stroke to fill its bristles up with hair. And no one gives a damn enough about your distress to tell you why. 
 
_______________________________________________________

Economical Mutual Insurance Company v. Sotira Tomec

The application for leave to appeal from the judgment of the Court of Appeal for Ontario, Number C66763, 2019 ONCA 882, dated November 8, 2019, is dismissed with costs.  
 

Tomec v. Economical Mutual Insurance Company, 2019 ONCA 882 (CanLII), <http://canlii.ca/t/j37sh 

June 3, 2020 + FSRA Guidance on Statutory Accident Benefits (“SABs”) Claims during the COVID-19 Outbreak

FSRA Guidance on Statutory Accident Benefits (“SABs”) Claims during the COVID-19 Outbreak

The purpose of this Guidance is to provide FSRA’s Interpretation of the requirements of subsections 1(9), 3(2)5 and 6(1) of Ontario Regulation 7/00 – Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices under the Insurance Act (“UDAP”) in the context of a declared emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act related to an outbreak of the communicable COVID-19 coronavirus disease, or where physical distancing or other similar measures to prevent transmission of COVID-19 are required or recommended by the Chief Medical Officer of Health or local Medical Officer of Health1 during or after the declared Emergency (the “Emergency”). These provisions of UDAP relate to the adjustment, settlement and charges for, or payment of, goods and services for an automobile insurance claim, including claims for Statutory Accident Benefits (“SABs”) to which this Guidance applies.  

_____________________________________

Howard Levitt: Some insurers are using ‘unprecedented times’ as an excuse to deny disability claims

We have been told many times over the past two months that we are living in “unprecedented times.”

Most aspects of our lives have been affected by COVID-19 — from massive layoffs and school closures to the inability to hug our loved ones. As a society, we seem untethered. We feel a little lost and are continually looking for the touchstones in our lives to help us through these murky days.

_________________________________________________________________

Report: Only 1 in 4 Canadians say they received pandemic-related auto insurance relief measures

The survey, conducted by rate comparison site InsuranceHotline.com, also found that 64% of respondents said they were not informed of any rate relief. Meanwhile, 12% of respondents said they were not sure they even got an offer from their insurers.
 
______________________________________________________________

Car Rates are Still Up in Downsview

It is no secret that drivers in the Downsview area have been routinely broadsided by high car insurance rates. Ontario has some of the highest rates in Canada and Downsview is known for having some of the most expensive postal codes for car insurance rates in all of Ontario. That makes our area one of the most expensive places to drive a car in the country. With COVID-19 shutting down the economy, many people expected some financial relief. The relief efforts has been uneven.
 
______________________________________________________________

LawPRO loses out on potential $87.8M tax windfall in Federal Court of Appeal decision

LawPRO has failed again in its bid to reap a multimillion-dollar tax windfall by capitalizing on an exemption that was originally geared to corporate entities owned by municipalities or Indigenous self-governing bodies.
 
_____________________________________________________________

The fine print behind million dollar and multi million dollar personal injury claims in Ontario

There are few moments in life where a person receives a million dollar lump sum of money. Here are but a few which come to mind.
 
_______________________________________________________________

Six-figure pain and suffering judgement against Wal-Mart Canada attracts appeal court scrutiny

A $225,000 award in a lawsuit against Wal-Mart Canada, arising from the accidental spraying of a fire extinguisher by a worker, could be headed to the Supreme Court of Canada.
 
_______________________________________________________________

Precarity in a Pandemic

As the world struggles in the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic, deep structural and economic flaws in how we care for the most oppressed in society are becoming increasing difficult to ignore. For decades, activists living with the effects of these deep systemic issues have rallied, protested, and raised the flag to anyone who would listen.